When Amy Pavao founded her retail company 10 years ago, she was planning on selling lingerie. However, she quickly decided to switch to the niche market of corsets, coining the site AbsoluteCorsets.com, and today the category encompasses approximately 90 percent of her inventory. “It seemed like everyone and their grandmother had a lingerie site, so we decided to specialize in corsets.
“We quickly realized that selling real corsets is more involved than most products. We had to learn how they were cut, which styles would accommodate what body types, and the vast differences between ‘lingerie’ corsets/bustiers and real ‘authentic’ steel boned corsets. We had to make a very in-depth, informative site about the product. The great thing about real corsets is that they appeal to and benefit such a wide variety of people. There’s the bridal market, transgendered or cross-dressing market, girls going to their proms, goth and fetish consumers who opt for leather and pvc styles, and the general public who like to wear them not only under clothes for waist shaping and figure training, but also as elegant outerwear. We also have customers with back problems who like to wear them for back support instead of those unsightly, plastic back-braces.
“[Our recipe for success] is great customer service, carrying an authentic product that really transforms peoples’ figures, and offering something of good quality that truly works.”
Absolute Corsets’ merchandise ranges from approximately $200 to $1,200, with the average sell running from about $270 to $280. Pavao emphasized that, if the customer takes care of the product, goes slowly breaking in their new corset and stores it properly, it should last for several years. She warned against purchasing products that claim to be of high-end authentic quality with a considerably lower price point; “Buyer beware of a low corset price point because that’s likely reflective of how long the garment will last.” She carries products in stock ranging from waist sizes of 18 to 38 inches, but can custom-accommodate “just about any waist-size and body type.”
Although Absolute Corsets is a higher-end corset retailer, Pavao sees the demand for corsets as continuing to grow, and has implemented techniques to keep sales up during tough times. “We’ve run some really great marked-down sales, which allows us to continue to move inventory without sacrificing quality.
“I think if we hadn’t been running sales and conforming to the current market we would be suffering, but since we have been conscious we have continued to flourish.”
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written by Amanda Torres Price published 2009-11-04 09:01:29
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