Q&A with Rachel Avery, President
Ted Vayos, BODY: Describe your store for our readers.
Rachel Avery: The flag-ship location is in a high-traffic, shopping area of Toronto, just steps away from the iconic Much Music (now MTV) building. With many complementary retailers near by, it makes shopping at our boutique very convenient for our customers. This location has a very modern feel with light blue LED lights shining on the walls giving everything a “Kallone Blue” glow. The one-of-a-kind steel fixtures and rustic hard-wood floor give the store a unique atmosphere that differentiates it from typical intimate boutiques.
Our second location is located just north of Toronto in Woodbridge, Ontario. Situated between big name retailers and three major highways, Kallone sits in a very high-volume shopping plaza that seems to always have a full parking lot. This location is slightly larger than the flag-ship store, but the stylish carpets, ornate furniture and spacious fitting rooms give the store a sense of intimacy. Both our brick-and-mortar locations and our online store carry swimwear, lingerie/undergarments, and accessories for both men and women.
Ted: What makes your store special?
Rachel: Our store is special simply due to the fact that we bring exclusive brands to the Canadian market, that were not available in the past. We have taken the idea of your traditional swim and lingerie store and given it a modern vibe to appeal to a broader audience as opposed to the more specific demographics most other stores market to. We give our customers quality product, with superb customer services such as bra fitting, while ensuring that they do not feel too young nor too old to be shopping in our boutique. Our signature chocolates in the fitting rooms and the light scent of lavender make our customers feel right at home.
Ted: What do you look for in a brand?
Rachel: The first thing that we look into is where the brand is currently sold. We do not want to be selling the same brands as a store down the street, so we try to take on brands that are new to the Canadian market. Next, we ensure the price point fits with our other vendors and that the line compliments other items that we carry. Finally, we look into the press coverage that the brand has. Is it celebrity based? Will our customers react to this brand? We have seen that this has a large impact on how well a brand sells in-store. Some of the key brands that are important to our store are: Mens Underwear: Wood, Charles van der Pear, Saxx, 2(X)ist. Mens Swimwear: T-Christopher, KoMocean, 2(X)ist, Strong Boalt. Womens lingerie: Love Haus, Empreinte, Empowered by You, Commando, Implicite, Pretty Polly. Womens Swimwear: Peixoto, Nicolita, Le Mar, Beach Bunny, Solkissed, Voda, Belusso. Though we love all of the brands we carry, brands such as Wood Underwear hold a special place in our hearts. They are always going the extra mile to ensure that we are getting media coverage, have free giveaways and are overall happy with their product. We are very thankful for the relationship that we have with them. Along with intimate apparel, we carry swimwear and accessories for both men and women. Despite the fact that we are a new company, we have learned a lot in the past few months. We are a company that believes in honesty and integrity. We work with companies that have the same brand and business ethics that we do. From our experience, these brands end up having more success all around.
Ted: Describe the popular styles or trends in your store.
Rachel: For intimate apparel, we are noticing trends that are focused on details such as additional strapping and peek-a-boo cut outs. In terms of boxers, almost every male customer we have is looking for something that has moisture-wicking technology and is comfortable against their skin. In swimwear – history is repeating itself. We are seeing everything from high-waisted bottoms to sexy one-pieces. This is no different for men – short swim trunks are in again, along with fun retro colours and patterns.
Ted: Describe your price points and size ranges.
Rachel: At Kallone, we pride ourselves on having a range of price-points enabling almost anyone to be able to purchase something that they love. For example we carry bras that sell for $50, but our highest bra price is around $200. We ensure that our customers understand the justification for different price points and work to educate them on the features of each item. Our bra sizes range from 28A to a 40H, giving us the ability to properly fit almost any customer that comes through our doors. Our other items come in sizes from XS to XXL (depending on the brand).
Ted: What is your typical or average customer size?
Rachel: It is very hard for us to pin-point a typical customer size, but based on inventory turnover, size medium sells out first in almost everything we carry.
Ted: What does the average customer spend per visit?
Rachel: Our average customer spends between $100 and $250 per visit to our store. We’re finding that our existing customers are becoming loyal to the brands we carry, and come in for everyday needs such garment care products and wardrobe solutions. On the other hand, we often receive new customers who come in to replace their entire swim/intimate wardrobe.
Ted: Describe your customer.
Rachel: The majority of our customer base consists of young professionals, both male and female between the ages of 18 and 35. Our customers are stylish and care about the quality of the items they are purchasing.
Ted: What has impacted your business the most in the past year?
Rachel: The biggest impact on our business this past year has been the loyalty of our staff and customers. Starting a business is far from easy and our staff has been very supportive in the process. Along with this, our customers have positively contributed by referring friends and family.