Q&A with Kathleen Hendrickson, president
Ted Vayos, BODY: Describe your store for our readers.
Imagine standing in the parking lot of a car dealership. The garage structured building sits there behind a connected rectangular section of wraparound display windows begging for the passerby’s attention. Currently only showing off the intricate features on next year’s model car, I saw this section of the building pleading for a bigger purpose—a purpose that sells more than cars. As a glass shelf displays glistening jewelry store in department stores, I saw this car dealership section of the building to be prop to my envisioned hair salon hopeful that it will display the confidence and the beauty of everyone who walks through the entrance. It was in that moment that I knew this car dealership can be transformed into a salon where anyone who enters inside can transpire into a gem.
Ted: What makes your store special?
Kathleen People wonder what makes my store so special. In reality, my store is quite ordinary actually. What makes it special or better yet— exceptional, is the beautiful, diverse people who come through my door. It’s them who inspire me. It’s because of my customers believing in my service and putting their confidence in my knowledge, skills and abilities that my store developed so specially. My employees, my customers and I work as a team and continue to get back up after falling down. The growth of my store still amazes me to this day; I’m in awestruck that it’s grown into an exceptional one-stop shop.
Ted: What do you look for in a brand?
Kathleen: I look for bras that promise to provide ultimate support, maximum comfort, and utmost quality. I like to sell bras that give women a huge sigh followed with an ah-hah! One bra in particular that almost never fails to give the sigh of relief is the Panache Sports Bra. This bra exceeds expectations, places on my top seller list, and has made many of my customers turn into repeat customers. Another bra in particular that is fantastic is Rebecca made by Fantasie. It has a spacer material that many appreciate due to the fact that it helps even out the bust and minimize imperfections. Additionally, the brand Grenier is top selling. The thick strap and the ability to delicately hug the tissue really contribute to great success in fittings. On the mastectomy side, Amoena, Anita and ABC deserve an outstanding review from me. These companies continuously keep up with the demand of colors. The styles and colors make for both a fun bra and a fun fitting experience. Women are no longer limited to the basic nude, boring bra. These companies allow women to taste the nectar of fancy and enjoyment while bringing color and sweetness back into their lives. There isn’t a brand that has disappointed me for the simple reason that all brands fit differently. In my experience, fitting brands to busts is like a puzzle. It’s all about matching the right features of the bra to the right necessities of the bust. Being a certified fitter takes years of practice. It’s a skill to master fitting considerably different busts with the correct bra out of the thousands hanging in inventory. However, once the skills are learned and the design or fit of the bras become more familiar, any good fitter knows that all brands are in some way perfect for someone out there. Like I said, it’s about getting the pieces to fit. I recently brought in brands Curvy Kate, Curvy Couture, Fit for You, and Triumph. I’m assured that these distinctive brands are moving forward in the right direction with bras that appeal to people. These bras—among all the others in my store will offer good feelings and solutions to problems.
Besides intimate apparel, I also carry mastectomy bras, mastectomy swimwear, regular swimwear, prostheses, wigs, and a wide selection of hats. Wigs alone make up 50% of my business. Wigs ‘n More holds the largest collection on the East Coast with hundreds of wigs in inventory at all times. I tell my customers to look at the styles before the colors. When they find the style they like, I order their desired color in if I don’t have it in inventory. We do both medical, fashion, and partial fits for women, children and sometimes men.
Ted: Describe your price points and size ranges.
Kathleen: The average price point of my bras range from $60-75. I carry sizes starting at 28AA and ending at 50L.
Ted: What is your typical or average customer size?
Kathleen: The average customer is 36-44DD and the average age is 35-65.
Ted: What has impacted your business the most over the past year?
Kathleen: The change in insurance has impacted my business over the past year, particularly on the medical side. With Obama Care becoming more prevalent, I am seeing more products not being covered for women through their plans. The higher deductibles and co-pays are preventing women from receiving the products that are necessary for comfort and self-esteem. This is very disheartening, but we do the best we can to accommodate their needs. Every woman who walks through our doors in need of any product will always leave with something whether they have insurance or not. We’ve experienced customer appreciation with tears of joy and a number of hugs.