In today’s digital world, where convenience is king, high street retailers must not only sell beautiful products but offer an unforgettable shopping experience or else face extinction.
Embracing this trend are some of the UK’s most successful lingerie stores, which are are exciting customers with unique services, from beauty treatments to holiday workshops. Here, we whittle down our top seven.
Founded in 2005, Strip has demonstrated how beauty treatments and lingerie can complement one another so, well, beautifully. The business offers bikini line waxing, laser treatments, tanning and a carefully selected line of intimate apparel from Heidi Klum Intimates, Stella McCartney, Falke and Cosabella. In just over ten years, the brand has grown from having one high street outlet to seven boutiques dotted around the South of England, including a concession store in Harvey Nichols, Bristol. Customers can also shop for lingerie and swimwear online, whilst booking appointments in the salon.
Edinburgh-based Odyssey Boutique is another retailer to have tapped into the lingerie/beauty market. The independent store, owned by Sarah Connelly, offers manicures, waxing and tanning alongside designer lingerie and swimwear from brands such as Simone Pérèle, Fleur of England, Bordelle and Asceno. But that’s not all; Odyssey Boutique regularly treats its customers to shopping experiences they wouldn’t get online. In February, it launched a private members club, offering customers one-on-one appointments after closing time. Odyssey Boutique has twice been named a Best Independent Retailer finalist in the UK Lingerie Awards and has been recognised by Stylist Online as one of the UK’s most stylish boutiques, and by Harper’s Bazaar magazine as one of the UK’s Top 5 ‘A-List’ Waxers.
Rigby & Peller
There is, of course, a place for traditional lingerie boutiques, but the focus has to be on selling an amazing experience. Multiple retailer Rigby & Peller is a veteran in this arena, providing exemplary customer service since 1939. In our opinion, Rigby & Peller mirrors a luxury bridal boutique in its level of service, with its plush fitting rooms, satin robes and professional styling advice over prosecco. In the last few years, Rigby and Peller has also introduced made-to-measure technology into some of its stores. Its 3D mirror scans the upper body, recording over 140 measurements in less than a minute to determine a woman’s bra size.
Coco de Mer
Luxury lingerie and sex toy boutique Coco de Mer constantly strives to excite and engage with new and existing customers through live in-store entertainment and erotic education. Its Salons, which take place after hours at the Covent Garden store, are designed to teach women and their partners new skills, tricks and techniques to heighten their pleasure in the bedroom. Doors open at 6:30pm for students of the Salon. Attendees are treated to drinks before settling in for an evening of lighthearted enlightenment starting at 7pm. Consumers can also book private Salons for their themselves, their partner and friends.
Bustles Boutique describes itself as ‘not just a shop, an experience’ and it certainly lives up to this slogan, providing VIP shopping services in store. The new boutique, which opened in Southend-on-Sea last October, offers private appointments for customers to try on luxury and everyday lingerie collections in relaxing environment. Its consultants showcase the ranges whilst providing a professional fitting service, concentrating on the products that best suit the consumers’ shape and style. Bustles Boutique carries lingerie by Maison Lejaby, Charnos, Lepel, Passionata, Lepel London, Royce and Chantelle, Charlotte & Co, Magic Body Fashion, Oroblu and Panache.
Sheen Uncovered & Ruby Blue
Sheen Uncovered and Ruby Blue offer a one-of-a-kind, one-stop shopping experience focused on style and fit for lingerie lovers and jean addicts. Owners Anita and Jackie opened their lingerie store, Sheen Uncovered, in 1999, but it wasn’t long before customers were asking for the perfect fitting jeans, and Ruby Blue was born. “As massive denim devotees ourselves, it made perfect sense,” the founders say. The store’s consultants are experts in both lingerie and jeans and offer professional fittings across all sectors from maternity bras to denim crops. If that’s not enough, it also stocks shoes by Paul Green and handbags by Makki.
Another lingerie retailer giving something back to their loyal consumers (and driving new sales in the process) is Eastbourne-based boutique Sobriquet. Founded by Nancy Nelson in 2013, the store hosts regular workshops covering all manner of subjects from holiday styling to swimwear fitting. Sobriquet charges around £20 for these events, but gives attendees value for money by offering expert knowledge, free gifts and even food and drink. In February, Sobriquet took the brand to the ladies and gents of West Sussex, sharing the lingerie love in a Valentine’s-themes pop-up shop in Swan Walk shopping centre, Horsham. This is a prime example of how lingerie retailers can grow their brand and make a profit.