Q&A with Bright Ryan, President
Ted Vayos, BODY: Describe your store for our readers.
Bright Ryan: Wicked Chamber had started in Costa Mesa in a small 600sq ft location, over 17 years ago. We had moved several times when the economy took a downturn and had even closed our doors in 2010. When we decided to re-open - it was GO BIG or GO HOME! So, I looked for our Dream location. And found it. 7000sq ft location 2 blocks from our Original 600 sq ft. location. Now 2 stories - 2nd floor Mezzanine level is just costumes (filled with vendors such as Starline, Forplay and Mystery House.) Downstairs is filled with our Hosiery (Leg Avenue primarily), Raver clothing (J.Valentine), Shoes (Pleasers and Ellies), as well as a sectioned off area for Adult Toys (Vibratex, Sportsheets, ElDorado Trading).
Ted: What makes your store special?
Bright: Beside the Size and Space - We are a friendly bunch that answer questions as best we can, in a welcoming living room type environment created by my Mom and I. We strive to earn our customer’s Business and Loyalty by having an outstanding selection and options for all price points. My Mom still introduces herself to every customer that walks through the door and tells them to enjoy their time and we hope to see them again.
Ted: What do you look for in a brand?
Bright: We look for well-made lingerie - items that are affordable while not compromising on structure and appealing design. Starline and Shirley of Hollywood’s lingerie lines have been easy items to have hung up around the store to make us look good. Boxed lingerie - Elegant Moments, DreamGirl, ReneRofe, Escante (purchased through ElDorado) have proven to be easy sell through for us with a great price point. We carry so much more than the typical lingerie store - high end Corsets (handmade steel boned), and excited to introduce a much larger selection of Burleska & Shrine of Hollywood to our Customers. We thing that the Higher Quality will help us stand out from our nearby competitors. When it comes to Manufacturers going direct to consumer and undercutting their Keystone mark-up on their own Wholesale prices - that has proved challenging. We have taken chances ordering and have found that we are stuck with the merchandise we purchased. Our customers can try on their size and while still in the dressing room order the same item from the Manufacturer for less than we can offer it, it hurts. We have over 75% overstock Inventory of these companies after Halloween. That shows up in our Buying following year. One way that we have tried to avoid that - is taking all of the costumes out of the packages and separating the pieces and not pushing vendor images. If you are buying based on quality than the pieces should be able to stand on their own.
Ted: Describe the popular styles or trends in your store.
Bright: In the Orange County/LA area, we find that our customers are setting trends. Staying on top of their needs keeps us “in the know”. We have our Ravers that like their Little Colorful bits of sexy clothing. We have our ComiCon fans that like everything from Anime, Comic Book characters to Steampunk. We have our Bondage connoisseurs as well as our Swingers suiting up for their themed parties. We have something for everyone and keep it interesting with handmade items mixed with all the essentials that our vendors have to offer.
Ted: Describe your price points and size ranges.
Bright: We have found that the sizing in our area has changed from Mostly XSmall and Small to a growing Plus Size department. The sometimes hard to fit 32”Triple F is still challenging but we enjoy the diversity of our Customers of all sizes.
Ted: What does your average customer spend per visit to your store?
Bright: Our Average store sale is $70.
Ted: Describe your customer.
Bright: Our Customer base is 80% Female (majority age 25yrs-34yrs), 20% Male (majority 35yrs to 44yrs)
Ted: What has impacted your business the most over the past year?
Bright: Come Halloween we have 3 pop up stores within a 1mile radius - not to mention 3 year round competitors within 2 mile radius. We have found upscaling has made us stand out. The discriminating customers have found us and our reputation is growing with them. Starting this past year we have found we need to continue to source even Higher Quality items for our Growing Upscale market.