BOSTON — Susan Nethero, founder of Intimacy lingerie stores, was fussing about making sure the women milling around her newest shop for breakfast were served quiche, orange juice or, if chocolate is required, a mini éclair.
They weren't customers, but managers working in neighboring stores in Copley Place Mall here, where Intimacy opened its fourth location last month. And Nethero served them as attentively as VIPs.
Service at all levels is Intimacy's hallmark. It is known for a 30-minute bra fit appointment, for stocking one of the broadest ranges of bra cup sizes that start at A and go to K and for free alterations.
Oprah Winfrey has endorsed the brand, featuring it on her show and in her magazine. Nethero also has a regular gig on "How to Look Good Naked," a Lifetime network makeover program starring former "Queer Eye" guru Carson Kressley.
The exposure has shown up in Intimacy's bottom line — sales run $2,500 per square foot. She declined to give total revenues for the privately held firm, but it could be pulling in $25 million annually based on the square footage performance. Intimacy will open stores in the Aventura Mall in Miami and in Houston next year and Nethero is negotiating a lease for a store she plans to open in this year's fourth quarter.
Her goal is to grow the Atlanta-based company to 20 to 25 stores by 2013.
The high-touch approach has struck a chord with customers. The bra fitting is an all-out, sometimes emotional affair, where fitters are trained to do a lot of listening. Beforehand, women fill out a pamphlet assessing whether factors like weight fluctuations, childbirth or illness have changed their breasts. Then the customer strips to the waist with her fitter, who discusses preferred styles in a range of merchandise. The average sale is about $250, Nethero said.
Among the brands are: Chantelle, La Perla, Simone Pérèle, Le Mystère and Cosabella.
The Copley store represents a fresh prototype. There's a new logo, an entry wall of body forms showing fashion looks and a back wall of gold-foil drawers holding inventory. It is next door to Barneys New York, which does not carry lingerie. In the first few weeks, sales of fashion bras exceeded projections fourfold, Nethero said.Most of the space, about two-thirds of the store total, is devoted to eight dressing rooms, an unusual ratio, given that most retailers maximize their selling floor. But, in this case, the luminous dressing rooms with lots of money invested in flattering lighting are the real selling floor.
Alterations are another important competitive advantage. Based on Nethero's research, about 25 percent of women are concerned that one breast is bigger than the other. Free alternations have become an important way to connect with this customer.
"We bring a woman in and we help her realize her body isn't difficult or unique to fit," Nethero said. "We work on transforming a sense of limitation into possibility."
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion