Friday, March 20, 2015

• Better Know a Wildomar Business: Hope's Chest

In my series Better Know a Wildomar Business, I recently visited Hope's Chest located in the Stater Bother's shopping center.
The first thing that I noticed when approaching the store is that it's very clean. From the windows to the floors, to the displays and the front counter... very tidy. That tells me that the owner cares about the details.

Ok, to be honest, this was sort of a challenging blog, because I'm a guy, and the topic is a store that specializes in lady's under garments. Let's see how well I do here.

I had a chance to meet up with Hope Suhr (pronounced like "sir") and asked her a handful of questions.
Hope Suhr
 WR  I always like to ask, "How did you choose Wildomar?"
 HS  My husband and I had been looking for about two and a half years for a location. We knew we wanted to be seen from the freeway, with easy access. We have people that come from all over the world and the United States, and it can be difficult to find if you're not easily located. [This location] just fit the criteria, and the demographics... we've got Bear Creek and La Cresta, this area is growing. We did some research and we saw that this area [is ready to take off]. I call it The Volcanic. It's like it's shaken, and it's getting ready to just go [click for her sound effect for kapow]. We took a look at a lot of things and this seemed to be a good fit for us.

 WR  Is there a special significance to the name "Hope's Chest"?
 HS  Quick little story there. I'm a Christian, and this is a Christian based company... my girlfriend called me up and said, "I was praying for you last night, and I was told to give you a call, and I wanted to finish my prayer...  and God kept saying 'give her a call'... I'm praying for everything in Hope's Chest."  

She told me that story, and I had been just trying to figure out the name of the company that I was going to launch. I told her, "That's the name." 
She said, "What's the name?"
I said, "The name of my company is called Hope's Chest."
She asked, "When did you call it that?"
I said, "Just now."

Not only that, it is hope. We sell breast cancer forms. We want to give women hope. 

Have to love the saying on the plaque to the left, "Anything that makes you giggle, smile or laugh : Buy it or Marry it!"
 WR  How did you choose this type of business?
 HS  Many, many years ago I went to a bra fitter back east. I thought to myself, "Why isn't there something like this out here?" 
[At the time] I was working for the federal government, and I did some research. I spent three and a half years studying the entire industry. I knew that I needed to do this for women out here... because women are in the wrong size bra. 85% of women are in the wrong size bra. I shared my bachelors in bra fitting. Some people say "A bra is a bra is a bra is a bra" that's not true. So I started because I have my own needs. I needed to bring this out to help women. So that's why.

One of the many hand crafted decorations in the store.

 WR  What made you take Hope's Chest from idea to reality?
 HS  After studying the industry for three years and a half years, and going to libraries and book stores, and talking to industry specialists. I knew I needed to find the right manufacturers to represent what I was looking for. While keeping my federal government job during the day, at night I had a lot of free time and I just said, "You know what, let's launch this thing."  I launched it and did it out of my home. Then I got laid off from my day job so my husband said, "I guess the next thing we need to is a brick and mortar" and that's what I did. Opened up our first location in Canyon Lake. A little teeny location, and we busted out of there. [said with a smile]

 WR  So are there two locations or did you relocate here?
 HS  One location.

 WR  Tell me about the different things that Hope's Chest has to offer.
 HS  We sell breast forms for breast cancer survivors... a prosthesis; whether they have a mastectomy or a double mastectomy. Pocket bras for breast cancer survivors and the breast forms. Swimsuits for breast forms as well. 

We also sell bra sized swimsuits for the everyday woman. A cup to K cup bras. From a 28" band all the way up to a 44" band. We have two warehouses full of bras, so we have thousands of bras. We do the bra shopping for them. We also carry clothes and jewelry and gifts.

 WR  Where would you rank your prices compared to others?
 HS  Average. You're paying for good quality stuff here. The majority of our stuff is from Europe. We deal with twenty-three manufacturers, though we've narrowed it down to the ones we really like and that work well on women'd figures. Our prices are average for a boutique. 

 WR  Being a male, I've always assumed that when a woman needs a new bra, she would simply go to a store and pick one out based on the numbers and the color she wanted. Can you describe what your slogan, "A unique bra fitting experience" means?
 HS  "Unique bra fitting experience" is where we go in and we spend time measuring and getting the fit for each woman, because every woman is different. That's why 85% of women are in the wrong size bra. Men can go shopping and toss a package of underwear in their cart... small, medium, large, extra large... well that's not the case for women.

Women have a tendency of thinking that they're a different size, and they come in and they are completely transformed. For instance, we had a girl that worked at Victoria Secret. She came in and said she was a 38 Double D. She was tiny (her frame) though she was well endowed, but she was pretty lean. She left my store a 34H. Huge difference. Now she doesn't have tingling down her arms, numbing in her fingers; her neck and back are feeling great. 

 WR  If a husband would like to get a gift for his wife, what kind of info should he know about her?
 HS  Here's the best suggestion. Go through her drawer, take a look at her bras if she's shopped here —we'll have her in the database. If she hasn't, just get her size and bring it to us. 
Let me interrupt here
While playing back the conversation, I could see that if you're a guy that might be thinking of buying a gift for your lady, and it has to do with her top half, you'd be better off getting a gift certificate for her. We're guys, and though Hope showed me the men's area, complete with sports and car magazines, you know you'd rather just let her take care of this shopping experience without you in tow.
Back to the interview
 HS  That doesn't mean it's going to fit properly. Who knows what her figure is like. There are over thirty styles of bras and they don't all fit onto every woman. Some women can't wear a demi-cup, or a plunge, or a racer back... that's just to name a few. Every bra is so different, every woman is so uniquely different and that's why it's important to come and get fitted by a chestologist.

 WR  Anything I may have not thought of to ask?
 HS  We have great swimsuits. Our swimsuit line is huge for us because women have such a hard time finding swimsuits that makes them feel like they're not going to fall out when they go to dive in the water. We also have retro swimsuits that we just launched.

Had to love the sense of humor in this decoration made by Hope's husband. 
The store has a footprint of about 1500sf with six changing rooms that were designed by Hope's husband. They take appointments, and it can be a short turn around from ten to twenty minutes.

I enjoyed my chat with Hope, even if I felt a bit like how I imagine the average woman might feel while around a bunch of guys that are watching football.

I did learn a lot, as I researched the new terms I learned. Grace, pay no attention to the images that are in the browser history. It was research... honest! ☺

Here is the contact info for Hope's Chest.
Phone: (951) 678-BRAS (2727)
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A good friend is like a good bra, hard to find, very comfortable, supportive and always close to the heart. 

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