BerkShares Business of the Month: Great Barrington Bra & Girl
Great Barrington — “It was our ‘bottle-of wine-idea’,” says April Burch, owner, with her husband Dan Alden, of Great Barrington Bra & Girl, whose name is a cheeky play on ‘Bar & Grill.’
“When I came home from a particularly rough day at work Dan would ask me ‘OK, what would you like to do in an ideal world?’ And I always thought it would be neat to have a cute little lingerie and bra shop where women could come and we could help them be happy and embrace their bodies and have a wonderful time. So that’s sort of how Bra & Girl was born.”
The funny thing is, Burch says, what she always pictured as a “sexy little lingerie shop” turned out to be something much more practical.
“It turns out that it’s really become a reference store, by which I mean that we’re not necessarily a fashion-driven store, but we carry all of the great basics. We carry the very best selection for our clientele and we can pretty much fit any woman who walks into the store. We have something for every woman, whether she’s a yoga teacher, a gardener, or a banker.”
Yes, Burch says, the competition for a store like hers is “massive, and it’s real.” But, she says, competition makes you better.
“You basically have to out-hustle the Web experience. Yes, we have an online store. But I think that at the end of the day people come to Bra & Girl because they can have help. We are really the only place within two hundred miles where you can get the kind of service that we offer, and the kind of product that we provide. I think that’s what brings them back time after time.”
Though there are many fan-favorites that Bra & Girl will carry until the day the manufacturer stops making them, there are also new products and colors coming in each season. Burch is especially excited about some fall colors that are in, and about a more “indie line” that just came to the store, named Claudette. “We really do our research. If we’re going to bring in a new style like Claudette we make sure that it’s a really fantastic fit, that the quality of fabrication is high, the price-point isn’t too high, and that the value for our customers is there.”
She continued: “We wanted to participate in BerkShares because we believe in supporting the local economy. We are a locally owned and operated business that depends on our local ladies and gentlemen to shop throughout the year. This is our way of giving back. We like being part of something that’s really unique and something that really stimulates the economic cycle in Berkshire County.”
Of course, it helps that some of their favorite Berkshire establishments, Casablanca, The Bistro Box, and Fuel, also accept BerkShares.
Just this summer — five years since the bottle-of-wine idea took shape — Bra & Girl moved from its first home on Railroad Street to 306 Main Street, right next to T.P. Saddle Blanket. With a little perspective and a little success, Burch can now survey the field and give some advice. To potential entrepreneurs she says: “Find your niche and don’t be afraid to reach out to someone who is doing something similar to you. For example, we reached out to our friend Tony Chojnowski, who has been very successful in Lenox, to help us with our business plan. I think that most people in the Berkshires would help someone just starting out.”