Retail Spotlight: Kalloné

Above: Rachel Avery, owner and founder of Kalloné Intimi.

“KALLONE, meaning ‘beauty’ in ancient Greek, was developed simply on the idea that everyone should feel beautiful.” — Rachel Avery.

Photos by Tara Noelle Photography.

Swimwear and lingerie boutique Kalloné Intimi features a unique, hand-picked collection of high-quality swimwear and lingerie pieces from brands around the world. With an exceptional understanding of fabric, cut and design, Kalloné Intimi’s Founder and Owner Rachel Avery selects garments based on the construction, not the label.

With locations in Toronto (309 Queen Street West) and Woodbridge (110 Windflower Gate), Rachel and the Kalloné Intimi team work alongside their customers, providing one-on-one service. As if they are simply shopping with a friend, Kalloné Intimi helps find pieces that best suit their personality and body type. For this month’s Retail Spotlight, Rachel sits down with us to talk about her boutique, how she started and what’s next for her boutiques and customers:

Q&A with Rachel Avery

Kallone store front

Above: Kalloné Intimi store front in Toronto.

Rachel, thanks so much for taking the time to speak to us about your boutique, Kalloné. Could you give us a brief overview of what Kalloné is all about?

Kalloné has taken the idea of your traditional swim and lingerie store and given it a modern vibe to appeal to a broader audience as opposed to the more specific demographics that most other stores market to. We bring exclusive brands to the Canadian market that we not available in the past and put a large focus on customer service to ensure that our customers are completely happy with the product they take home.

The path to retail ownership is often exhilarating and difficult, when did you take the first steps to starting Kalloné? How did you come to decide to start the boutique? How many locations did you start with?

The first steps for Kalloné began in May of 2013. During this time I conducted industry research and solidified the business idea. The idea was based off of my personal challenges finding proper fitting undergarments and swimwear. Being only 28 inches around, I had a very difficult time finding bras that fit me properly and I would have to go to stores targeted at a much older demographic to find proper fitting garments. I realised that I was not the only one with these issues and that there was a lack of quality stores that focused on fitting a younger demographic. We opened our first location in October of 2013 and launched our original e-commerce website at this time. Our second location was opened in February of 2014.

Above: customers enjoying Kalloné’s selection in Toronto.

“We want our customers to feel like they are going shopping with a friend. We treat all customers as though they are our best friends by giving them our honest opinion and advice.”

We love this quote from your about us page: KALLONE, meaning ‘beauty’ in ancient Greek, was developed simply on the idea that everyone should feel beautiful. Could you tell us how that idea translates for your customers and their experience at Kalloné?

We believe that everyone should feel beautiful within their own body and that this begins at the first thing they put on each day (undergarments). A proper fitting bra can change the way everything else looks on the body, so by ensuring every customer is wearing the correct size for their body enables us to make them feel beautiful in what they are wearing.

Above: front desk at Kalloné’s Toronto boutique.

In your opinion, what defines the Kalloné shopping experience? Could you describe some of your store’s aesthetics that set you apart from other boutiques? What makes Kalloné special?

We give our customers quality product, with superb customer services such as bra fitting, while ensuring that they do not feel too young nor too old to be shopping in our boutique. Our signature chocolates in the fitting rooms and the light scent of lavender make our customers feel right at home. The atmosphere within both boutiques is very different than typical lingerie/swimwear boutiques. Our downtown location has a very modern feel with light blue LED lights shining on the walls giving everything a “Kallone Blue” glow. The one-of-a-kind steel fixtures and rustic hard-wood floor give the store a unique atmosphere. The Woodbridge location is slightly larger, but the stylish carpets, ornate furniture and spacious fitting rooms give the store a sense of intimacy.

Kallone queen store 2

Above: A selection of intimates at Kalloné Intimi’s Toronto location.

How do you and your team approach customer service both in person and online? What are your customers like?

We want our customers to feel like they are going shopping with a friend. We treat all customers as though they are our best friends by giving them our honest opinion and advice. We do not allow a customer to walk out the door with something that does not fit them perfectly unless they insist.

Above: Kallone Intimi’s Woodbridge store.

What kind of fit services do you offer at your boutiques? Are there any perks (fidelity cards) you give clients?

We offer fitting services for all undergarments and swimwear. All of our staff is training in bra-fitting and on how the items are supposed to fit. Conveniently, we have relationships with seamstresses in the area if we need to have something altered for a customer. In terms of perks, all of our customers have the option to be added into our system to receive special offers catered to them. For example – if someone buys a certain style of bra, they will receive an email and a promo code if that bra comes in in another colour. We are in the final stages of solidifying our customer loyalty program which will allow customers to collect points for their purchases that can be redeemed for gifts. Be sure to check our website for updates on the launch of this program!

Above: inside Kallone Intimi’s Woodbridge store.

Could you tell us a little bit about the locations you’re boutiques are located in? What made you choose Woodbridge and Toronto?

The original location, Vaughan (Woodbridge), was chosen based on the fact that it is the up and coming area in the Greater Toronto Area with one of the highest average household incomes. There are countless condominiums being built and the city of Toronto is currently working on a project that will result in the subway being extended to just down the street from our location in the fall of 2016. Our store here is situated at the intersection of three major highways making it very convenient for our customers to get to. The shopping plaza that it is in contains several big name retailers and always seems to have a full parking lot.

The second location, Toronto, is just steps away from the iconic Much Music (now MTV) building. It is a high-traffic shopping area with many complementary retailers near by making shopping at our boutique very convenient for our customers.

Above: Kalloné Intimi’s boutique in Toronto.

One location any of your potential customers can visit is www.kallone.ca. We’d love to hear about what you’re doing with your online boutique? How do you continue that Kalloné experience and branding online?

With everything moving online, we knew that we needed to be there as well. Our customer service on our website is great – we ensure all customer inquiries are responded to within 24 hours. We have put a lot of time into writing our own descriptions of each product so that the customer can feel like they are shopping with one of our knowledgeable sales associates. Through imagery, videos, blog posts, etc., we are able to bring out the Kalloné personality on our website allowing us to maintain a uniform brand across all communication platforms. We also ensure all orders are sent out with a hand-written thank you note so that our customers know that we truly care about their online shopping experience.

Are there any events coming up that you’d like us to help get the word out about?

We have begun putting on Girls Night In with Kallone. These events are hosted at our boutiques after hours. We provide wine, champagne and hors d’oeuvres and shopping assistance while the host and her friends shop. Like all shopping parties, there are host incentives, but we take away the work associated with actually hosting and organizing the event. We just ask for a guest list and date and we take care of the rest.

Will you be attending any trade shows this year?

This year we will be attending Miami Swim Week and a few smaller shows in Canada such as Profile. We are happy with the lines that we currently have, but are open to bring in other product if we feel it compliments the customer experience.

“I can honestly say that there is a reason for every brand that was brought into the store, so each of them hold a little place in my heart.” - Rachel Avery.

We’d also love to know what some of your personal favorite brands are?

I can honestly say that there is a reason for every brand that was brought into the store, so each of them hold a little place in my heart. That being said, there are some that work better for my body type than others. My go to underwear is always Commando – they are by far the most comfortable things I have ever worn. For bras, I find that Fit Fully Yours is the perfect t-shirt bra for me, but I also really love the fun and sexy Implicite styles. I currently live in my Between the Sheets pajama sets and robes – the material is so soft and washes great! For swimwear it is a tie between Peixoto and Nicolita – I love the fit of both of these brands! Nicolita’s no-pinch bottoms are great and I love the support of the Peixoto bikini tops (the designers grandfather was a lingerie designer, so they have a lingerie foundation).

Obviously, as a store owner, you must get a ton of information from new brands and designers. Some of the emails, calls and mailings must blur together. In your opinion, what sets a brand’s communication apart, or makes it attractive enough to get your attention?

We do get a lot of requests from different brands and designers at this time. What really makes a difference for me, is if the brand does their research on our company. If they are able to tell me why we need to carry them and show that they compliment the other brands that we currently carry, I am intrigued to learn more. I have had a few brands mail me samples to try out the product for myself – this really shows me that they are confident in their product. Experience speaks louder than words – if I put something on and fall in love with it, I know that our customers will usually love it as well. It is often difficult to gauge how the product will do with images and written descriptions so being able to touch and see the product is a must.

Kalloné Locations

Woodbridge
110 Windflower Gate
Woodbridge, Ontario
L4L 9C3
(905) 264-2721

Toronto
309 Queen Street W
Toronto, Ontario
M5V 2A4
(647) 341-0099

Shop online at: www.kallone.ca

Sample of Brands Carried

Peixoto, Solkissed, Belusso, Nicolita, Beach Bunny, the Little Bra Company, Pretty Polly, Love Haus, Implicite, Wood, 2(x)ist, KoMocean, Strong Boalt, T. Christopher.

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