In a series of interviews, online showroom yourbrandspace asks retailers all about their businesses, from stock to sales and everything in between. This month, the company sits down with Saskia Kjellström, founder of Sweden-based Chérie JARDIN.
Why did you decide to set up a lingerie boutique?
In Sweden, people are very aware of their outer appearance, but there is an obvious fear of breaking the boundaries of the fashion laws when expressing yourself through clothing. And the lingerie world was pretty non-existent here a couple of years ago. I noticed that Swedes didn’t feel any importance of caring what their wore underneath; underwear was only something functional. I felt that it was sad that the Swedes didn’t dress for themselves, but for everyone around them. I thought, I have to change this. So I started a blog and wrote about all the world’s prettiest lingerie to start the interest. Then I thought, I might as well open a store, no one else seems to be doing it.
Please explain the concept of your store.
My concept is a fashion lingerie webshop that occasionally pops up at different actual places. For me, it is very important that it does something for the world. In everything I do with Chérie JARDIN I try to think as feministic, artistic and politically as I can. It’s not always that easy with limited resources, but I do my best. I want people to feel strong and empowered by CJ lingerie, and I would like them to dare to express more of their personal style. The concept is a fashion lingerie store that doesn’t obey the norms. I buy lingerie for its fashion value and not the function. I don’t buy the season collections, I buy when I find lingerie that I find interesting.
Who is your target customer??
Everybody that wants to connect more with their inner self and, of course, those who love fashion. All genders are welcome, even though, for the most part, of the lingerie is sewn for a female body.
What is the ethos of your online store??
I want people to be more aware of how they consume. Every piece of lingerie that is sold at Chérie JARDIN comes in a beautiful box, an indication that this is something with actual value and it needs to be taken care of, but it will also give you a lot of good memories. I got a 1940s silk gown from my grandmother that looks brand new and means a lot to me since it has a great personal value.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far? ?
Starting a business with small start-up capital. Being alone in a project like this is also a challenge. It’s nice to decided everything by yourself as this is my brain child, but it is also very boring having no one to plan, work, celebrate and fight with.
Which brands do you stock?
We stock Made by Noemi, Fräulein Kink, Beautiful Bottoms, Kriss Soonik, Made by Niki, Fleur of England, Underprotection.
What do you look for when deciding which brands to take on? ?
Things that are really special or perfect classics. They have to have a fashion sense and I prefer to buy from small companies that design and sew themselves and have a story. It’s also important that I get a good connection with the responsible for sell on the company.
Are you looking to stock anything particular at the moment??
Yes, bras in bigger-cup sizes. I have a lot of people coming to Chérie JARDIN wanting to buy bras but nothing fits. I feel like I really let them down because fashion shouldn’t be about size.
Do you find people buy differently online to how they buy in store??
Yes, it is way harder to sell lingerie online. People want to feel the fabrics, try on different models and, mostly, they would like the human connection and service. Most of my costumers online are people that have bought something at a CJ pop-up store and then buy the same model but maybe in a different colour.
What marketing techniques of you use to drive customers online?
Having pop-up stores has definitely been the most efficient tool. I also try to be present and inspiring on social media. ?
What advice would you give to anyone looking to start an online lingerie business?
I would start with planning as much as possible beforehand and than ask some people that you see as possible costumers to give you some input. Is your dream really something that will work out in real life? What will you have to compromise? What does it give to the world?
yourbrandspace brings wholesale fashion online, exclusively for buyers and brands. Retailers can register for free at: www.yourbrandspace.com