Blog: Rebecca Aughton

There's a reason why "customer" begins with "custom". Rebecca Aughton, owner and founder of Bra-vo intimates, discusses how retailers can tailor service to their clientele and at the same time unify to create thriving downtowns.

Embracing Change Pushes Up Market Share

When I opened my store in 2001, I had one goal, to supply women with a bra that makes them look better in everything they wear. I realized quickly that to stay in business in retail I had to adapt and change quickly to the wants and needs of my customers. I've been in business for 10 years and have seen drastic changes in the economy and spending habits. You don't have staying power if you don't pay attention to what's selling, what's not selling, and what your customers are asking for.

Eighty percent of women – and 98% of women who walk in to Bra~vo Intimates – are wearing the wrong bra size. I spend at least 45 minutes in the dressing room with a customer during a normal bra-fit appointment so I have plenty of time to get to know my customers and discuss their wants and needs in an everyday bra, shape wear, athletic wear and special pieces.  

Over the last few years during the economic downturn, Bra~vo Intimates has seen a consistent increase in sales.  In 2010 we experienced a 35.5% sales increase, in 2009 a 16.5% increase, and in 2008 a 15.5% increase.  Right now we are currently trending 25% higher.

Retailers have to know what their customers want and in my business their wants are always changing. In the past we sold sleep and loungewear but have noticed that people aren't buying it anymore. We've also paid attention to the changing market and expanded our products to satisfy the needs of the full-figured demographic. This is now half of our business.  We found a niche and began expanding by offering full-figured products in a variety of colorful options, which is very rare for plus-size intimate apparel. We host an annual fit event called Plush N Lush specifically for the full-figured woman each October, inviting additional fit experts from New York to assist our customers.  We have special offers with purchase and customers can win free product and gift cards.  

The biggest concern I hear on a daily basis is that women can't find attractive undergarments.  They are over beige and black and they want color. We provide that for our customers, and in 150 sizes.