Recently I discovered ‘Oo La La Boutique’ situated in Barnsley Town Centre at 8, Pitt Street, just a stone throw away from the General Post Office. This pretty boutique offers the most gorgeous lingerie, swimwear & hosiery. Jan the owner invited me to find out more about her niche business.
How did ‘Oo La La’ become a reality?
‘Twelve years ago, we excitedly opened our doors on Peel Parade, we quickly built up our client base but felt we would be better located if we were situated where our customers could easily park and also being on a roadside position where we could also attract new customers, the moment we discovered our current location on Pitt Street, it ticked all the boxes and we just knew that ‘Oo La La’ would go from strength to strength. We have always listened to our loyal customers, which ensured that we weathered the ‘Recession Storm’.’
Which brands do you stock ?
‘Being an independent retailer, we like to offer our customers something more special than what they would find on the High Street, quality and fit is very important to us, we stock a number of different quality brands such as Wacoal, b.tempt’d, Lingadore, Parafait, Empreinte and Sapph. I look for items that are slightly out of the ordinary but still comfortable for everyday wear. You’ll find swimwear all year round, including bikinis and swimsuits for all ages, perfect for customers who go on holidays throughout the year, whilst also offering control wear for those little black dress occasions and we offer beautiful lingerie for brides too!’
What is your price range?
‘We have affordable collections that start from just £20, we find all our customers are individual therefore we can offer a wide price range. Throughout the year we do have end of season sales where our customers can pick up a bargain and every customer is introduced to our loyalty scheme, which is proving to be extremely popular.’
Do you offer any services in your boutique ?
‘Yes! Of course! We offer a bra fitting service, you’d be surprised how many women have been incorrectly measured on the High Street and are wearing the wrong size bra. Due to our personal one to one service that we offer, we can spend time with our customers whilst measuring them and discussing all their lingerie options, for them to make the right choice. There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing how happy a customer is, once they are wearing the right size bra, their clothes fit so much better too.
We also offer ‘Fitting & Fizz’ parties, this is hosted by us in our boutique typically on an evening, for customers to bring their friends and family to have a girly get together, whilst enjoying complimentary fizz & nibbles with a discount off all purchases on the night, this is also a great opportunity for us to meet new customers whilst listening to their needs and wants.’
What are the advantages and struggles running this type of shop ?
‘We feel that over the last twelve years we have learnt whilst growing the business, as does any new business owner, our advantage is that we are an independent retailer who can offer a personal, one to one service, spending time with our customers is important, our customers walk in as strangers and leave as friends. We regularly attend trade shows hand-picking the right collections for our customers, that we know they will love. The only struggle we have is that when new stock arrives it sells very quickly, keeping our stock levels high is a real struggle, but that’s not such a bad thing!’
Where do your customers find you, how do you market to them?
‘Well, that’s a secret, as is our success, however we do have a strong internet and social media presence, but the large majority of our customers is through recommendations, you can’t get any better advert than that!’
What are your opening times?
‘We are open Tuesday to Saturday 9am – 5pm, we can accommodate earlier opening times for our bra fitting service and of course after hours for our ‘Fitting & Fizz’ parties!’
Oo La La Boutique, Pitt Street, Barnsley, S70 1AW
Call 01226 246611