I opened Romantiques in the summer of 1994. You could say I've been around awhile. However, the online boutique hasn't been around quite as long... in fact we launched it in 2012. I realize that when one is shopping online, it's nice to know you are dealing with a "real" and reputable business. You also might want to know about the store you are buying the merchandise from online and who is selling it to you. Today, I'm going to share with you a little bit about my business and about all of the hearts and minds that make this such a sweet place.
First I will begin with why I opened Romantiques in the first place. I hate malls. There I said it. Well, there's a little more to it... I had always dreamed of owning a business. It all started when I worked for Adrienne Kerwin of Adrienne's in Los Gatos. It was THE woman's shop in the 80's and 90's. I was lucky enough to score a job there in my junior year of college. I had been taking a tour of schools and had finally landed at San Jose State on my way to UCLA to become a famous journalist and/or actor (yeah, right). Adrienne's was the best place to shop and kind of the only place for awhile. She had brands like Esprit and Paris Blues. It was a young girls dream to shop here. I was fortunate enough that she took me to market with her, and it's then that I was struck that this was really what I wanted to do.
Fast forward to 1989, I finish my degree in Journalism with an emphasis in advertising and get an internship at DDB Needham on the client relations side. After my internship, they hired me and I worked there until 1992 when my hubby and I decide to tie the knot. I moved to Santa Cruz and thought I'm going to retire... to my husband's surprise. He encouraged me to get off my a$$ and get a job, so I did and worked for another women's clothing store in Santa Cruz. I was promoted from sales to manager/ buyer and was given a monthly budget to buy jewelry and accessories. It's really fun to spend other people's money... not going to lie. Not too far into my employment, I decided I can do this! It's time to open my own business. Ha! With what and with what experience? Well that's the thing... if I hadn't been young and kind of clueless, I would have never done it. Thankfully I was, and thankfully I had a lot of very nice people to guide me. I wrote a business plan, met with industry experts, sought out how to hone the skills of bra fitting and launched in 1994. I know you're not supposed to love your business, but I do. The people I get to help every day make me excited to go to work. As my children need me less and less, I have a special place to focus on and build even more...hence, the blog and the new website. It's been 24 years and although it hasn't always been easy, it's been a great adventure one that continues to this day.
No successful business happens without a team of people. I've had many amazing people come through the store and leave a piece of their magic. However in 1999, a young lady named Jessica Murawsky entered stage right, and took the store by storm. She is a creative genius, a social marketing maven, a skilled bra fitter, and an expert in all things customer service. She does everything at 110%. For the past 19 years (with a small two year hiatus to have a beautiful daughter), she has been my right hand woman. She and I collaborate on buying decisions, event planning, web design, store decor, hiring, training, social media... you name it, and she's a part of every bit of it. Customers absolutely adore her, and often wonder if she is the store owner. I'm fortunate to have her drive and creativity behind the store.
We've always been fortunate to have great people to work for us. Our staff today is comprised of Jessica, Lorraine, Amanda, Adrienne, Lesley, Ashlyn and myself. We have people that have worked for us for years that come back for special events and holidays... most notably Debbie and Alex. Each one of these ladies add a special element to our Romantiques family. Each of them have been educated in the art of bra fitting. Some are incredible stylists, some come with years of customer service experience, and others are just getting their start and spreading their wings into this beautiful world.
One of the most exciting endeavors has been working with our interns. About five years ago we were invited to partner with one of the classes at Los Gatos High School. Each semester we have two lovely students join us and learn about what goes on behind the scenes of a local retail store. It's been such a rewarding experience to help educate a younger generation. Thanks to this program some of our interns have even joined our team after the class ended.
Well, that's us in a nutshell. We hope that you stop by the shop soon, and if you can't, we hope you enjoy our online boutique.