"Everybody loves pretty lingerie," said Nicola Rodney-Crook, owner of The Enchantress lingerie and swimwear emporium in Pacific Beach. "We don't think anybody should be discriminated against."
By "anybody," Rodney-Crook is referring to full-busted women or those with, in general, fuller figures. "These women feel that they're not being catered to, that they're different from the ideological way people see 'normal,' " she said.
So after operating an online business in her native U.K. that sold "pretty bras and swimwear in large cup sizes," Rodney-Crook decided to go the brick-and-mortar-store route not long after she and her husband moved to San Diego. It turned out that a store called The Enchantress had been in business for 25 years and was up for sale. "We thought this was perfect for us," she recalled. Rodney-Crook took ownership in 2015.
Today she's not only serving customers in Pacific Beach but now in Mission Valley, where a second store has opened, this one called Bras and Honey Boutique. "We get a really wide range of clients at both stores," she said. "We get high school ladies through ladies who've retired. We get a lot of people who when they find us say, 'We never knew you existed' or 'We don't have this where we are. We need this.' "
Rodney-Crook recognized this need from personal experience. "I had breast augmentation," she said, "and once I had it, I thought 'I'll go shop for some pretty bras,' and I couldn't find any. What was I supposed to do? There was no one out there selling (articles that fit her)."
Getting the right fit is paramount to customer service at The Enchantress. "It's been ingrained in a lot of women that they should use tape measures because that's how it's done at large chain stores. We don't use tape measures. We use the analogy that if you're a woman and you're going to buy jeans, you don't just measure. You try them on. We can tell you it looks fine, but ultimately, you're the one who's wearing it. You really need to be sure."
So it's not uncommon for The Enchantress customers to spend an hour or more on the premises when shopping. "We don't rush anybody out," she explained. "It's such a personal thing you're doing that we're sharing with you."
Besides serving full-busted and full-figured women, The Enchantress staff is going through certification training that will qualify them to offer bras and swimwear for women who've gone through mastectomies, lumpectomies or other forms of reconstructive surgery. "We feel that is another group that is undeserved," said Rodney-Crook.
As at chains like Victoria's Secret, The Enchantress gets its share of male customers coming to shop for their girlfriends or wives. They are welcome, but it doesn't always work, said Rodney-Crook. "What the boyfriend likes and what the girlfriend wants are two different things."
The Enchantress is at 4125 Mission Blvd. in Pacific Beach, (619) 294-4544. Also at: 4242 Camino del Rio North, Mission Valley, (619) 282-1178. Online: theenchantress.com
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