Q&A with Nasrin Hormozi, president.
Ted Vayos, BODY: Describe your store for our readers.
Nasrin Hormozi: Trousseau of Dallas is part of an exclusive shopping destination in the city called the Shops of Highland Park--a beautifully organized row of local, one-of-a-kind boutiques, like my own, and nationally recognized retailers with loyal clientele. Not only is it charming, but also it is nestled in one of Dallas’s most high-end neighborhoods. The clientele in the area value high quality materials and construction and are often seeking out the brands I carry. Most importantly, they recognize that curating a beautiful and functional intimate apparel wardrobe is a key component to feeling and looking their best in everything they wear. Previously, there was a similarly high- end lingerie store in the same location as Trousseau. When it closed, the landlords sought me out, then in another location, to fill the gap. I happily obliged as it was in such a desirable location. Now, despite the vastly different approach of my store and the former one, many of that shop’s clientele have stayed loyal to the location, which has been a boon for my business. I completely renovated the previous store—a small-carpeted room crammed with racks—and opened up the façade by changing it entirely to glass. The inside is a combination of ivory marble and clean lines. Along both sides of the store are built in units that display the lingerie in accessible and neatly organized rows, with drawers at the base to store additional sizes. I have two dressing rooms—one with a restroom connected to it, so clients don’t have to get completely dressed should they need to use it during a fitting. We also have a long hallway in the back of the store, which we can separate from the main floor by drawing a heavy curtain. This is so that clients can come out of the dressing room to model their potential purchases for friends and significant others in private, away from other shoppers. Product categories include: shape wear, foundation bras and underwear, for play pieces or weekend getaways, bridal (wedding and honeymoon), bustiers, chemises, gowns, robes, hosiery, swim wear and cover ups, problem solvers, intimate products, candles, and slippers.
Ted: What makes your store special?
Nasrin: When servicing a client, we don’t focus on band size, cup size or numbers in general. Our entire lingerie philosophy is based on the shape of a woman’s body—fit rather than size. We make a detailed profile of each client—compiling his or her needs, tastes and size ranges to make future shopping easier. We do in-store bridal showers, make house calls, and deliver products. We work with hotel concierges to service guests, and we consider ourselves stylists. Women come into the store with a cocktail dress, and rely on us to make sure she looks her best in it.
Ted: What do you look for in a brand?
Nasrin: Fit is by far the most important factor I consider when buying for the store. I care about structure and fabric quality, as they both drastically affect fit. I then give consideration to color and style, as I like all the products in my store to flow and complement each other. I also like a brand that really cares about continuing to be fresh and original. Price is my final consideration. I care that the value is in proportion to the craftsmanship of the brand I’m considering. Some of the most important brands in the store are: Prima Donna, Le Jaby, Simone Perele, La Perla, Parah, Jezebel, Lise Charmel, Mimi Holiday, Lisa Folys, and Wolford. I adore Prima Donna because of its fit and size ranges. They go all the way up to G cup—this is crucial for my clientele. La Perla is one of those brands that impresses me season after season. And not only are their look always fresh and sexy, but their fit never disappoints me. They truly know women’s bodies. Parah has always been one of the most fashion forward brands in the lingerie market and we have always been very interested to see what they will create next. We have had continued success with Parah and our clients have grown to love and appreciate Parah just as we have. The upcoming collections that Parah has created are absolutely breathtaking and we cannot wait to see our client’s reaction to the delicate laces and hand crafted designs. Some new brands are: Millesia, Les Jupons de Tess, and Coco Box.
I am currently in love with Les Jupons de Tess. It’s super naughty yet elegant lingerie with a French touch—a little bit Moulin rouge, but wearable and classy. Millessia I also love as it’s an everyday bra, yet it’s still sexy in a sophisticated and elegant way. In addition to lingerie, I carry hosiery, shape wear, problem solvers (nipple covers, double sided tape, etc.), swimwear, intimate products, and slippers.
I have been disappointed by I.D. Sarrieri. While their designs are stunning, there is no consistency in their sizing. I can never rely on previous orders to predict future orders, as their 34C in one line is a 32A in another. While, I don’t focus on size when fitting clients, I do rely on some consistency within a brand to make effective buying decisions. I think they need a new mold, or to really think about the actual shape of a woman’s body when determining sizing. I’ve also been incredibly disappointed with their shipping. In all my years of working with them, they rarely shipped what I actually ordered. They seem to just ship what they have on hand. And they won’t take it back, even when you send them proof of your original order. I’m not sure how to tell them to improve that I feel that fulfilling orders accurately should be the foundation of any wholesale business. I finally had to stop carrying the brand, despite by love of the design. Zeki swimwear has also been disappointing. They deliver really accurately and on time, which I appreciate, but despite how much I like their look, the fit just doesn’t work on any body type I encounter. The two pieces are tougher than the one piece generally, but overall, clients don’t purchase either after trying them on. I have so much of it, and can’t move it because of the fit.
Ted: Describe the popular styles or trends in your store.
Nasrin: In general, my female clients come in looking for a solid, every day bra, and when it comes to their foundation pieces, they prefer t-shirt bras. I’m trying to educate them that bras have come a long way in recent years—that they are now constructed with flat lace that can be worn under smooth fabrics just as easily as a t-shirt bra. I want them to know that their ‘every day’ bra can be a little stylish too. Generally, my clientele prefer a matching bra and panty more than one- piece outfits like chemises and gowns. My male clients love purchasing lace and are evenly split among boy shorts and thong underwear. My women shoppers overwhelming purchase thong panties over any other style bottom.
Ted: Describe your price points and size ranges.
Nasrin: My prices points start at 19 dollars and go up to 800 dollars. I pride myself on carrying high- quality, well-fitting items at all price points. This is especially true for my foundation pieces.
My bra sizes range from 32A to 46G. This means we can find the perfect fit for all our clients— women with small breasts and small frames, our plus sized clientele, and clients with augmented breasts—highly common in Dallas—as their band and cup size are not usually a typical combination. Chemises and gowns go from XS - XL and shape wear goes from XS – 5X as do panties.
Ted: What is your typical or average customer size?
Nasrin: In foundation bras, 34DD. Fashion bras are pretty well distributed among the smaller bands and cups. Medium bottoms.
Ted: What does the average customer spend per visit?
Nasrin: On average our clients spend about $300 when they come in to browse the new collections of lingerie, shape wear, and gowns/robes.
Ted: Describe your customer.
Nasrin: The majority of our clients are women, and the age ranges anywhere from 30 to their 60 years of age. Also, due to the way our system is set up with our customer profiles we have a large number of male clients as well who buy for their wives and/or girlfriends. We would say that about 10% of our clients are men in their 30s to 60s for that specific reason.What we see on a regular basis is women, ranging from 30 to 60 years in age, discover Trousseau of Dallas either while driving by or searching lingerie boutiques in the Dallas area. Once we do a complimentary fitting on them we immediately explain to them how crucial it is for them to let their significant other know that they need to put our information in their phone, so when the occasion arises for them to get a gift they know where to come. We let the women and men know that we will always have their measurements on file so that there is never any trouble with selecting a beautiful gift for their wife. Due to the way we have our store arranged we often see the same men come in for weekly/monthly surprises for their wife’s.
Ted: What has impacted your intimate apparel business the most since you opened?
Nasrin: My Intimacy, which was in a nearby mall, closed and I’m pretty certain many of their clients came to us. That helped sales spike to be sure.