Russian Pointe® Retailer: Live Love Dancewear
Janet Nacario knew that when she opened Live Love Dancewear in September 2011, she was going to have to figure out how to differentiate her store from the rest.
Although she carries leotards, tutus, ballet slippers and other items found in most dancewear stores, she wanted to carry some products that would help her store stand out. “We’re just trying to hit those niche markets,” she says.
One of her first goals was to become the go-to store for hip-hop clothes ― a growing trend in her town of Port Coquitlam, a suburb of Vancouver, BC. She hired a local hip-hop teacher to head the Urban Wear division, and she stocked up on popular lines of hip-hop clothes like Chachai Momma, Sugar & Bruno, and Urban Empire.
She also made a point of carrying a wide array of gymnastics gear, since there are several popular gymnastics centers nearby. She now stocks more than 100 bodysuits at a time, rather than 20 or 30 gymnastics suits that other dancewear stores often have on hand.
But there was one key specialty item Nacario didn’t carry: pointe shoes.
Although many customers asked when Live Love Dancewear would start carrying pointe shoes, Nacario says she was hesitant to sell them because she didn’t have any formal fitting experience.
Still, customers kept requesting pointe shoes, specifically ones from Russian Pointe®. “We did have a few families come in and say they drive south to the States and buy three to four pairs (of Russian Pointe®s) at a time,” she says.
If people were willing to drive two and a half hours to Seattle and pay more due to the exchange rate just to get Russian Pointe® shoes, she knew they would be a good brand for her store to carry, as well.
In January, Nacario ordered her first shipment of Russian Pointe® shoes, starting with four styles, and at the end of the month, Russian Pointe® Fitting Specialist Courtney May visited Live Love Dancewear to give their staff a thorough training session and offer a trunk show for customers.
“I’m very pleased with how it went,” Nacario says of the training, adding that May explained the nuances of each type of Russian Pointe® model and had the staff practice by fitting each other. Then, once they were comfortable, they began fitting actual customers, starting with her two daughters, ages 12 and 14.
“It was a little intimidating and a little confusing… but the fitting process wasn’t as hard as we thought,” she says.
Nacario says many dancers in her area currently wear Bloch pointe shoes, but she thinks she’ll be able to convert many of them to loyal Russian Pointe® customers.
“They feel better, they fit better and they’re a prettier shade of pink (than Blochs),” Nacario says. “Even during and after our trunk show, we’ve been hearing people say what a beautiful shoe they are.”