Our History

Edna:   Unique Lingerie, ‎Inc. is conveniently located ‎off the  I-75 (Interstate) in Ocala, ‎Florida and easy to find. As ‎a board-certified mastectomy ‎fitter, I’m in awe of how ‎many women aren’t aware ‎that they are entitled to this ‎valuable service. Many of our ‎clients, as a result of visiting ‎this store for the first time, ‎find out that their insurance ‎allows them to have a professional ‎fitting for their prosthesis ‎and bras, fully billable ‎to the insurance company. ‎We also attract women of ‎all ages that can’t find the ‎correct garments for their ‎proms, weddings and special ‎occasions. Women are able ‎to find nursing bras, sports ‎bras, girdles, slips, non-wired ‎bras and lingerie for any occasion. ‎We provide for their ‎after-surgery augmentation, ‎tummy tucks, and body ‎makeovers. We work with ‎local seamstresses and on occasion, ‎perform alterations ‎on premise. We only work ‎with manufacturers who ‎are as passionate and ‎committed about quality ‎products as we are. ‎We listen to your needs, ‎value your input, and ‎strive to earn the confidence ‎and trust you ‎deserve. We currently ‎hold a certification and ‎accreditation from the ‎ American Board for ‎Certification in Orthotics, ‎Prosthetics, and Pedorthics, ‎but specialize ‎in mastectomy prosthesis ‎and fittings.

Ted:     What do you look for in a brand?

Edna:   Since there are so ‎many brands out there, it ‎is hard to determine what ‎is going to be better for ‎each client. We have found ‎that so many women want ‎to have molded cups, but ‎molded cups aren’t for every ‎woman. When we do order ‎molded cups we look for ‎the structure that doesn’t allow ‎the breast to sink to the ‎bottom causing an empty ‎space between the bra and ‎the breast. Support and lift ‎is our priority. We look for ‎the brands that have well-structured ‎straps for women ‎that have heavier breasts so ‎the breasts don’t pull the bra, ‎causing the back of the bra ‎to creep upward. We also ‎look at the side panels of ‎the bra as they are designed ‎to keep the breast tissue ‎in front of the wire. Many ‎women don’t like lace and ‎finding the right bra without ‎lace is exhaustive. We carry ‎at least one demi cup and ‎balconette, but primarily full ‎coverage bras.

Ted:     List some of the key ‎brands that are important to ‎your store.

Edna:   For our mastectomy ‎clients  American Breast ‎Care (ABC),  AnitaTrulife, ‎ ClassiqueAlmostU and ‎ Jodee are our most featured ‎products. On occasion we ‎will get a special request for a ‎product not normally stocked ‎and will place a special order. ‎For full cup size bras, we feature ‎ ElilaLunairePanache, ‎ CarnivalWacoalLeMystere, ‎ VaBienCurvy Kate, ‎ FelinaShapeezFit Fully ‎YoursAvianaDominiqueEdith Lances and  Leonisa. ‎For maternity clients ‎we carry  Cache CoeurMelindaG, ‎ BravadoLeMystere ‎and  Coobie Intimates. I was ‎recently re-introduced to the ‎Corin line, which I am happy ‎to see back in the United ‎States market.

Ted:     Do you private label any products under your own store name?

Edna:   Yes! After many ‎years of research, I recently ‎acquired a private label of ‎women’s robes from  AAKAR ‎Intimates. My first ‎order was a big hit for my ‎store, and I am now in negotiations ‎of having additional ‎products made.

Ted:     Do you sell bras? What are your top selling brands?

Edna:   Yes, as I described ‎earlier, bra fittings are the ‎most essential part of my ‎business. My most popular ‎selling bras are  PrimaDonna, ‎ Lunaire and Panache. PrimaDonna ‎offers cup sizes ‎up to a J and they have never ‎disappointed me or my client ‎with a fitting. PrimaDonna bras are extremely ‎appealing to every lady that ‎tries it on for the first time. ‎The quality of these bras puts ‎them in a higher price bracket, ‎but if a client chooses to ‎make that first purchase, I ‎guarantee they will always ‎request another PrimaDonna ‎bra. Panache is my second ‎brand for good reason – my ‎younger clients love the Panache ‎bra’s perfect fit, choice ‎of colors, styles and sizing, ‎and the price point. I have ‎done quite well with VaBien. ‎Their strapless bra and body ‎suits are a big hit for specialty ‎evening wear.

Ted:     Do you sell lingerie?

Edna:   Yes, I sell lingerie but ‎not as much as I did when I ‎first opened in 2008. I do ‎special orders for bridal parties ‎and special occasions, ‎but my top selling brands are ‎ Shirley of HollywoodMapale ‎and  Shadowline. Shirley ‎of Hollywood is classy-sexy, ‎Mapale is youthful-sexy and ‎Shadowline is mature-sexy. ‎I love them all and my clients ‎love having the variety ‎of choices.

Ted:     Do you sell sleepwear?

Edna:   Yes, I carry Shadowline, ‎ Softies, and  Linda ‎Hartmann. Shadowline has ‎an extensive line of matching ‎robes and gowns. I love Softies ‎cuddly robes and pajamas. ‎I like Linda Hartmann’s ‎sophisticated look and feel of ‎their loungewear. 

Ted:     Do you sell swimwear?

Edna:   Yes, I do sell swimwear. ‎That fact that I am in ‎the Sunshine State, Florida, ‎surrounded by beaches, ‎swimming pools, snowbirds ‎and cruise lines, I have to ‎carry them. I stock 3 swim ‎lines:         Jodee and  T.H.E. ‎for my mastectomy clients ‎needing a pocket ‎bra, and PrimaDonna ‎for the cup size and body ‎contouring.

Ted:     Do you sell shapewear?

Edna:   Yes, I sell  Squeem, ‎Shapeez,  Rago, VaBien, ‎PrimaDonna, and Fajas ‎Disenos D’ Prada. I ‎have sold Squeem since ‎the day I opened and ‎will continue with their line ‎because I love the shaping ‎capability and support, and ‎my clients love them. Shapeez ‎has done well for me ‎when clients are looking for ‎a molded cup and a smooth ‎look.

Ted:     Do you sell hosiery?

Edna:   Yes, I sell stockings, ‎although on a very small ‎scale, because of the availability ‎in department stores. ‎ Music Legs and Shirley of ‎Hollywood are my most requested ‎stockings.

Ted:     Do you sell corsets?

Edna:   Yes, I have corsets ‎from Shirley of Hollywood. ‎Most corsets are special orders ‎for special occasions.

Ted:     What do you sell your ‎customers to wear with their ‎strapless dresses?

Edna:   VaBien, Dominique ‎and Elila.

Ted:     Where do you like to shop for your merchandise?

Edna:   I enjoy going to ‎Curve in New York when ‎possible. The majority of my ‎shopping is by browsing vendor ‎catalogs.

Ted:     Have any brands disappointed you? How?

Edna:   Yes, and without ‎naming them, they know ‎who they are. It is disappointing ‎knowing that some ‎brands are competing with ‎their own retailers by selling ‎their products online. I ‎am contractually obligated to ‎the brand, as a retailer, to not ‎offer their products under a ‎certain price point. However, ‎some brands simultaneously ‎offer their products online ‎with prices that small businesses ‎can’t feasibly compete ‎with. On occasion, I have ‎agreed to meet the price a ‎client found on a website ‎if they can prove the style, ‎size and color are being advertised ‎for less – but this is ‎very difficult for small businesses ‎to do. There are other ‎issues with brands offering ‎their products online – both ‎non-post-mastectomy bras ‎and mastectomy bras. These ‎brands are misleading their ‎customers to believe that ‎finding the perfect fit and ‎style for their needs can be ‎done without the help of an ‎experienced, professional fitter. ‎To most women, these ‎bras are an investment that ‎should be made with the ‎help of someone who is ‎extremely knowledgeable ‎about the products and can ‎offer invaluable direction in ‎choosing the perfect bra.

Ted:     What product were you sorry to see discontinued?

Edna:   I haven’t had any ‎problem with discontinued ‎products. There are always ‎other alternatives for a good ‎salesperson to offer their clients. 

Ted:     Have you brought any new products or brands into your store recently?

Edna:   Yes. I now carry Coobie ‎bras. Some of my mastectomy ‎clients love the fact ‎they have a pocket in them ‎for their prosthesis and the ‎variety of colors available. ‎I am also in the process of ‎bringing the Corin bra line ‎back. In 2008 and 2009 I ‎carried Corin and was very ‎happy with the line, but ‎then they weren’t available. ‎Thank you Corin for returning, ‎I know my clients will ‎love the quality and the price ‎point. In the past two years ‎I’ve become known for offering ‎wigs (cranial prosthesis). ‎Many women come in asking ‎if their insurance will cover ‎wigs after chemotherapy and ‎loss of hair. Unfortunately ‎many insurance companies, ‎including Medicare, will not ‎cover for this service. We ‎recommend that they check ‎with their insurance company ‎and if they do cover it, ‎we will request a prescription ‎from their physician and bill ‎their insurance company for ‎the wig.

Ted:     Describe the popular styles or trends in your store.

Edna:   Although I have carried ‎Squeem since the inception ‎of my business, body ‎shapers are becoming the ‎latest trend as the result of so ‎many women having breast ‎reductions, body sculpting, ‎and gastric bypass which ‎causes the softening the ‎stomach tissue. This has led ‎me to ordering a larger variety ‎of Fajas and compression ‎type garments. Butt-lifters ‎are on the rise as well.

Ted:     What are your most popular colors?

Edna:   I believe that the majority of women have been ‎stuck on the nude and beige ‎colors for so long that it’s ‎like pulling teeth convincing ‎them to try other colors. Our ‎older clients request white ‎bras in most instances. Our ‎staff offers fittings with other ‎colors such as blue, red, orange, ‎peach and pink. When ‎the client realizes the beauty ‎in these colors, they tend ‎explore. My experience in ‎Florida is that it is a difficult ‎task to sell black bras unless ‎needed for a special occasion. ‎Younger women love ‎trying the multi-color bras ‎and are prone to make that ‎purchase.

Ted:     Describe your price points and size ranges.

Edna:   As you know, PrimaDonna is our highest price point starting at $119.00, and our lowest price point is Felina Paramour at $42.00. Our size ranges are 28AA to 56N and we provide specialized alterations when sizes just don’t exist.

Ted:     What is your typical or average customer size?

Edna:   Our clients are not considered typical and we really don’t have an average size, but for the purpose of this interview: 32 E-G, 36 E-G, 38 G- J, 40 D-K, 46 B,C,G and H, 50 E-N.

Ted:     What does your average customer spend per visit to your store?

Edna:   $150.00, with more than 2 visits per year.

Ted:     Describe your customer base.

Edna:   Our customer base are local working and retired women, and tweens to 101 years of age (being my oldest client as of this interview, who shops twice a year).

Ted:     What has impacted your business the most over the past year?

Edna:   A negative impact on my business in the last year has been manufacturers placing greater emphasis on online sales and at the same time undercutting prices of small business retailers like myself. Unfortunately for small business owners, it’s difficult to compete when we are a brick and mortar with high rent and employees. However, a client with an in-person experienced fitter who addresses their personal concerns will experience a better outlook and fit. This quote from one of my clients explains why it’s so important for women to experience a professional fitting, “When I came to Unique Lingerie, not only had I never been professionally fitted, but I had absolutely no idea what bra size I was. I had recently finished breastfeeding my first child and felt completely disconnected from my breasts. I had haphazardly tried to buy bras online, sizes anywhere from 34B to 38DD, leaving me to feel hopeless as to finding a bra that made me happy. When Edna at Unique Lingerie fitted me, her personal service made me feel at ease and comfortable in my body, and her expertise gave me huge confidence in my purchases. The bras I wear now are perfect for me in every way and I’m so glad I had the experience of being professionally fitted.” A positive impact on my business has been that customer demand for opening a second location is high and it comes from my customers’ loyalty to our store. My clients who are not local residents ask often when and where I will be opening a second location, or if I sell products online, which inspires me to plan for the future of Unique Lingerie.

Ted:     What have you done to draw attention to your business?

Edna:   2019 is bringing big changes for our online presence, including a new website, increased social media presence, and starting an e-mail marketing campaign. I’ve also developed my own personal label in lingerie. I intend to increase the number of items under my private label.

Ted:     Who are your favorite sales representatives in the business?

Edna:   90% of my purchases are done via fax or email and I don’t have the opportunity to meet sales representatives. I have a good business relationship with Robin at American Breast Care, who helps us plan store events and is very knowledgeable about the brand she represents. She looks to provide me with unique products I can offer to my clients.