Tomas Walker and his wife Kellene were sitting on the beach one vacation when they decided to leave their stale jobs in corporate America for a career with a bit more flavor. The two started an online website retailing sexy lingerie, adult costumes and exotic dancewear in 2005. They named their new business, The Spice Closet.
The new business owners quickly realized that they were standing on a gold mine when they found customers were willing to drive hundreds of miles to visit their offices and try on the merchandise. In response they opened a brick and mortar store on US Route 1 in Saugus, Mass. in February of 2007.
"Once we opened the retail store we had an opportunity to invite customers to try things on and makes an experience out of their visit," said Walker. "Couples really thrive in our store and they always leave with a great memory."
Walker encourages couples to explore new avenues by trying on exotic items they may not usually pick out. The creation of such intimate memories for couples can sometimes lead to a sale of up to $1,000, said Walker.
The Walkers have picked up brands such as Delicate Illusions, Sex Symbol, Sharon Leslie and J. Valentine to cater to the exotic dancer crowd. "They have fabulous styles and each of them have plus sizes that look great on full-figured women," he said. "That said however, if it weren't for Dreamgirl, Shirley of Hollywood, Elegant Moments, Leg Avenue and Pleaser we simply wouldn't be where we are today. These brands represent the day-in and day-out bread and butter of our intimate apparel sales."
Location also plays a major role in driving sales for The Spice Closet. "Being located in US Route 1, our target customer for the Christmas season as well as Valentine's Day, are males commuting to and from the city of Boston who will stop by our store to pick up a little something for their wives and girlfriends," said Walker. During these seasons he promotes the store through radio spots on Boston's top stations for 24-55-year-old males. "Seasons aside, our store's primary clientele consist of upscale couples shopping for themselves maybe prior to going on vacation or just to "spice" things up in general, as well as dancers who work at one of the 15 or so gentleman's clubs in our area."
The Spice Closet's business is currently driven by the adventurous attitudes of modern day romantics, an evolving trend Walker has noticed since he joined the industry. "It would seem that the very definition of intimate apparel is becoming increasingly broader," he said of the increasing demand for leather chaps and French maid costumes over simple babydolls and bra sets.
The Walkers are looking to open a second retail store in the near future. With more square-footage to their name, the couple will be open to add new brands and new styles to their already extensive closet. After all, variety is the spice of life.