In honor of Small Business Saturday, I chatted with Rachel and Meredith about their reasons for opening Forty Winks, and their thoughts on small businesses and community.
What inspired you to open Forty Winks?
We met working at Mint Julep, a local, woman-owned clothing boutique. At work, we often bonded over our shared bra-shopping woes. We had terrible experiences shopping for lingerie! When we went to department stores, we felt overwhelmed by the myriad options and lack of help from salespeople. Walking into high-end lingerie boutiques was equally intimidating as a twenty-something woman. We heard these sentiments echoed by many of our customers at Mint Julep; and we realized that there a good local lingerie boutique was just what Harvard Square needed!
2010: Rachel gazing at what would become Forty Winks
What was your vision for Forty Winks when you opened the store?
We aimed to create a friendly, open environment and to develop a sense of community among our employees, customers, and the neighborhood. It was important to us that the boutique felt like a place we and our friends would want to shop, and also be welcoming to women older and younger than we are! We wanted to create a body-positive environment and make people of all genders feel comfortable shopping for lingerie for themselves or for gifts.
What are some ways in which Forty Winks helps to support other small business?
We are members of the Harvard Square Business Association (H.S.B.A) and Cambridge Local First which provides us with an opportunity to interact with other area business-owners. Through H.S.B.A., we participate in the “Biz-To-Biz” program, through which members of the organization provide mutual discounts to store owners and employees. This makes it easier for all of us to support other local businesses, and enables us to tell our customers about how awesome they are! We also keep H.S.B.A.’s maps of all the stores in the Square on hand, so that we can show tourists how to get to all of our favorite other small-businesses.
2014: Forty Winks in all its glory!
What do you enjoy about owning a store in Harvard Square?
Harvard square is a wonderful place to have a small boutique because the Cambridge community understands and appreciates small businesses. Our customers are loyal to the store because they appreciate the time we and our employees spend giving each customer individual attention to find bras that look and feel great. People appreciate that our selection is hand-picked and think about the care, effort, and love that goes into running the boutique! We love being a part of the Cambridge community, which has a small town feel even though it’s a large city!
Please come celebrate small business with us and enjoy a 20% discount off the entire store tomorrow, Saturday, November 29th! We are also offering a discount online through Monday, December 1st at midnight with the code “shopsmall”. To borrow the words of our neighbor, Harvard Bookstore:
Hugs, kisses, and many thanks for your support!