Stevie Turley equates bra shopping to shoe shopping. Both everyday items do the work of supporting the weight of the body. You wouldn’t want to wear a pair of shoes that are too big, or that pinch your feet. It is the same with a bra.
“They are the one piece of clothing you really do wear all day and if they are uncomfortable, it is the most annoying thing,” said Turley, owner of La Tee Da Lingerie Boutique.
Stevie Turley and her husband and business partner Jack opened La Tee Da in 2007. They own Gourmet Essentials, which is right next door, and when the previous lingerie store closed, their landlord asked them if they would like to take over the space.
There was no other lingerie store in town so they jumped on the opportunity.
Stevie said they run the businesses as his and hers. Jack comes into La Tee Da to do the maintenance work but that is about it.
Turley fell in love with the lingerie industry.
“It’s satisfying when you find something that works for somebody and they feel so much better about themselves and they boost their confidence,” she said.
It’s a whole different type of retail than working with giftware and hardware next door, she said.
“Learning how the companies that you work with work for what customer, that is all a learning curve,” she said.
The first thing she mastered was bra fitting. Then came learning about the products and how to find not only the fit that women need but also the feeling they want when they look in the mirror.
And that is one of the many reasons that women will shop at a lingerie boutique instead of a department store.
“Every woman is unique, within her size, her shape, her place in life, she is unique,” Turley said.
Bra shopping can be frustrating and at La Tee Da they are focused on customer service.
Although they specialize in bra fittings, if a customer does not want a fitting, they will run to find sizes so that you don’t have to get dressed again to find a different product.
La Tee Da also has a wide variety of sizes from an A cup to an M cup and a 30 band to a 46 band, a range that you probably won’t find in any department store.
Turley is an advocate for shopping local and giving back.
“Your core business is always your community and that is really who you focus on and the rest is gravy,” she said.
On top of donating for events and not-for-profits, Turley runs a couple of campaigns herself. In August and September she collects gently used bras to donate to the Campbell River and North Island Transition Society.
Next month she has arranged to go to Anne Elmore house and do bra fittings for the ladies living there.
In October La Tee Da is participating in Wacoal’s Fit For the Cure event.
For every Wacoal bra tried on, the company donates money towards breast cancer research.
Turley’s belief is that community and business have a symbiotic relationship.
“It’s a difference, it’s not just business it is making a living in your community,” she said.