Store of the month: Birger Jarls Under
Birger Jarls Under is located on Birger Jarlsgatan in Stockholm and online with their own webshop have over 25 years of experience in helping customers find perfect underwear for different occasions from their carefully selected range from around the world. We took the opportunity to ask Theodora Chahine some questions:
Tell us about Birger Jarls Under! What do you offer your customers?
“We are a lingerie store that also offers a large selection of swimwear during spring and summer. Based on long experience and expertise and a passion for the most beautiful lingerie in the best quality, we offer a carefully selected and unique product range. You will find Aubade, Andres Sarda, Marie Jo, Primadonna and Wolford in our range and lingerie for all occasions – work, everyday and festive occasions – from functional underwear to the most sensual in sheer lace.
In a small store like ours, I have the advantage and strength of having control over the entire chain, from the selection of partners, the purchasing phase, to matching the customer with the right garment. I dare to promise that every day “miracles are created at Birger Jarls Under“. It gives such a joy to find the perfect match and see the happy, satisfied, proud customers leave the store. I am passionate about creating great and long-term customer relationships, to be able to achieve this requires that the customer feels safe, our commitment and customer focus when they visit our store.
My recipe for creating great customer relationships is to meet the customer with solid experience and expertise, a warm heart that radiates love, sensitivity where we carefully listen and read the customer’s needs and not least that we give the customer our full attention from the moment they step into the store and we meet them with a smile. To take a little extra care of our customers, we have made luxurious fitting rooms where the customer can choose between different lighting options. We also offer appreciated bra tests outside regular opening hours, where the customer can have the store to themselves.
Good relations are also something I care about with my suppliers, the agencies. By quickly give feedback and follow-up on sales, as well as by making them visible in my posts on social media, I have established nice and for me very valuable relationships.”
Tell us about your collaborations with influencers! We see that Isabella Löwengrip and Molly Sandén are customers?
“We are proud to have a large breadth in our clientele, including major artists and influencers. For these, it can be extra important with the right underwear for them to feel comfortable in the media and during performances. For influencers and artists, it is important to be able to feel safe and well-groomed while at the same time gaining the best expertise when trying on underwear I think – which we strive to give all our customers.”
And if you are getting married, what service do you provide?
“I usually say that regardless of context, it is extremely important that everything feels right from underneath, it shines/reflects all the way through. A wedding dress wants and should be allowed to take place and be seen, then it is important to complement it with the right underwear, for example a seamless bra or a bra without shoulder straps and with a deep back. The underwear must not chafe or feel uncomfortable. My motto is “if you have the right size and fit, you should not feel your underwear.” For our future brides, we have the most beautiful lace from Switzerland as well as the finest silk linen camisoles, as well as kits specially selected for the bride and her bridesmaids.”
What is the most fun thing about running a store?
“The most fun is all the fantastic customer meetings. The joy we get from helping the customer find the right underwear for different contexts and occasions. Many women can be a little anxious to try on underwear or swimwear. We meet and capture this feeling of inadequacy and insecurity with expertise and warmth and help to highlight the most beautiful on the woman’s body so when they leave the store, they feel beautiful and happy, we turn the anxiety into joy!”
What is the main challenge of running a store today and how do you do to overcome it?
“We compete with e-commerce, which takes market shares. However, we see great advantages in having a physical store, which we have chosen to supplement with a webshop. In the physical meeting or via online consultation, we identify which garments best suit the customer’s body shape and wishes. Online, the selection is too large, each body is unique and it requires extensive research from the customer’s side to find the right products. The store has already made the fine selection, thus saving the customer both time and money. The experience you can give the customer in a store is unbeatable. We also keep a customer record where we document the customer’s purchases and size, in this way we know what the customer has bought before and what they need to complement that.”
What do you think the store of the future will look like?
“I think it is important that the store is visible on social media and that a store has an attractive website. The customer wants to be able to read up before the visit, they should also be able to complement visits with orders via the webshop. Then it is important that you convey the same feeling in both the physical store as online.
I think we will see more of open, airy surfaces. The pandemic has taught us to keep some distance from each other. Sustainability will also remain in focus in the form of high demand for timeless clothes in high quality that have a long life among other things, and that the stores will keep smaller stocks. The customer comes to the store for advice and testings and then we order the customer’s chosen products. In this way, it is important to work with suppliers who can keep a short delivery time and a B2B platform.
E-commerce is likely to continue to flourish. At the same time, there will always be a need for the physical store. Initially, I think we will see a boom as customers are vaccinated, as there is a subdued need for physical meetings and to get specialist help to update the wardrobe with new wonders.
Collaborations with companies with different cutting-edge expertise to be able to offer the customer a complementary service. For example, we have already started a collaboration with Sarah Nordström, who is the founder of Stilbyrån. We see this as a rewarding collaboration where their role is to help their customers build a sustainable wardrobe that harmonizes with the client’s style and values. The foundation of a good wardrobe starts underneath the clothes! Our store is in a growth phase and in order to be able to grow and develop as I wish, both in the physical store and digitally, I have chosen to enlist the help of a business developer.”