Entrepreneur Interview – April Buchanan
April Buchanan founded The Perky Lady in 2015 and since then has transformed the lives of hundreds of women through great fitting underthings enabling them to magnify the beautiful and confident woman within. An advocate for body positivity, avid lingerie and lifestyle blogger, entrepreneur, former copper, stepmom, dog wrangler, lingerie enthusiast, and “natural” redhead.
Entrepreneur Interview Q & A
- What is the name of your business? What does your business do?
The Perky Lady. We are a professional bra fitting and lingerie boutique that serves as a catalyst for women to change the perception of themselves in positive ways.
The concept had come along from having many absolutely terrible experiences bra shopping myself. I always thought bra shopping should be an experience. Intimate, special, fun, and should make you feel empowered. What I found over and over again was the exact opposite. Cold retail stores with bulk uninspiring selections, less than enthusiastic sales staff and nothing that fit my body. I would stand in front of the mirror in the dressing room and feel absolutely horrible about myself – and I carried that around with me. When I looked around, I saw other women struggling like I was. There was clearly a need for something less commercial and more personal. A safe place where women could come into a judgment-free zone with soft surfaces and feel empowered to express themselves. A stress-free place where they had colorful vivacious choices and feel like everything was made for them. Where their body concerns melted away and they left feeling like they could conquer anything. I didn’t just want to open another retail store, I wanted to create relationships. I wanted to influence my customers lives in a positive way through their visits. I wanted to give them the same experience I had when I discovered beautiful great fitting bras and lingerie.
- What have been your biggest challenges?
Our biggest challenge has been reaching our true target customer. I had to take a step back and realize that while the vast majority of women have those same negative experiences I did and struggle with finding bras that fit, they may not be ready for a trip to The Perky Lady. As an entrepreneur, it is easy to think that your vetted solution to a wide-reaching problem is obvious and will convert the problem sufferers. That is not the case. Dealing with intimate apparel effects women very deeply both emotionally and psychologically. Things they have to overcome or find peace with to a certain degree first, before they may be ready to come in. Reaching those women who are at that point that are truly ready, willing and able has been our biggest challenge.
- What has been your greatest reward?
When ladies choose to return to shop with us again, refer their friends, or bring their mother or daughter in to see us – that is the biggest compliment. What’s even better is when they tell you they’ve been transformed by the experience you gave them. I love hearing the shift in their mindset, body image and the things they’ve done in their life because of it! Whether its as small as I started wearing a pretty robe for myself, or I had the confidence to go after my dream job – we celebrate their joy with them!
- If you could change something, what would it be?
America’s perception that lingerie is inherently sexual. Social media channels are constantly blocking and censoring legitimate content and positive messages containing lingerie and people in lingerie deeming it obscene. Lingerie is a broad term including foundations like bras and underwear (for all sexes). It includes loungewear, sleepwear, shapewear. Provocative lingerie is only one facet. Lingerie is an art form, a medium of self-expression, an item of clothing meant to enhance and support the female figure. There is nothing wrong, dirty, or obscene about it. Furthermore, a person who chooses to wear lingerie, provocative or not, is not dirty, wrong or obscene.
- What advice would you give to a new entrepreneur?
No one knows your business or your goals like you, so don’t ask everyone for advice or suggestions. Have confidence in yourself and your mission. It is a dangerous place to be in when you don’t have confidence in yourself. People can see it and it puts you at a disadvantage. Speak up, don’t be afraid to negotiate for your benefit, and don’t compromise your worth by feeling like you have to discount your rates or prices.
I hate it. I think smartphones and social media have done so much damage to our society and culture. For business, social media is a necessary evil. You have to look at the positives though. It is more cost effective than radio, tv, or print advertisement. It is a way for you and your business to have a voice. You control what you want your business to say and what value you provide. It is a way for your business and your name to travel farther than you ever could. If you do it right, you can grow authentic relationships and trust with your tribe.
- How do you market your products or services?
In the current business climate, some baseline systems have to in place. A digital presence that is consistent and across multiple platforms is crucial. Landing pages with minimal information don’t cut it anymore. Being an intimate apparel boutique, men and women alike have to know that they (or their partner) will be safe and cared for in order for them to come to experience The Perky Lady. I make sure that we are visible, transparent and easily found so that our message is consistent across every place they find us – whether it is on Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or our website. We utilize top-notch SEO, sales funnels, targeted social media ads, and consistent posting of relevant content and videos. We are consistently collaborating with other local small businesses to solidify a loyal referral network and puts us in front of potential clients who may not have otherwise heard of us. For us, the personal touch is important so our biggest marketing efforts are done in person with our clients – encouraging reviews, providing special services for loyal clients, personal calls or correspondence. We have had great success with word of mouth referrals. While slow, it has the best rate of conversion and attracts more of our ideal client.
- If your business sells products, how do you handle production?
- What is unique about your business?
We bring the experience of a personal lingerie concierge to every client in a warm, fun and inviting atmosphere where lingerie is special and mysterious yet very much accessible to every size woman. Our selections are specially curated to look beautifully frivolous, but provide all the support you need for any occasion – showing that beauty and strength aren’t mutually exclusive.
- Sell me your product/service.
I don’t sell our products, I let the customer explore everything we have to offer and let her sell herself with the feeling that comes from the perfect fit and style.
The Perky Lady
106 W Chatham St, Apex, NC 27502