Christina D Lingerie & Swim Offers Personal Touch
July 25, 2012 by Joyce Owen
More than 10 years ago, Christy Horton had been in line to become a managing director at a prominent bank in Chicago when she began assessing what it would mean: less time handling deals, less interaction with clients and more politics.
But Christy didn’t want to go back to school. She worked hard to attain success, and though it seemed the time to do something different; it had to be the right thing.
When she traveled, Christy purchased items she couldn’t find in Chicago. On trips to New York she went to Only Hearts for lingerie. Sometimes she would hang out watching as the staff fitted customers. On one trip, she realized Chicago needed a good bra fitter.
“I didn’t know anything about bra fitting, so I embarked on a trip to New York. I went into every single bra shop in Manhattan and was fitted for a bra.”
She hired a business coach for advice. A survey sent to hundreds of women indicated their frustration with finding the right bra.
She opened Trousseau, a small start that expanded to a 3,000 square foot shop. People heard she was fitting bras and they came. She earned a reputation as a top bra fitter in the country.
But when Christy realized the sacrifices she had made to run her successful lingerie business she left Chicago to spend some time with her parents who live in Panama City Beach.
She didn’t have the typical fire sale, but announced, “I’m leaving, get it while you can.” Then she loaded a U-Haul with manikins and fixtures she planned to use in a concept she had developed and drove to Florida.
Before opening another shop, she did research. She learned from her mom’s friends, they went to Atlanta to be fitted for bras.
“That’s a long way to drive for a bra,” she says.
Christy drove down Scenic 30A four times a week looking for a spot that was accessible from Destin and Panama City Beach. She talked with other business owners. She contacted the lingerie designers she had used in Chicago to find out what fitters they had in the Panhandle. There were none and she was asked to help develop the market here.
She added swimwear when customers requested it in Chicago; so it was a natural part of the merchandise she wanted to carry here. Although her customers range from teens to seniors, her focus is on those with fitting problems – larger sizes and those who’ve had breast surgery.
Christy retained her customer database and some of those shoppers found her at the beach.
“I’ve been very fortunate to have strong mid-west clients come in,” she says.
She is building a local following, and with a referral plan and loyalty points, that part of her market is growing.
Christy is happy with her decision to move here. Not only is she pursuing her passion, she’s making a difference in women’s lives. Wearing the correct bra can mean better posture, wearing the wrong one can cause health issues, she says.
“I’m educating women about what’s available and how to buy it. It’s amazing the impact a good fit can make.”