Q&A with Susan Ward, Product Specialist
Ted Vayos, BODY: Describe your store for our readers.
Susan Ward: We are a small storefront on the campus of Pennsylvania Hospital. Our location is intended to be convenient to new and expectant mothers and their families as well as women in treatment for cancer. The shop has a boutique look and feel while all of our products are sold at or below retail. Shoppers can expect to find a range of products for breastfeeding mothers including nursing bras, loungewear, breast pumps and accessories, infant products, personal care products and herbal supplements. We also carry a variety of head covers, skin care and compression sleeves for cancer patients.
Ted: What makes your store special?
Susan: Solutions for Women is intended to be part of the hospital’s commitment to women’s health and a service to the community. We strive to provide a personal and caring experience and support. We are very much relationship based, often getting to know not just the mom but he whole family.
Ted: What do you look for in a brand?
Susan: In the category of nursing/maternity bras and loungewear we carry Bravado, Glamour Mom, La Leche League, Melinda G, Precious Image, and QT. We recently added a bra by Bamboobies, a company that makes other breastfeeding related products. All of these companies make excellent, well received, products and have been wonderful to work with.
Ted: Describe the popular styles or trends in your store.
Susan: Comfort and style remain important. Bras and loungewear hitting that sweet spot are what our customer looks to us for. Where bras are concerned it is all about the fit.
Ted: Describe your price points and size ranges.
Susan: Our bras range in price from $20 to $49, loungewear from about $40 to $65. Most of these products we sell at a bit under the suggested retail price. We have an extensive range of size. Bras range from 30 to 44, A to L/M cup size, loungewear from x small to xx large.
Ted: What does the average customer spend per visit?
Susan: Our lingerie purchases average $50 to $100.
Ted: Describe your customer.
Susan: Our customer is a new or expectant mom , well educated, informed, between the ages of 25 to 40. She is not just looking for a product, but is looking for advice and assistance in making a selection. Product quality is very important to her. Price point remains a factor, though a secondary one.
Ted: What has impacted your store the most over the past year?
Susan: Changes in the health care law have insurance companies providing breast pumps as a benefit. Mom’s now rarely purchase pumps at retail. This has resulted in less traffic in our shop. Though women have always come in to purchase other things, like nursing bras, those who came in for a pump almost always also bought nursing bras, tank tops or loungewear. That has been a significant missing piece of our business. We now look to expand our other offerings.