Heather Taylor opened her store named A Tropical Affair in the year 2000. The 900 square foot store is located at 12 East Cota, Santa Barbara, California and currently employs eight people.
In an interview with BODY, Taylor identified three top selling brands and their most requested items in her store as: Hanky Panky and their 4911 LR thongs; Mary Green's silk gowns and La Perla's bra and panty sets.
The store's customer, Taylor said, are women "who are confident and girly, [with an] age range from 15 to 60 on average. They are locals who travel the world and tourist who come for romantic getaways. A third of our customers are men who love their women."
When asked what the average size of her shoppers, Taylor replied, "Our customers are small. Our larges end up in the sale bin. I'm on average a 6/8 and I am a large in a lot of our brands."
Taylor continued, "Our customer will spend an average of $75 to $175 on bra and panty sets. The typical customer spends between $250 to $350 per visit. The typical customer shops for lingerie anywhere from every other week to every other month."
Speaking of industry trends, Taylor said she has noticed "a huge trend in what I would deem the low French brief. The cheeks hang out a bit and it lays smooth on your butt. I can't keep it in stock in any brand. The basic T-shirt bra sells more for us in summer. Now we are seeing beautiful lace bra sets being very popular and people are really showing these off through slightly sheer blouses. My customer likes smooth lines under their clothes, no digging. In California the clothes are fitted so the lingerie needs to be pretty and smooth on the body. They don't like the flat laser cut laces. They like the real lace."
The store also occasionally sells slippers from brands such as Amy Jo Gladstone and Jacques Levine.
Responding to the industry question of best customer service and good deliveries, Taylor expounded "Mary Green has great customer service and good deliveries. The best customer service has to be Fred, Betty and Wink Wells in LA who represent Mary Green, Honeydew, Faris Lingerie and a bunch of other lines."
In discussing the concept and inspiration behind her store, Taylor noted the thing that is surely to attract everyone: a vacation.
"Our store is a like a mini vacation. Our interior is one of the factors that people enjoy the most. It is filled with bamboo furnishings and silk striped cabana dressing rooms in yellow and pink. In our shop we sell nice, naughty, swim, cruise and accessories. We are almost like your one stop shopping before your holiday trip or honeymoon."
Although the store does not carry any men's underwear, Taylor said that her male customers who end up shopping there "like it because it's not like they are in a woman's boudoir."