So, tell us about your boutique!
The Rack Shack is based in Bushwick, Brooklyn, an upcoming and artsy neighborhood in New York. We sell flirty lingerie for a very broad cupsize range (28A - 38HH) and funky lady sneakers. Sexiness and comfort are very important for modern women. The Rack Shack understands that New Yorkers have busy lives where they need to walk miles, have multiple jobs and still look presentable at all times. The perfect pair of sneakers and the right fitting lingerie can make the most basic outfit look funky, sexy and chic. Where other specialty lingerie boutiques have a lot of beige bra’s for the bigger cups, The Rack Shack looks for styles that are as attractive as possible; from young and girly to seductive and edgy.
How did you get into selling lingerie initially?
It started a long time ago in Amsterdam when I was 14 years old, I already had a 34G cup. I am from the Netherlands, born in Rockville, Maryland but moved back to The Netherlands with my family when I was 6 months old, so I have dual citizenship.
In the town I grew up in, a small suburb of Amsterdam, there was one specialty lingerie shop and if I was lucky they would maybe have one really ugly bra in my size. I always left the store with an ugly bra and a body image complex. The older ladies that worked in the store had no idea how to talk to an insecure teenage girl.
When I moved from Laren, the small town, to the bigger city of Amsterdam there where a lot more choices. My first Freya bra changed my life! The fit and the design were appropriate for a young girl and gave me confidence. It made me walk straight and proud.
Four years ago I moved to New York, a city of diverse women and the city that has everything. I was so excited because I thought that the bra choices would be endless, but instead I discovered that the collection of brick and mortar lingerie stores for bustier women is still very small, even in such a worldly city. Don’t get me wrong. You have lovely boutiques in New York, but I was still missing fashionable lingerie above a G-cup, even though I knew the brands that make them, where out there. I always wanted my own business, and I decided that a Lingerie boutique was what it was going to be. I wanted to create an environment where everybody would feel welcome and comfortable. A fashionable store where normally only women with a cup size A-D can shop. The Rack Shack was going to be just as fashion forward but with lingerie for a much broader cup size range.
I added sneakers to the concept to give it a unique feel. Lingerie and Sneakers are both very important foundations in a city like New York and especially in an artsy neighborhood like Bushwick, Brooklyn. The neighborhood is full of artists and a lot of young people that have multiple jobs like working in a restaurant, bar or store where they have to be on their feet all the time, on top of their creative and enterprising endeavors.
What’s a normal day in the boutique like for you?
I am a one woman boutique and I bartend at night. A normal day in the boutique contains of course helping people finding good bra's, fittings, cleaning, sorting out lingerie, answering emails posting on social media, finding new ways to get the word out, organizing events with other female entrepreneurs and local designers, hanging with girlfriends and regular customers from the bar that come in to check out the store. Our opening hours are from noon-21u (9pm).
Do you have any special customers or experiences?
Most of my customers are from the neighborhood. I have some burlesque dancers that come and check out what I have new in stock every other week. I would like to have more lingerie in stock that connects with the LGBT community. I have some, but I would like to broaden that selection. I know that there are some lingerie boutiques that are not transfriendly and I want The Rack Shack to be a place where everybody feels welcome, beautiful and comfortable. I know that I haven't felt like that in the past, just because my boobs where big. I have a transneutural costumer and it has meant so much for them that they can shop in a place without any judgement. That is why I opened this store and why I love it. We are in the business of making people feel good about themselves.
What are your personal favourite lingerie styles that you’re drawn to?
I love Playful Promises loungewear. The teddies are great and I love the Anna Sequin Cape and Suspender Belt. Super excited for
Emily Embroidered 1920s Chemise and Gown to come in. I am a big fan of seductive but playful lingerie, fun colors and prints and not to serious.
You can visit The Rack Shack at 155 Central Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11221