Q&A with Cyla Weiner, President
Ted Vayos: Please describe your store for our readers?
Cyla Weiner: Our store is tucked away on a quiet little side street right off the main street which is home to Saks, Neiman’s, Louis Vuitton, tiffany’s etc. In our 40 years this is our third location. Although we still consider ourselves a destination store we are in a very upscale happening area. We fill a need for many of the stores around us a we are able to help them make sales for their evening gowns and sportswear since we can find the right undergarments for these items. This has been a good partnership for us. Our store is contemporary in feel but very relaxed. We sell bras, panties, shapewear, hosiery, and swimwear.
Ted: What makes your store special?
Cyla: Since we are celebrating our 40th anniversary we can proudly say that we are now helping our 3rd and 4th generation and that makes us feel very special. We have had the pleasure of working with the grandmother, mother, daughter, and now their daughters. We have a very special bond with our clients since we have been a part of their lives for so long. We have had the privilege of laughing and crying with them. That is very special. We also fill a need since we start with training bras, help with prom dresses, have a large assortment for the bride, then move on to pregnancy, and nursing. We also work with breast surgery clients helping them post op from either augmentation, reduction, and breast cancer surgeries. We had the privilege of fitting Nancy Reagan at the White House.
Ted: What do you look for in a brand?
Cyla: We look for good quality and excellent fit in a product. We want it to be comfortable, supportive, and make you feel good when you put it on. Some of our top brands are Van de Velde, Simone Perele, Wacoal, Natori, Chantelle, Hanky Panky, Cosabella, La Perla. In swim we love Eres, Karla Colletto, Shan, Roidal, Miraclesuit and Magic suit. The brands I have listed are great to work with and we have long standing relationships with them. It is important for brands to be in stock on basic items so that they may turn them around quickly.
Ted: Describe the popular styles or trends in your store.
Cyla: Our area is a bit more conservative in nature. We do not sell anything glitzy or too wild. Washington is slowly emerging as a fashionable destination but it takes a bit for trends to catch on. Our most popular bra is a T shirt bra.
Ted: Describe your price points and size ranges.
Cyla: We cater to a more upscale sophisticated shopper. Our bras start at $42 and go up to $350. Our swim starts at about $120 and goes up to $900. We carry AA-I cup bras starting at size 30-46. In swim we start at size XS-XL or 2-22.
Ted: What is your typical or average customer size?
Cyla: I’d say 34-36D or DD and size small or medium.
Ted: What does your average customer spend per visit to your store?
Cyla: Our average sale is $200-275.
Ted: Describe your customer.
Cyla: Our customer base is predominately female although we see many males at Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. The men like shopping with us because we can tell them what size they need to buy and that makes them look great. We are also able to make good suggestions for them because we can see what their significant other likes to wear.
Ted: What has impacted your business the most over the past year?
Cyla: I think the economy has a very large impact mainly because we are in Washington DC and what is national news for most of the country is our local news. We hear about what is going on all day long. Many of our clients take part in what shapes our nation and are very involved on the hill or in the media. I think what goes on in the world has a large impact on retail. Consumers are affected by both good news and bad news. After 40 years we have survived many ups and downs and I truly believe that things are starting to look up again. I think staying in touch and in tune with your clients is the most important thing any business can do to survive.