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SOL boutique took customer appreciation to the next level and brought 23 customers to Paris on their annual buying trip as a part of their groundbreaking year-long experiential retail concept.
While market trends are usually the top of retailers’ minds when buying for next season, sisters Jeanie Peterson and Cindy Johnson wanted their customers to weigh in too. The Denver-based boutique was inspired by their loyal ‘SOL Girl’ community and developed a year-long customer appreciation program centered around its annual buying trip to Paris.
“As the largest female-run lingerie boutique in the U.S., we heavily influence how specialty lingerie evolves. There are always die-hard SOL Girl customers who desire to see everything when we get back from our buying trip to Paris,” said Peterson. “We wanted to get them involved and share the joy of fashion with our SOL Girl community.”
Behind the Seams in Paris
Straight from the dreams of luxury lingerie lovers, this SOL Boutique trip was the first of its kind. Customers joined SOL founders as they met with the teams behind some of their favorite collections, got a behind the scenes look at their buying selections for next season, mingled with top deisgners and sat front row at their fashion shows.
Above: 100 Year Anniversary Fashion Show and Party for Van de Velde the maker of the Daisy Bra.
Upon arrival to the City of Love, SOL Girls were treated to an enchanting Welcome to Paris Party, hosted by Empreinte, the distinguished French designer. Philippe Berthaux, CEO of Empreinte, and Paul Fabrizio, North American director of sales, hosted an evening that left customers speechless, complete with a private tour of the famed Musée d’Orsay. Even more, each SOL Girl was gifted a personalized, embroidered bag to hold the many Empreinte intimates that were too beautiful to leave behind.
SOL Girls attended Salon International de la Lingerie 2020, the leading global show in the intimate apparel and swimwear market. Marie-Laure Bello, CEO of Eurovet and owner of Salon International de la Lingerie, welcomed SOL Girls with a champagne toast before leading customers to their front row seats to the shows, but not before applauding SOL for their innovative program.
Sol Boutique: setting trends
Above: SOL Customers viewing the Fall/Winter Lise Charmel Collection.
“Because SOL is the first to do something like this, we are ecstatic that leaders in the industry are recognizing why this pioneering program is game-changing not only to the lingerie, but retail as a whole,” said Johnson. “Our vendors are our partners and are always willing to not just listen but participate in our customer’s experiences. Florence Vandaele, head of Van de Velde US Sales, was incredibly eager and excited to include the Paris SOL Girls in their 100Y celebration. Both Empreinte and Lise Charmel signed on immediately to provide experiences for these 23 lingerie lovers.”
Above: SOL Customers sitting front row at the Salon International Lingerie Trade Show Fashion Show.
SOL Girls were lucky enough to be the only customers in the world invited to attend Van de Velde’s 100th birthday event, honoring the renowned maker of the Daisy Bra, Prima Donna and Andres Sarda. Van de Velde celebrated their 100th year in business with a night of glamour and fashion as the Eiffel Tower twinkled through the windows, commemorating the momentous accomplishment with a retrospective fashion show that finished with a look into the next season’s glorious treasures.
A Unique Parisian Lingerie Experience
On the last night of the trip, Lise Charmel, famed French luxury lingerie brand, invited SOL Girls for a front-row fashion show and a private shopping evening, hosted by Olivier Piquet, CEO of Lise Charmel and Sandra Jones, U.S. director of sales. Lise Charmel treated SOL girls to a night filled with special gifts, champagne, and a red carpet upon arrival. The incredible fashion illustrator, Caroline Montigneaux Burdinat, sketched the enchanting night, leaving each SOL Girl with an illustration to take home, and also even gifted SOL a phenomenal piece of her original art.
Between these dream activities for lingerie lovers, SOL Girls received a VIP tour of the romantic city. They galivanted through the enchanting streets of Paris, clinked champagne during dinner at Le Jules Verne on top of the Eiffel Tower, took in the sights with a boat tour down the Seine, and finished out their trip of a lifetime at Paris’ famed show, Moulin Rouge.
SOL Boutique’s Midnight in Paris
Above: Private Shopping Night at Lise Charmel Store in PAris with the CEO.
Leading up to departure, SOL hosted French lessons at the boutique, rented out a local theatre to screen ‘Midnight in Paris’, and planned other Parisian-themed events for their SOL community. SOL’s year-long customer appreciation program gave customers a voice in what they want to see in the store while also reaffirming their commitment to serving women of all shapes and sizes.
“We have already started selling tickets for next year’s trip,” added Peterson. “The Paris experience really elevated our SOL community, which we think of as more of a sisterhood. The customer experience is extremely important, and we love being able to give back to our loyal community. With each event, we see it as a chance to bring in another SOL sister.”