LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Friday morning a new store opened at the Paddock Shops - Soft Surroundings. You may have seen a line before it opened. That's because they gave a gift bag to the first 100 people in the store.
Soft Surroundings was founded in 1999 as a catalog retailer and sells clothes, bedding, home décor and cosmetics. This is the 47th store for the St. Louis based retailer.
Here are my five questions with, Jim Manno, the public relations manager for Soft Surroundings.
1) What's the story behind Soft Surroundings?
So many women put everyone and everything on their "to do" lists before taking care of themselves. Spouse, children, job and more all prevent her from ever putting herself first. Our founder, Robin Sheldon, recognized this and was inspired to do something about it – which led to the creation of Soft Surroundings in 1999.
Soft Surroundings is the place where we want to encourage her to put herself first. Everything from the softness of all of our apparel, to the comfort of our bedding ensembles, to amazing skin care, cosmetics and well-being products – even home décor and furniture – has all been designed with this in mind. Our philosophy is that no matter how busy she is, or what her responsibilities in life are, if we can help her put herself first, she will be in a position to take better care of friends, family and community, and live a happier, more fulfilling life.
2) What's the expansion plan?
We have plans to open 12 more in 2017.
3) Why did you choose Louisville as a city to target?
We have so many long-time, loyal Soft Surroundings customers already in the Louisville area who have shopped with us online or through our catalog. Because of that, we've wanted to open a Soft Surroundings store there for quite some time, it was just a matter of finding the right location - which we feel we've found at Paddock Shops.
4) For your grand openings, you say people line up to get in? Why is that?
When we open a store in a new city, it is quite often the first time one of our customers have had a chance to shop with us in a retail store setting. They're used to shopping online or through the catalog. So the opportunity to touch and feel our bedding, try on our clothing, sample our skin care or cosmetics - it's really special to these customers. To hear them say that walking into our store for the first time is like "stepping into the pages of our catalog" is really gratifying. Additionally, we offer special gift bags for the first 100 people in line, which is certainly something worth standing in line for!
5) In this day it's hard for many stores to compete with online sales. How does that impact Soft Surroundings business?
It's interesting because we have found our store and online sales to complement each other. We have products that are exclusively in the store, and products that are exclusively on our website. We try to create a very distinct shopping experience for our customers, regardless which method she chooses to shop with us, and each of these experiences offer something that the others don't. Being a full lifestyle brand, customers are able to get a wider selection of furniture and home décor online than we have the space to accommodate in-store, yet in-store offers customers the opportunity to try on the clothing, or sample beauty products, something you can't accomplish online.