Q&A with Maria Macias, owner
Ted Vayos, BODY: Describe your store.
Maria Macias: We are located in the heart of midtown Elizabeth New Jersey, which is an active and thriving retail community. Our current store is a small location which reflects a sassy, yet elegant style. We sell primarily women’s compression garments and health and beauty accessory products. We are conveniently accessible via public transportation as the Elizabeth Broad Street train station is located directly across the street from our location, which connects to New York and Newark Penn Station. We choose to open in this location because of the potential of the local market and it’s accessibility to public transportation. The store itself follows a traditional back to front layout with our products on display throughout the full length of the store. Customers get a very good idea of what we offer just by perusing the front retail area. Our key products are women’s high quality compression garments, of which we offer the largest in-store selection in the Tri-State area.
Ted: What makes your store special?
Maria: Unparalleled customer service and selection is the core of our business model coupled with carrying only mid to the very best quality brands on the market. Every single individual who enters our store is treated as a unique customer whose needs and desires are attended to by our staff with unwavering attention. Our associates are trained to know and understand the wide variety of garments we carry and how they best fit each customer’s requirements. Indeed, we consider our associates “shape wear specialist”, and not just salespeople.
Ted: What do you look for in a brand?
Maria: First and foremost we select only good to very high quality shape wear brands that offer real value to our customers. Equally important are brands that crafts their garments with the appropriate type of fabric that offers the correct level of comfort and compression. One such brand that is of tremendous importance to our store is Fajas Disenos di Prada. This is a brand that combines outstanding quality and comfort due to the meticulous craftsmanship and materials used in their manufacture. What also makes Fajas Diseno stand out above the rest is their emphasis on a luxurious style that looks as good as it functions which is very attractive to our customers. Honestly, we haven’t encountered any brands that have disappointed us as we’ve been very careful in our selection of business partners. We have indeed brought new products into our store recently, but, in fact, we are always looking for innovative and quality brands that carry the potential to expand our customer base and work directly with us as business partners. Besides shapewear, we carry a large selection of creams, gels, and health and beauty products that compliment our main product line and create a complete body shaping experience.
Ted: What are the latest trends?
Maria: Currently, the most popular styles are waist cinchers, garments with adjustable bra straps, panty style and topless garments.
Ted: Describe your price points and size ranges.
Maria: We have a fairly wide price range that reflects the high level of selection in our store. Our prices range anywhere from $35.00 for our mid-range line up to $230.00 for our top-of-the line products. We offer every available size that can be found on the market, from xxx small to 8x (yes 8x!) extra large. We can even custom order garments directly from the manufacturer to fit any particular size requirement.
Ted: What does the average customer spend per visit to your store?
Maria: Our customers spend on average of approximately $150.00 per visit.
Ted: Describe your customer.
Maria: Our customer base is comprised primarily of female clientele (approx. 85%), although we have seen a steady increase in male clientele over the past few years, and we carry a solid selection of men’s garments to suit their needs as well. The ages of our customers varies widely, from 20 to 55 years old, with the majority of our clients in the 30-45 year age range.
Ted: what has impacted your business the most over the past year?
Maria: We’ve seen a definite increase in demand for our shape wear brands over the past year, and I believe one of the most driving factors has been an increase in the overall consciousness of the general public’s attitude towards personal appearance and sense of well-being. This is particularly true of women in the workplace. Now, more than ever, women are entering more influential and higher positions of employment and status, and the desire to look your best and feel confident is of utmost importance when maintaining a level of professionalism and success. We believe that shape wear can be an important component of reaching one’s goals of a positive self-image, coupled with a healthy lifestyle, both mentally and physically. Women tell us our shape wear gives them the edge that they need to keep them on track with their personal lifestyles, and serves as a motivating factor in continuing on a path of self-improvement. When individuals see the immediate and real results from wearing our shape wear, an entirely new attitude emerges that positively impacts their everyday outlook on life and what they can accomplish.