Each August in New York City, the renowned international, lingerie industry magazine, The Best of Intima, hosts an amazing penthouse gala for the who's who of the lingerie world in North America. At this prestigious event and awards ceremony, the best independent lingerie stores in North America are recognized and rewarded for their commitment and contribution to the intimate apparel community. Two hundred of some of the most influential and prominent names in the “biz” gather for cocktails and a sit-down, 3-course dinner prior to The Best of Intima Best Shop Awards presentation.
It all began early this year, when 167 stores were nominated for 2012, by representatives from the world’s most renowned intimate apparel companies. From these nominated shops, this distinguished jury then selected 33 finalists – divided among 5 categories - Concept Store, for a shop with a strong theme reflected in its décor and unique merchandise selection; European Flair, for a boutique with a continental feel and large selection of imported brands; Reference Shop, for a store with a huge, comprehensive product line-up; Personal Touch, for a retail space that reflects the individuality of the owner and has a strong emphasis on one-on-one customer service; and finally, The Best of Intima’s Choice, for the shop that wins the hearts of the editors, regardless of the jury’s votes.
Based on a secret jury ballot, the winner is then selected in each category and takes home a beautiful trophy.
Linea Intima was lucky to be among the 2011 nominees last year. We were recognized for our beautiful new stores that we opened in Hazelton Lanes, Toronto and in downtown Oakville.
This year we were among the 33 finalists, and were selected for the European Flair category! (Just like the Oscars it is an honour to be chosen as a finalist.) As a finalist you get calls from lingerie companies (suppliers as they’re refered to in the industry) competing to invite you to sit at their table during the New York City event. It is all very flattering.
The gala is a wonderful opportunity to meet and mingle with the best of your peers. Prior to the announcement of each winner, all finalists in the category are recognized – the store name and description are read out as photos are flashed on a huge screen (just like they do with the nominees at Hollywood awards shows).
I was very touched when our name, Linea Intima, was called. Many people in the audience cheered for me and for Linea Intima, so as the winner was announced in the European Flair category, needless to say, my heart was pounding! But we did not win - another beautiful store will display the well-deserved trophy.
However, as it turns out, I did actually win in a manner of speaking. About two years ago I was asked by two women who were opening a specialty lingerie store in St. John’s, Newfoundland, to consult for them on how to operate a successful lingerie business. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire process, sharing my years of experience and industry insight with them and providing them with the know how they needed to open their shop.
Well, that little shop, Le Boudoir (which has become quite a success story on the East Coast) won The Best of Intima’s Choice award! In their acceptance speech, owners Mona Winter and Nicole Wittle, were very emotional. They thanked me for being their mentor and for the contribution I made to their business. I was extremely touched and honestly could not have been happier if I’d won myself!
As for Linea Intima, there is always next year - I am an eternal optimist!