French Theft Lingerie Retail Spotlight
“We are happy to take the time to get to know each of the customers who come in, share knowledge and stories [and] offer great bra fitting and personal service in a casual, beautiful boutique atmosphere.” – Kate Springmeyer, French Theft Lingerie.
by Michelle Broomes, Lingerie Journal Editor.
If you’re going to steal anything from the French, it might as well be their love of beautiful, quality lingerie. Kate Springmeyer of French Theft Lingerie located in California would, no doubt agree as she, herself, returned home with a large helping of passion for exquisite, unique and high end lingerie after spending time in Paris exploring its indomitable culture and, in the process, discovering charming lingerie nooks.
Kate is dedicated in her love of bringing top quality lingerie to her clientele. For her, it’s about helping women support how they visualize themselves and so she approaches her business with what can only be deemed as a professional zeal to see women matched with what they need and desire out of their underwear.
French Theft offers a personal fitting service and houses gorgeous French and inspired brands like Triumph, Aubade, Lou and the Giving Bride. With a background in art and photography, Kate has an eye for artistic quality and thoughtful detail, things she looks for in lingerie as she only desires to present the best to her patrons.
Kate told TLJ, in an interview, how she founded and runs her boutique and, of course, her love and respect for the business of lingerie is evident as she speaks.
Q&A with Kate Springmeyer, French Theft Lingerie
I was inspired to open a lingerie boutique after seeing a tiny (120 sq.ft) retail space available and wondering what would best fit in there. I literally woke up in the middle of the night with the completed concept in mind, met with the owner of the building and secured the space a week later. Then the real work began….
FTL is all about making lingerie shopping, whether daily needs or something special, accessible and fun in a relaxing and calm environment for every person who comes in.
I’ve collected vintage lingerie for years and was working with a friend who is a fabulous patternmaker on modernizing some pieces, dropping armholes, necklines, etc. She sent an email with French Theft as the subject while we were thinking about names for the line and I thought it was a great suggestion. It turned out to be part of a joke about thieves, but I held onto the name for 16 years and when the building owner asked what I was going to name the shop, it just came out. It probably didn’t hurt that he owned the French bakery next door either.
I believe our store’s experience is relaxed, casual and low pressure. We are happy to take the time to get to know each of the customers who come in, share knowledge and stories [and] offer great bra fitting and personal service in a casual, beautiful boutique atmosphere.
“FTL is all about making lingerie shopping, whether daily needs or something special, accessible and fun in a relaxing and calm environment for every person who comes in.”
The store’s aesthetic is warm, open, yet private. I really wanted to showcase the beauty of lingerie so it’s treated and lit as a piece of art in a gallery, whether it’s a $30 or $200 bra. They all are shown on wood hangers and hang on custom metal work.
We have a beautiful sofa covered in men’s suiting material (the man couch) as you enter for people to sit, then the store itself opens up to reveal the collections throughout the store as well as changing artwork on the walls.
I have a background in art and photography. Having changing art work in the store adds to, changes and completes the total creative vibe I want people to feel to open themselves to something different, something beautiful or simply to walk around enjoying the current work on the walls. I think ultimately it invites a wider range of people into the store and makes lingerie more approachable for some too.
I spent time in Europe when I was younger, Paris in particular, and loved the mindset that lingerie is a necessity and that it is for yourself, whether anyone else sees you in, or out of it. Bras and panties are the foundation for how your clothing looks, but as importantly, how they can make you feel. Even a daily basic can be beautiful and have detailing that elevates it. That’s what I am always looking for.
Personal customer service is very important. We are approachable, open and listen, listen, listen to our customer’s reasons and needs for coming in [and we] make suggestions and follow up. We get to know our clients personally, their preferences and have some great conversations.
Having recently relocated to Los Gatos, the target customer has changed a bit and is evolving still, though it tends to be mid 30s-60s, [who are]style and body conscious, who don’t find a major chain relevant for their needs, [and]who appreciate fine bras, lingerie and tightly curated collections.
We are located in a gorgeous outside neighborhood that is a good mix of independent boutiques, lots of restaurants and local events. The town of Los Gatos is considered the “Gem of Silicon Valley” and a shopping destination.
Social media is important since it is how we communicate with each other and get the majority of our information these days, like it or not.
I prefer Instagram for the “visual-ness” but use FB, Twitter to show new products I carry out to a wider audience as well as following what’s happening in the industry. I don’t sell online as I’ve found most customers prefer to come into the boutique.
My favorite brands are also my best selling ones: Samantha Chang, Marlies Dekkers, LOU, Triumph and Evgenia. All amazing for many reasons and create a great collection in the shop.
What always stands out and gets my attention is great photography and presentation that has a well thought out focus and strong visual aesthetic. I will call you and thank you for that every time.
Questions about French Theft Lingerie?
Visit the Store
59 N.Santa Cruz Avenue
Los Gatos, CA 95030