Could you introduce yourself, and talk us through how you ended up in the lingerie scene?
Faire Frou Frou is owned by my mom (Gail Rubke) and myself. We had always wanted to work together in a creative environment, and both of us love to shop! It wasn’t until a few years ago when I was tired of working as a tax consultant in a large firm that I wanted to explore something different for my life. With my skills as a business woman and my mom’s creative skills as a freelance artist, we felt we had a great set of skills to start a business. After a few months of brainstorming, we decided to open an upscale lingerie boutique. We happened to discover that very few, if any, stores in the U.S. were specializing in the beautiful lingerie brands that were coming out of Europe. It seemed that Faire Frou Frou would fill a niche that no one in Los Angeles had seriously tapped into. Right away, we discovered amazing brands such as Carine Gilson, Vannina Vesperini and Fifi Chachnil and knew we had a great selection of inventory to chose from.
The brands youâ€™ve selected to sell in your store share some specific characteristics: feminine, high-quality and exclusiveness. Do you have a certain checklist you run before selecting a brand for your boutique?
We certainly have a certain look in mind when we buy for Faire Frou Frou. It is very important that the brand is unusual in some way; whether it’s handmade or because it’s a new style that differentiates from other brands. When you look at the creativity in design in bras by John Galliano, Fleur T, Myla and Madame V, it really is quite different than what the average consumer is seeing at Victoria’s Secret or at the mall. In general, we look for upscale brands in a certain price point…not because we want to charge high prices, but because it is an indicator that the lingerie is well-made with fine materials. I would hate to sell something that is falling apart or cheaply made. However, we sometimes stumble upon fun, inexpensive brands such as Honeydew Intimates, Hanky Panky and Mary Green that are quite affordable and offer some very cute designs.
I believe that the whole point of a small boutique is that you find something that isn’t found at every other store. With that in mind we try not to pick up brands that are over-saturated in the market. Of course customers come into our shop expecting to find Cosabella, La Perla, Eres, etc., but we also want to ‘wow’ them with brands they’ve never seen anywhere else. That way, they keep coming back to us because we’ve earned our credibility as buyers who search high and low for something new. It really is so exciting to find a new, amazing designer, and be the first store to bring it into the U.S. My mom and I just have such a great enthusiasm for discovering and buying beautiful lingerie!
What is your own favourite lingerie brand?
It is so hard to pinpoint our favorite brand because there is so much talent represented in our store! That being said, we have a great appreciation for the work of Carine Gilson. She creates beautifully classic pieces that are handmade with the most amazing silks and lace. The true lingerie aficionado buys Carine Gilson.
However, we have incredible respect for the following designers: Rosamosario, Fleur T, Myla, Guia la Bruna, Gentry de Paris, Skin, Vannina Vesperini, Fifi Chachnil, Andres Sarda, ID Sarrieri, and Madame V. They are stunning brands!
A new favorite brand peeking onto the scene is by Faire Frou Frou! We just started selling our own tutu panties and lace thongs…so far the response has been incredible! We will soon offer these new products online at fairefroufrou.com.
There are thousands of shops out there, all trying to stand out. How did you manage to do just that?
I believe that Faire Frou Frou remains unique due to its comprehensive brand selection and the charming atmosphere of the store. Typically I find that lingerie boutiques are cluttered and unattractive in their arrangement…but then again your basic nude t-shirt bra is not the best look for a window display! We arrange our cabinets by color group and make sure there are plenty of treasures in every nook! There’s a fine line between over-doing the pink, the feathers and the product mix, and I just think my mom and I happened to get it right. We are constantly trying to refresh our look and stay ahead of the curve. After all, there are many lingerie store owners taking a peek at us to see what we’re selling and how we’re selling it. It’s flattering, but it keeps us on our toes. Once the competition has taken our ideas, we are ready to move onward and upward! It’s a wonderfully fun challenge for us.
Any dreams of where you would want to be in 5 years with the Faire Frou Frou brand?
In any event, in 5 years I hope that Faire Frou Frou will be widely regarded as a destination for unique and beautiful intimate apparel. We plan on re-working our website to evoke the charm and fun atmosphere of the Studio City boutique. We have already begun manufacturing our own product line, and intend to increase that 500% in the next 5 years! Faire Frou Frou is such a special store that has received an incredible response from customers and press alike, so there’s the possibility of multiple store locations as well as a world-class online boutique.