In 2003, Eric McCoy realized there was an untapped market for sexy lingerie and novelty products in Charlotte, N.C., so he decided to open a retail store to serve the growing need.
"I wanted to make shopping for intimates a comfortable, enjoyable experience," said Eric McCoy, owner of The Red Door. "I saw a trend and a need, and I acted on it."
The Red Door's website launched simultaneously with the opening of the first store, balancing online sales with on-site sales from the beginning. While The Red Door caters to a growing devoted customer base in Charlotte, The Red Door Web site ships to customers nationwide and has even implemented an international checkout option to reach customers outside the U.S.
"We're not limited by floor space online, so we can offer an expanded product selection as well as a wide range of nontraditional sizing options," said McCoy.
Many of The Red Door's suppliers, according to the company, offer excellent lines of plus-size lingerie, which is becoming more and more popular. The top three most-requested brands are Dreamgirl, Leg Avenue, and Hustler Lingerie.
Since The Red Door's inception in July 2003, McCoy has been able to open a second Red Door store in Charlotte. Within the walls of each 4,000-square-foot store, salespersons are trained and educated about the products sold.
"I actually authored a manual called 'The Little Red Book' to teach our salespeople about the kinds of products we offer and how to make informed recommendations," said McCoy. "We aim to make the shopping experience comfortable, open, and positive, starting with the salespeople."
Home to 15 employees, The Red Door assists couples, married women, and single men, ages 18 to 80, with not only lingerie and club wear, but also with their tanning needs. The company reports that their tanning business keeps dozens of customers returning to the store on a monthly basis.But while The Red Door runs a number of ad campaigns (one of The Red Door's related industries is Red Door Entertainment, which promotes and markets special events in Charlotte and across the country), the company's largest hurdle is attracting customers who are a bit shy or nervous. With that in mind, The Red Door goes to great lengths to help make potential customers feel more comfortable.
"Our stores are very carefully designed to be open and inviting; our salespeople are positive, cheerful, and extremely well trained," said McCoy.
Lingerie sets range in price from $10 to $50; corsets and bustiers range from $25 to $200, as well as robes, teddies and babydolls.