Here comes the next part of the interview by Nicole, from Shapings. If you ask questions, then I will pass them on to her. Read the remainder of my post for more info.
Starting a business is a huge undertaking. Did you have business experience before this company?
I had worked at a bank before I started our Bra boutique (1995), from there the online store opened in 2000.
What were some of the struggles of getting the whole operation started?
Like any start up, money. Renovating the shop and having enough stock to fill the shelves. Not having any employees for 3 years was a struggle but now the company has grown with 2 boutiques and a global online store.
To get it started, did you start it off a bit at a time, or a lot at once?
It was a bit at a time, the first store opened in 1995 and the the online store at the end of 2000. You have to build a customer base brick by brick which grows the business. No investors so you have to go slow but this way every customer is appreciated even now.
You obviously have hosiery experience. What other experiences do you draw on, to run Shapings?
My main focus is bra fitting, my partner Robert runs the online store where we sell most of our hosiery. Robert knows far more about the hosiery than I do. I know what I love to put on my legs, but the technical part is left to him. He is very knowledgeable about about styles, types, and quality, I classify him as the "hosiery expert".
I noticed in your video that there is a lot of furniture. The store looks bigger than I expected. Is that the same store that you started with in 1995?
This is our new flagship store that opened in 2009, the furniture holds many bras which our fit consultants use to personally fit our clients. That way our customer does not need to leave the change room, it is a full service boutique.
Are you the sole owner?
I am the Director of Shapings Inc. which was incorporated back in 2001. We now own the Shapings trademark for Canada and the US.
You must deal with the hosiery companies to get their products. What is it like? Has it been difficult? Do they treat you with respect?
Most do, but some want to set up a distributor base in North America and for us to import thousands and thousands of pairs. We do make trips to Eurupe to meet with the manufacturers whose brands we carry and they are very pleasant to deal with. We have actually just returned from Italy to visit with some Italian brands.
I seem to recall an intelligent man writing on behalf of Shapings in 1 of the forums. Do you have any male employees? If so, then what kind of work are men allowed to do in your business?
My partner Robert runs the Shapings.com warehouse and he also manages the photo shoots that we produce in house. It is a full time job in itself to run the online store division.
Are you hiring?
We were, and have just filled the position with our online store and positions in our boutiques. So, sorry, we're full for now. :)
The end. Thank you, Nicole, for answering, and thank you, readers, for reading!