La Lingerie Has Got You Covered
As a pretty busty gal, bra shopping has always been a bit of a challenge for me. I can’t simply go into Victoria’s Secret, Kohl’s, or Target and easily find a bra that fits. For me, bra shopping requires a special visit to a lingerie shop. One that carries a wide range of sizes. Meaning, beyond just a DD.
That is why I absolutely LOVE La Lingerie, a specialty lingerie boutique here in Madison that carries a broad selection of undergarments to fit all shapes and sizes.
In fact, in an interview with shop owner, Katherine Bice, I learned that La Lingerie carries about 120 different sizes, compared to the average 30 offered at other stores. Meaning, you can’t find roughly 90 sizes of bras that meet the needs of diverse women in most shops that carry them. Which explains why 80% of women are wearing the wrong bra size!
As someone who developed early in life, Katherine experienced firsthand how limiting this is. And how often busty gals are not necessarily provided the same level of service when shopping for bras as women who fall within the standard 30 size range. Katherine shared that those offerings often don’t fit well and are not of high-quality. And pointed out that generally, the larger the bra size, the more “Grandma-like” they often appear.
Therefore, not having undergarments that fit her body well growing up, was a big part of what inspired Katherine to open her own lingerie shop at 25 years old.
After studying abroad in France as part of her college experience as a French major at UW-Eau Claire, Katherine saw how differently the French handled lingerie. Whereas we are hard pressed to find a lingerie shop outside of Soma or Victoria’s Secret here in Wisconsin, she found lingerie shops on nearly every corner in France!
It was there where Katherine really fell in love with lingerie. And also realized why she had so much trouble finding high-quality bras that fit here in the United States. After returning to America, her love of lingerie led her to work for Victoria’s Secret for four years, prior to moving on to a European lingerie boutique in Chicago. That is when she finally found her perfect fit and knew that she wanted to open a store that provided the same sort of experience for Wisconsin women.
She moved back to Madison to be closer to her family, where her dad helped her develop a business plan. She opened La Lingerie on East Johnson Street, where the boutique lived for four years, prior to moving to its current location on West Washington Avenue (in the old train depot).
La Lingerie is unique in that it is primarily appointment based. Katherine wanted to offer a store experience like shops in Europe, where every woman would be able to come in and not only find something that worked well for her, but also have a comfortable and enjoyable bra shopping experience.
So often when we do not find sizes that fit well or products that were made for us, we feel like maybe something is wrong with us or our body. And that is just not the case. There are so many companies that build amazing bras for all different shapes and sizes. It is just that they are not being carried elsewhere, making them really hard to find.
Therefore, Katherine wants every woman to feel welcomed, supported, and empowered when visiting La Lingerie. Which is why she focuses on the experience that the store can provide. The appointment-based model allows each client to get one-on-one attention, education, and exceptional customer service. Professional fitters receive months of training, so they can educate women on how lingerie should truly fit, why they maybe had a hard time finding lingerie that fits their body in the past, and that it has nothing to do with their body – which is perfect and wonderful just the way it is.
That is why La Lingerie caters to women of all shapes and sizes. Most of La Lingerie’s clients fall between the ages of 30 and 70. But even girls as young as 12 come in looking for their first bra. Along with women in their 80s who still want to feel sexy and sassy.
As you might imagine, COVID has significantly impacted this small business. In fact, sales were down 40% in 2020. It took 10 years for Katherine to grow the business and unfortunately, they lost about 6 years of growth in just one year.
Prior to the pandemic, the business was built solely on foot-traffic. They did not really have an e-commerce platform. So, La Lingerie has had to readjust how they do business. Katherine and her team have tried to be as creative as possible throughout this process, to figure out a way to get the lingerie business through this pandemic so they can stay in the Madison community.
To that end, the shop has included lingerie fit tips for each piece on the website, including whether it will work well for your specific shape and size. They also offer virtual fittings via video chat for people who are not comfortable coming in and have also been sending out lingerie boxes for women to try on products in the comfort of their own home. Like other styling services, you keep what works, and send back what does not.
La Lingerie also maintains a database of each client that has come in over the past 10 years. So they know what you have purchased and has worked well for you in the past. That way, they can do phone, email, and text orders or send replacements based on what you have bought previously. Assuming your size has remained the same. These are just a few ways they have adapted their business to meet client needs during the pandemic. You can still book private in-store appointments as well. Capacity is currently limited to five people in the shop at a time.
You can even create a wish list online for Valentine’s Day, your birthday, or anniversary, and your partner can select something for you from the list. La Lingerie also offers unique Bridal shower gifts as well!
Katherine’s favorite brand is Simone Perele, a family-owned company based out of France, which they carry in store. In fact, she became such a fan after working there for a time, that she named her 6-year-old Chiweenie Simone Perele.
If you need new lingerie, swimwear, sleepwear, or hosiery, check out La Lingerie! They would love to help you find your perfect fit. They can even special order from companies around the world if they do not have a specific size, style, or color in stock.
There is a reason why La Lingerie has continually been selected as one of the top 33 lingerie boutiques in all of North America. And won the 2018 international Best of Intima award for “Trailblazer Boutique” for their annual fashion show benefit that supports Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS). The fashion show, which is usually held in February, is on hold this year due to COVID. But they have plans to bring it back in the future. This would have been the show’s 9th year.
You can take 10% off any order in-store or online using promo code: MadtownMomma.
So, go ahead and treat yourself to some new lingerie from La Lingerie! You can feel good about support a woman-owned small business in the process.