(Filed Under Financial and General Interest News). With some states and stores across the country starting to open for business, lingerie store owners have begun to think about how to operate with the threat of Covid 19 on everyone’s mind — now and for a long time to come.
Tatyana Ponomareva, founder and owner of the Bra Spectrum boutique in Pennsylvania (as well as the intimates distribution company, Valens Lingerie) provided some ideas on the subject. It came under the headline, “
Bra Boutiques: The New Normal - Just A Thought Not A Sermon.”
“Perhaps state governors will set the requirements for the sport of close contact bra fitting. But let us not wait to be told the new normal,” she declared. “Bra and lingerie boutique owners built their successful businesses creating welcoming environments for clients to feel good during the very personal bra fitting experience.”
To begin, she suggested a modification to the normal greeting of customers. “We are protecting You and You are protecting Us. How are you feeling today?”
Ponomareva is planning to create a health policy statement for her retail store, which relies on customers to make the “executive decision” as to whether they are in a condition “to be in a shop with other clients.” She advised that such a statement be posted “on your shop door, window(s)” and be discussed with each visitor.
“Next, we recommend placing a free standing hand sanitizing station inside the entrance to your shop and in proximity to you fitting rooms – like the Purell devices now prominent in grocery stores. Grainger Industrial Supply, ULINE, Cintas and other supply organizations will have these in stock shortly. Touch free foam dispensers are our personal preference.” Alternatively, spray bottles of at least 70% rubbing alcohol can be supplied, “along with paper towels to finish the cleansing process.”
As soon as Bra Spectrum opens, it will stock “100% cotton, reusable face masks for use and sale. We will offer these to clients who do not have face masks. We suggest comfortable and breathable style masks, as all of this is already unnerving for our clients. Having a stock of cotton washable gloves could additionally prove to assist with the new normal.”
“Many clients sweat intensely and wearing gloves will protect you from the varieties of all diseases. Gloves could be sanitized and rinsed and air dried. Cotton gloves could be utilized - reusable and washable.”
For fitting room seating Ponomareva is considering a paper covering, “like in doctor’s examining room” which can be replaced after each fitting. Another new precaution: “After each bra fitting appointment, the bras that are not purchased will be set aside on a rack and steamed before presenting to another client.” In addition she suggested a thorough cleaning ritual for the fitting room after the customer leaves.
“While bra fitting appointments have always been suggested,” the store owner continued, “perhaps the new normal will require scheduled appointments. Bra Spectrum has three dressing rooms, two side by side and one in the rear of the shop. We plan on only using two in order to deliver the recommended social distancing.”
Rules of conduct should be prominently posted within the store to explain the social distancing policies that are unique to the interior. This sign should also include a description of the various cleaning and disinfection procedures that the store uses to protect its customers.
“If you offer a bathroom for use, make sure that you have no-touch hand sanitizer, or no-touch soap dispenser mounted in the powder room. Create a sign and mount on wall: “All employees and clients must wash hands after utilizing the porcelain facility.” After each visit spray the porcelain devices, sink knobs and door handles with Lysol or 70% rubbing alcohol and wipe with paper towel. Advertise that you are taking this added step. You are protecting yourself and your clients.”
After a sale has been processed, Ponomareva suggested “point of sale touch screens should be lightly wiped with rubbing alcohol” and “doorknobs and handles should be sanitized after client departs.” She added that her store will institute a new policy for cash. “We will not place the funds in the cash register drawer, but keep it separate, spray with Lysol, let dry, mix gently with cash in cash drawer and sanitize our hands after each transaction.”
Valens Lingerie, the companion intimates distribution company, “has always had stringent cleaning processes and procedures. Bras are imported from Poland, Latvia, Spain, Italy, and Lithuania.”
“We sanitize the shrink-wrapped plastic with disinfectant wipes and completely remove the plastic wrap from the boxes in an area outside of the storage and warehouse space.” All products are stored in snap top plastic bins, which are first disinfected and thereafter regularly cleaned.
“The warehouse space air is filtered utilizing IQ Air (made in Switzerland) with HEPA and charcoal filtering systems. The shelving, tops of storage bins, cement floor and indoor and outdoor carpet are consistently vacuumed utilizing a Festool (made in Germany) HEPA filter and filter bag industrial system. When handling the lingerie during the inventory verification process we wear cotton gloves – good for the product, for the employees and for our wholesale clients.”
With an extensive set of cleaning and disinfecting procedures in place, the lingerie executive recommended a business should take the extra step of making all this known to clients and customers with frequent emails, prominent notices and advertising.
“Stay safe, healthy, and most importantly love yourself and your family as if today were the last day. And promote: “You Protect Us and We Protect You.”
To contact Ponomareva for ideas on preparing a store for opening, call (610) 400-8460 or email info@ValensLingerie.com.
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