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234 Water Street
621-8400
Owner: Dale Hatch
Open M-F 9A-5P Saturdays by Appt.


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LACE & LEATHER LINGERIE 
U.S. Route 9
52 River Road
Chelsea ME 04330
1-207-623-8099


Q  :  “O.K..  Lace and Leather lingerie, doing an interview, do you mind explaining, ahhh…a little bit about how your business started, back in 1996 and where it is now?”

 

A:  “In 1996 I started this because there was a bagel shop, a gas station or a church on every corner.  I wanted to do something different.  I had been working for the state, for about 20 years or so.  I wanted to do something where I didn't have to get up early in the morning because I am not an "early bird."  At that point, I had  been married for over 20 years and occasionally my spouse brought me home lingerie.  I liked it but there were no stores in this area.  The clesest one was in Waterville.  It closed in July and I opened in September.  I went to the SCORE people looking for information and perhaps some mentoring.  The gentlemen I met with were, to my thinking, elderly.  They told me that it was a bad idea.  I tried again a few months later, with the same results.  They said:  'no, no, no, NO.'"

 

Q:  “How could they say it wasn’t a good idea?”

 

A:  “My perception was that they were of an age where intimacy might not have still been part of their lives.  Any way, I decided that I would do this anyway.  I went to Boston several times and purchased lingerie.  I have a small home, then crowed with lingerie.  I was aware lingerie in small spaces could have an overwhelming scent.  I learned quickly that I needed a storefront which was found on Western Avenue.  

 

Q:  “Ahhhhhhh!”

 

A:  “That a good thing.  I opened and had a lot of customers coming in.  they advised they liked what I offered and made suggestions of other things to complement the stock.  That is why I carry restraints, lotions, garter belts, men's thongs, etc..  As the years have progressed, people are still advising me of things I should carry.  I carry a lot of different sizes from extra small to 5X.  I don't have every size in every color, but I do have a large selection.  the inside of the store is approximately 30 by 30.  People come in and say: 'Wow!  Look at that!'  When you come inside, I ask you, 'Have you been in before?'  I say it every time you come in, because, I don't recognize people quickly.  I also say, 'What you buy is your business.'  I will help you find something that makes you happy.  I have satins, laces, some silk.  I have bootie shorts, short skirts, nighties, babydolls, bra/garter sets, bustiers, corsets, long gowns, stockings, body stockings, some costumes, a little of this, a little of that."  

 

Q:  “Is there like a size, by dress size?”

 

A:  “No, I don’t do anything by dress sizes, because, every maker is not consistent.  If I have the bra size and cup size like a 42 D, I can direct you to a rack where you are probably going to find what you want.  The bra size is more consistent than dress size.  If you are a guy, I will tell you to go home and do your homework."


 Q:  “O.k., my next question is, have you seen business improve since you moved down here to Chelsea?”

 

A:  “Not one of my customers has been hit in the rear of their car trying to get into the parking lot here.  Unfortunately, that happened several times on Western Ave.  When the economy is good, I have more customers.  This location can be busy.  We've been around a long time.  This isn't bread, milk and gas.  This is keeping your relationship fresh.  People come to the store for birthday gifts, anniversaries, bridal shower gifts, and 'just because.'  People really need to take care of themselves.  Your Mom and Dad or the kids aren't going to get you something.  You need to do it for you and your mate.  If you and your mate feel good, then what you purchase will make the other partner feel good and use it often."

 

Q:  “Alright, well how about those oils and stuff right next to them?”

 

A:  “There are different massage oils, lotions, and lubricants.  We also carry board games, because, they fit everyone.  Things have changed in this business since we started.  Leather lingerie was very popular, not so much now.  Candles were something many people came in for.  Now we have a lot of people looking for corsets, babydolls, short chemises, garter belts, and stockings.  I carry a large selection of styles, colors, and sizes, but not all the same.  Many of our suppliers have gone out of business.  It is difficult to find long gowns with cover-ups which are call peignoir sets.  We order from many companies.  Some of them send us their catalogs, we order and they are out of stock already."

 

Q:  “Wow!”

 

A:  “Unfortunately the internet hurts small businesses that have merchandise on hand, where you can see the colors, sizes, fabrics and styles."

 


Q:  “So, your prices seem reasonable.”

 

A:  “The prices are, you know, you get what you pay for.  Somethings are less expensive and others are more.  We carry a little of this and a little of that.  We carry mens thongs.  We carry whips, feathers, lotions and restraints.  There's lot of stuff.  People come in for birthdays, anniversaries, of 'Just because.'

 

Q:  “Do you guys sell gift certificates?”

 

A:  “Yes, of course.  People can come and see what’s here and decide how much they want to spend on the certificate.  Maybe only a few dollars or whatever. 

 

Q:  “Right.”

 

A:  “We are one mile past from the Hospital street Rite Aid, on the left heading towards Randolph.”

 

Q:  “Ah, hosiery.  Do you want to talk about the variety?”

 

A:  “We have stockings, stockings that need a garter belt, body stockings, panty hose, etc..   Most come in  one size or queen.   if you are a  ‘3 X,’ or healthier, they might not fit.  They come in different colors, some are fish net, some with patterns.  I have a little of this and a little of that. 

     We have a lot of people come in the store from any different lifestyles.  I try to be helpful and will ask questions to assist you in making your purchases.  There is a dressing room so people can try on the lingerie.  There is no reason to buy something that doesn't fit.  But, stocking and body stockings can not be tried on nor returned.  I will exchange items that have not been worn, but I do not give cash refunds."


Q:  "You try."


 A:  “I try, I really do!.  That’s all I can do.”