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Supportive Start by Forever Yours Lingerie

A little over two years ago we had an influx of customers coming to us saying they had all these almost brand new bras that they didn’t wear; either because they bought new ones that season or because of the ever changing female form (need I say more, we’ve all experienced that!). What could they or should they do with them?

Not being entirely sure, I did some research – you could donate them to a charity thrift store, you could send them to some bra collection organizations in the US, or you could send them to an organization that sends them to Africa or Asia. All very worthy and important causes, but there was nothing local in our backyard. And there is so much need here. We all know how expensive good quality bras can be – and for someone deciding whether to buy food, pay rent or buy a bra, the choice is a pretty obvious one.

We started thinking, “what if we did something here?” But what? Then I saw a video about a men’s store that collected suits, then fitted and altered them for newly released convicts to wear to job interviews. Could we do something like that? Did we want to add that to our plate? Would it work? Yes, yes and yes. And just like that Supportive Start was born!

I had been looking for a volunteer opportunity that would service our community and then this idea fell in our laps. What better way than to serve other than with what we know best…bras!

supportive-start

We wanted to do something more than just collect bras and drop them off to a shelter or transition house. We wanted to give women who were in a difficult spot in their life an experience as close to what they would have in the store: one on one service, kind words and a fun, memorable experience that would take them out of their situation if only for an hour or two.

So with all that in mind, we were off! We launched a bra drive to collect gently used bras from our customers to build our stock. That was our first surprise…the generosity of people wanting to contribute was amazing! We had bras pouring in from all over, people even sending packages of bras from out of town. We organized staff who were willing to volunteer their time to go to fit clinics and create an amazing experience for women and girls who might not otherwise ever experience a bra fitting or have a properly fitting bra.

supportive-start

 

But surprisingly, our biggest initial roadblock was getting organizations to invite us in to do free fit clinics for their clients. The fact that we are a private business wanting to do a bra fit clinic and give away free bras and panties was a challenge for some people to understand. What was our ‘angle’ and what we wanted out of it? We just wanted to give back to our community! After the first few fit clinics, organizations from homeless shelters to transition houses started talking to each other and we were being sought out from Abbotsford to the Downtown East Side.

When we first started doing the fit clinics my biggest eye opener was… how amazingly generous and loving so many of the women at the fit clinics were. They were willing to share their spots with each other, helping each other pick out panties and sharing a fun shopping experience with each other – just like customers in a store might! We had created what we had originally dreamed of! They were genuinely thankful and appreciative that other women cared enough about them to come and share such an intimate and personal experience with them.

supportive-start

We are so grateful that we are able to share our skills and talents as bra fitters with women and girls who really need life to be a little more comfortable. The other night we did a fit clinic at a youth drop in center and I overheard one of the teenage girls saying to the facilitator as she left her fitting, with her new bras and panties, that she had never felt so special before. That brought tears to my eyes and solidified why we want to continue Supportive Start.

I am also so humbled that so many of our suppliers have totally gotten on board with donating brand new panties and bras so that we always have the sizes that we need in stock for our fit clinics. We even have sales reps that come out an volunteer to be fitters at our clinics!

supportive-start

Our future goal for Supportive start is to partner with other companies who can supply the necessities that a lot of these women need but don’t have access to, such as feminine hygiene products, personal care products, oral hygiene and so on, so that we can provide care packages full of these items along with the bras and panties.

From a light bulb moment idea to a tangible way to help women in our community, Support Start has become something greater than we ever could have hoped. With the continued generosity of you – our beloved customers – we are so fortunate to be able to make a difference in the lives of women who need it most. So for that we thank you and we cannot wait to see where Supportive Start will take us in the years to come.

XOXO,

sonya-sig

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Buying Season Bliss

“It must be so much fun owning your own business!”

 

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard that!  Owning FYL is a lot of paper work, staffing, training, scheduling, dealing with issues that arise – none of that sounds particularly fun, but then there is getting to work with amazing ladies, fabulous customers and the buying, oh, the buying!

 

That is an extremely fun part of my job! Getting to go to buying shows and booking all the latest looks for the upcoming seasons! So how does it happen? How do we decide on what we are going to bring into the store?

 

There are so many booths, so many brands and so many choices that it can be quite overwhelming.The first place I start is narrowing down what we are looking for; do we need more basics, or fashion colors, what are the specific size ranges?

Buying Trip

We are always looking for brands and styles with a wide range of sizes, as well as looking for different brands at various price points. Not everyone wants to buy a $50 bra and not everyone wants to buy a $200 bra. Therefore we try to bring in a variety of price points to suit our customers’ needs.

 

So how do these shows work, you ask? You make an appointment with a brand that you are interested in, then when you are at their booth they have models that will try on samples so that you can see the fit. It is really helpful to be able to see the style on a body rather than just in a catalog. It really allows you to appreciate the lace, fabric, quality workmanship and sizing. From there it is the decision of choosing what you want to book based on what we need or what customers are requesting.

Buying Trip

One of the best parts of going to a buying show is to find new and different products to bring into the store! This time it’s the Girly Go Garters that we were excited to find and bring in for our customers. The Girly Go Garter is the smart, sexy garter with pockets that safely holds your phone, cash, credit card, ID, lip gloss, and more!

Buying Trip

The other great find from this show is our new sunhat line that is coming in just in time for cruise season. They are all handmade from start to finish and are made by artisan women in their homes in Madagascar. They are perfect for vacations, as they are packable and uncrushable.

Buying Trip

No matter how much paperwork I have to do, buying trips and buying season will always make it worth it. And I’m able to honestly answer when someone asks “It must be so much fun owning your own business?”

Yes, it is! It’s amazing.

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20 years of FYL

20 Years….How did that happen so quickly? Especially considering I’m still only 29! 😉

20 years for me equals 3 expansions, 2 kids, a husband/business partner that I haven’t killed (yet;), over 20 staff, a website division, in-house photo studio, more changes than I can count (the internet wasn’t even around when I started FYL… Wrap your head around that!), lots of mistakes made & lots of opportunities seized!

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And This Little Lady Went to Market…

Choices, choices, choices. With so many different brands, styles, prints and colours, picking what get’s to go in our store can be quite the decision (a fun one though)!

In this blog post, I’ll chat a bit about the “behind the scenes” action that goes on here at Forever Yours Lingerie and how we find the wonderful items you see in our store.

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Tricks of the Trade: Ace Your Casting Call

So, who wants to strip down to their underwear in front of a bunch of people they’ve never met? Sounds scary but also kinda adventurous, right? If you are coming to our open casting call this January 21st, that’s just what we are asking you to do!

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Where is the Plus Size Section?

We often have new customers that come into the store already knowing that we carry all sizes (what the industry would label as straight sizes and plus sizes) and will ask…’Where is your plus size section?’ ‘Everywhere’ is always my response. Here’s why…

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Not Your Grandmother’s Bra Store

Picture this: A frustrated woman is shopping at a trendy lingerie store in her local mall. She is surrounded by a pile of 20 or so bras that looked cute on the hanger, but WILL NOT support her beautiful bust. The ill-fitting contraptions she’s trying are pinching, puckering and poking her in all the wrong ways. She sighs.  She knows there are places that might cater to her needs but cannot fathom the fact that she – a modern, fashionable woman – should have to settle for her grandmother’s full support bra. Sound familiar?

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