Retail Spotlight: Fascinations
Above: Shoppers describe Fascinations as, “bright, clean, warm, modern and inviting.”
by Michelle Broomes
It’s no secret that the lingerie and adult accessories industries are competitive. With products from multiple retailers just a few clicks away on the internet, brick-and-mortar shops have had to become innovative in finding ways to ride with the tide and remain afloat.
Fascinations, a company based in Phoenix, Arizona, has been in the business for over 20 years and has been successfully moving the brand from strength to strength, despite competition from other players, particularly those online. The secret to their success, they say, has been simply to keep adapting to the changing retail climate – which has included staying on trend and constantly identifying with the customer base. To this end, over the last few years, the retailer has been steadily revamping its image and boldly forging a place in the mainstream retail market.
Above: A wide variety of seasonal lingerie is available from Dreamgirl (featured in photo), Coquette, Hanky Panky, Blush and Escante.
Known primarily for its premier range of adult bedroom accessories, the Fascinations brand has been strongly contesting the mainstream market through tactics such as improving its shops’ interior designs, diversifying its product offerings and keeping up-to-date with cultural trends.
Above: Customers visit the newest Fascinations Phoenix store for dresses, lingerie and more!
“Our research shows that while consumers spend more time online than ever before, they still want to have an experience when they shop, especially for lingerie,” – Dustin Olive, Fascinations’ Chief Operating Officer.
From the humble beginnings of a small novelty shop purchased in the 1980’s, Fascinations has grown to a prolific retailer with 14 shops in the South West. Recent refurbishments have enlarged the vision and image of the company. The shops have been modernized to be vibrant and brighter, more welcoming and to maximize the overall customer experience.
Despite the current competitive climate where businesses are going head to head in online markets, the company still believes in the philosophy that in-store experiences still matter to the customer.
Above: From tops to shorts, dresses, bags and accessories, Austin, Texas customers always find the perfect look to match their unique style.
“Our research shows that while consumers spend more time online than ever before, they still want to have an experience when they shop, especially for lingerie,” explained Chief Operating Officer (COO), Dustin Olive. “The touch and feel of the material, the ability to try on products and the instant gratification of wearing or using what they purchased keeps customers coming back. We create an experience for our customers so they find their visit inspiring.”
Above: Fascinations carries everyday value priced panties.
In keeping with the new image, shop floors have been visually merchandized to be progressively suggestive from front of house to back as the customer ambles through. And it appears that the new layout has been well received by patrons.
“We see positive feedback from our customers surrounding the comfort level they experience while shopping in our stores,” stated COO, Mr. Olive. “When you look at a tool such as Yelp, for example, we have customers writing lengthy, positive reviews. That tells us that we are doing right by the customers, and they are comfortable sharing their positive experiences with the world.”
Above: A clean, bright and inviting atmosphere is created when shopping for toys. Toy brands include We Vibe, Evolved, Lelo, Fun Factory and Tantus.
“Fascinations has grown to a prolific retailer with 14 shops in the South West.”
Fascinations shops currently stock high-end clothing, lingerie and swimwear in addition to its top-of-the-line adult bedroom accessories. These additions have opened up the brand to new consumers and enthused existing fans. Whether it’s a state-of-the-art sensual accessory or an outfit to enjoy a night out on the town, the brand endeavours to cater to every need.
Of interest, swimwear and lingerie lines employed by the brand have been seeing a good return according to COO, Mr Olive.
“We continue to buy and market new lines with the customer’s needs and requests in mind,” he informed. “We obviously go for a sexy look, but now pepper in sophisticated styles and focus on quality. The reception has been very rewarding. Customers are going to be even more excited with our spring styles.”
Above: Massage essentials like these Earthly Body 3-in-1candles with hemp and soy help set the mood.
This year the company also launched a “Health & Wellness” campaign that has further added to brand expansion. The campaign is geared towards sexual health and awareness, showcasing products such as essential oils, creams, herbal supplements and accessories to promote intimacy enhancement.
The program has shifted the brand into a new gear ahead of the competition according to COO, Dustin Olive and is a standout component in the brand’s overall product selection.
Above: Natural and organic lubricants are available at Fascinations.
“With sexual wellness being critical to ones wellbeing, our mission is to take a 360-degree holistic approach, and eliminate the archaic taboos it once held…”
“The launch of our Health and Wellness collection was our product diversity initiative at work,” he explained. “We knew as a brand we had to provide product lines that others weren’t, and essentially fill a need to our customers while driving new audiences into our stores that previously may not have thought to come in. We are the only store amongst competitors that supplies a robust health and wellness product line.”
Above: Nothing compliments lingerie better than the right perfume. Luz De La Riva is a popular choice!
With a view of reversing traditionally guarded views and attitudes towards sex and intimacy, the Health & Wellness program aims not only at encouraging healthy and fulfilling intimate relationships, but also presenting Fascinations as a go-to brand for products to enrich these experiences.
“With sexual wellness being critical to ones wellbeing, our mission is to take a 360-degree holistic approach, and eliminate the archaic taboos it once held,” stated Mr. Olive. “Our customers were looking for more natural means of health supplements and we answered with top-tier brands. The wellness products have been a wonderful addition to our assortment, and our staff provides education to support a range of sexual wellness products.”
Above: A wide variety of personal care products for men and women are available, such as Coochy, System JO and Wicked Sensual Care.
Fascinations’ new approach to retail and rejuvenated public image has allowed the company to harness the power of mainline multimedia for marketing, including local television as well as digital and social media. Particularly, over this year’s Halloween celebrations, the company spearheaded a dynamic advertising campaign of stylish Halloween attire that impacted not only regular patrons of the brand but succeeded in reaching an entirely new audience. The result was a significant increase in sales up from the previous year.
But, despite the undeniable successes, this move to flow mainstream and has come with great effort from the company according to Mr. Olive.
Above: Dressing rooms are couples-friendly and create the environment to find just the right piece of lingerie.
“The challenge hasn’t been easy, nor are we close to being done.” he informed. “Diversifying our product assortment and the re-branding of some of our older locations will continue to be a work in progress. In addition we must continue the forward momentum of educating the public that we are a new Fascinations, with a large assortment of apparel and lingerie. Our marketing and advertising endeavours are key in this evolution.”
Positive feedback, not only from customers but from staff and business associates, is further influencing the sure transformation of the Fascinations brand into a mainstream retail name.
Above: a bird’s eye view of Fascinations.
“We have made conscious decisions to elevate our merchandise as we revitalize our stores, and the reception from buyers has been extremely motivating,” stated Pauline Green, Director of Purchasing. Frontline staff has also been singing the praise of their revitalized work arena. “Our team members are proud of where they work, and they love to share about the brand,” Mr. Olive stated.
At the heart of it all, however, is customer satisfaction – making sure that each one has an encounter with Fascinations to remember in the midst of changes to the brand. Central to this undertaking is offering the best quality of commodities to each customer.
Above: Liberator on display at Fascinations.
“As a company we can say we are diversifying our scope of product, but if the merchandise doesn’t align, our consumers will recognize that,” surmised Head of Purchasing, Pauline Green.
But the results speak for themselves so far – the metamorphosis of Fascinations from mainly boudoir to a mainstream company has proven a hit with customers.
Above: a great example of the clean, open feel Fascinations is known for.
“Customers are returning frequently, and the requests they are making to our teams for new product types are refreshing,” boasted COO, Dustin Olive. “This tells us we are becoming a one stop shopping experience for our customer’s lifestyle.”