Natalie Torres Of Lingerie Republique On How To Create A Fantastic Retail Experience That Keeps Bringing Customers Back For More

Exceptional Customer Service: Exceptional customer service is crucial for a fantastic retail experience. This includes friendly and knowledgeable staff who are attentive to customers’ needs, offer assistance, and provide a personalized shopping experience.

As a part of our series about “How To Create A Fantastic Retail Experience That Keeps Bringing Customers Back For More”, we had the pleasure of interviewing Natalie Torres.

Natalie Torres, CEO and founder of Lingerie République started her journey as a Bra Fitter in 2006, when her mother opened a very special Lingerie boutique offering the best service of bra fittings & European lingerie. Natalie fell in love with the science of what creates the perfect fit, and quickly became a trusted expert in her field. Soon after, Natalie opened her first location in the affluent neighborhood of Downtown Palo Alto.

As of April 10, 2024 — Lingerie République is excited to announce we are moving! Town & Country Village has welcomed us as their newest addition to their prestigious outdoor mall amongst some of the most reputable retailers, restaurants and cafes. Our new store location will open May 2024.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

I knew that I was ambitious from a young age and understood that hard work pays off. My interest in becoming a leader in management began in my teenage years. It wasn’t always well received due to my age, but I didn’t let that stop me. If anything, it made me strive toward success even more. After years of working and honing my skills in a variety of industries, and growing in every area of my life, I fell into the retail world. It was my first and only retail job, in women’s fine lingerie. It was my mother’s business, and she needed help, someone she could trust. What I thought would be a quick summer job ended up becoming a passion for me and the most rewarding work of my career. I discovered that my talent for bra fittings, combined with my compassion for women who have struggled to find the support and comfort they need in such a crucial aspect of their wardrobe, was a life-changing awakening. I found my purpose.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?

There are many interesting stories to tell… I’ll just say that in the lingerie industry, being discreet is key. I was not aware of this at the start, and I learned the hard way. It was a humbling experience!

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

There are definitely a handful of people who have paved the way for me. Both of my parents immigrated from the middle east to the United States when they were young adults. Hard work and determination were the examples my parents set for me while growing up. They showed me that if they could do it as immigrants, then surely, I could do it. Aside from watching and learning from my parents, I also had the benefit of learning from my older siblings. My brother Richard and sister Ofra were hardworking and determined like my parents and I looked up to them. They always made sure to encourage good work ethic, focus and determination and frequently took it upon themselves to guide me as I transitioned from being a student to entering the workforce. It was something I admired, and of course, I always wanted to be just like them. Making them proud was always in the cards.

Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

The Alchemist is a wonderful story. It promotes the idea that all individuals should live in the singular pursuit of their individual dreams, amongst other valuable life lessons.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

We are all about customer satisfaction and providing a memorable experience at Lingerie Republique. We tailor our services around the customer and focus on offering the most streamlined shopping experience you will ever have. We make the painful idea of bra shopping into something that feels more important than just bra shopping. It’s simply an experience to be proud of and I am proud to offer this service.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

It’s inevitable to feel burnt out when putting your heart and soul into what you love. My current advice for myself and for others is to make time to rest and most importantly, make time to “not work” even though it’s hard to do when building a brand. Balance is key!

Ok super. Now let’s jump to the main questions of our interview. The so-called “Retail Apocalypse” has been going on for about a decade. The Pandemic only made things much worse for retailers in general. While many retailers are struggling, some retailers, like Lululemon, Kroger, and Costco are quite profitable. Can you share a few lessons that other retailers can learn from the success of profitable retailers?

Successful retailers like Lululemon, Kroger, and Costco prioritize understanding their customers’ needs and preferences. They invest in creating personalized experiences, building strong customer relationships, and offering high-quality products that resonate with their target audience. This is the same approach I have taken in building my business. Lingerie Republique personalizes the customer experience by offering the “best in the biz” customized bra fittings. We build strong customer relationships by keeping in touch with our customers and by knowing what each individual customer frequently shops for, how frequently they shop and what concerns and preferences they may have. We provide high- quality products that are not available at most of the competing boutiques and make sure to keep detailed notes on which types of styles and products resonate with each of our customers.

What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start a retail business? What can be done to avoid those errors?

Starting a retail business can be an exciting and challenging endeavor for CEOs and founders. However, the road to success is not without its pitfalls. One of the mistakes I have seen CEO’s and founders make is failing to conduct thorough market research. This can lead to poor product selection, pricing strategies, and marketing efforts. To avoid this error, retailers should invest time in understanding their target audience, competitors, market trends, and consumer behavior. This information can be obtained through surveys, focus groups, industry reports, and online resources. Another mistake I have seen CEO’s and founders make is failing to provide excellent customer service. It is essential for building brand loyalty and repeat business. Retailers should invest in training their staff to handle customer inquiries professionally and efficiently while also providing personalized attention when possible. Additionally, they should establish clear communication channels for customers to provide feedback or report issues with products or services.

This might be intuitive, but I think it’s helpful to specifically articulate it. In your words, can you share a few reasons why great customer service and a great customer experience is essential for success in business in general and for retail in particular?

Great customer service and a positive customer experience are crucial for business success, particularly in retail, as they contribute significantly to customer satisfaction and loyalty. Satisfied customers are more likely to make repeat purchases, recommend the business to others, and provide valuable feedback that can help improve products or services. Poor customer service can lead to negative word-of-mouth, lost sales, and damage to a company’s reputation. In today’s highly competitive retail marketplace, excellent customer service sets businesses apart from their competitors. Providing personalized attention, timely responses to inquiries or complaints, and going the extra mile to meet customers’ needs can create a memorable shopping experience that keeps customers coming back. This is essential for businesses looking to attract and retain customers in an increasingly crowded market. Lastly, consumer expectations for exceptional customer experiences continue to evolve with advancements in technology and changing shopping habits. Retailers that prioritize great customer service not only meet but exceed these expectations by offering convenient shopping experiences (both online and offline), seamless transactions, and personalized interactions.

We have all had times either in a store, or online, when we’ve had a very poor experience as a customer or user. If the importance of a good customer experience is so intuitive, and apparent, where is the disconnect? How is it that so many companies do not make this a priority?

The disconnect between the intuitive understanding of the importance of a good customer experience and the failure of many companies to prioritize it can be attributed to prioritizing short-term gains over long-term customer satisfaction. This often leads them to cut corners or overlook investments in customer experience, as the benefits may not be immediately apparent on the balance sheet. Also, some companies that do not have a strong customer-centric culture may struggle to prioritize customer experience. When decision-makers are disconnected from the day-to-day interactions with customers, they may not fully grasp the impact of poor experiences on retention and brand loyalty.

Can you share with us a story from your experience about a customer who was “Wowed” by the experience you provided?

I’ve been very lucky to have had many of those moments and have shared some of the most important moments of our customers’ lives with them. The idea is to provide personalized, discreet services and hopefully make what can be an intimidating process into a beautiful and life-changing experience. I have always appreciated my work, and the many types of situations I have been able to contribute my expertise to. My first time working with a cancer survivor, who underwent a double mastectomy came in for guidance and options. She wanted to feel beautiful for her husband but couldn’t find the beauty in any part of her new body. She was scared, embarrassed and didn’t believe there was a solution. I remember standing in the fitting room with her and sharing a silent moment after listening to her concerns, followed by a warm smile and absolute reassurance that she wouldn’t leave my fitting room until she got what she needed and wanted. She heard me loud and clear, gave me a giant smile and off I went to bring her a bevy of options that I knew would be soft, comfortable, flattering and most importantly, make her feel beautiful. Turning a tender and vulnerable moment into the experience she deserved was my priority. She left the store a very happy customer, and a lifelong friend.

Did that “Wow! Experience” have any long-term ripple effects? Can you share the story?

Absolutely! These types of fittings are the core of my business. First bras for young adults, final stage bras for the elder, plus size fittings, pre- and post-surgical fittings… They are all wildly important. Once a client can see the difference my fittings and bra recommendations can make, they are always looking forward to sharing the experience and spreading the word! I have the best clients in the world!

A fantastic retail experience isn’t just one specific thing. It can be a composite of many different subtle elements fused together. Can you help us break down and identify the different ingredients that come together to create a “fantastic retail experience”?

The key ingredients for a fantastic retail experience are as follows: Exceptional customer service, product quality, product availability, personalization, and consistency. All these key ingredients are crucial to creating a fantastic retail experience that will keep your customers coming back again and again.

Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to create a fantastic retail experience that keeps bringing customers back for more?

1. Exceptional Customer Service: Exceptional customer service is crucial for a fantastic retail experience. This includes friendly and knowledgeable staff who are attentive to customers’ needs, offer assistance, and provide a personalized shopping experience.

2. Product Quality: Offering high quality products that meet or exceed customer expectations is essential for creating a positive perception of the retail brand.

3. Product Availability: Ensuring that products are readily available when customers need them is key to preventing frustration and enhancing the overall shopping experience.

4. Personalization: Tailoring the shopping experience to individual customer preferences through personalized recommendations, promotions, or loyalty programs can create a sense of connection and loyalty. In our case, customized bra fittings are a huge hit and the driving force of the boutique.

5. Consistency: Consistency in delivering high quality service, products, and experiences across all touchpoints — whether in-store, online, or through customer service channels — is essential for building trust and loyalty with customers.

Thank you for all of that. We are nearly done. Here is our final ‘meaty’ question. You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

Since I work in the retail industry, I am passionate about changes that can benefit this industry and in turn benefit large numbers of people including consumers, workers, communities and future generations worldwide. In the retail industry, a movement that could bring significant positive impact to a large number of people would be one focused on promoting sustainable and ethical practices. This movement would aim to transform the way businesses operate within the retail sector, emphasizing environmental responsibility and fair labor practices. The retail industry is known for its significant environmental footprint, including high energy consumption, excessive waste generation, and unsustainable sourcing practices. This movement would advocate for sustainable sourcing of materials, reduced carbon emissions, waste reduction and recycling initiatives, and fair treatment of workers along the entire supply chain. By spearheading a sustainable retail movement that prioritizes ethical practices and environmental stewardship, we can create a more responsible industry that benefits not only individuals but also society as a whole.

How can our readers further follow your work?

By visiting the store or signing up for up for email updates on our website at

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!

Source: Authority Magazine Editorial Staff - Jun 27, 2024