Carlie Quezada, owner of Supernatural Lingerie in Birmingham, tells SEEN how she got into the lingerie industry and why she started a shop for ‘the modern, magical woman.’ Check out the shop on the new SEEN Marketplace!
By Rachel Schostak
1. When and what inspired you to get into this business? I have been interested in lingerie for a long time. I love the transformative power it has to brighten my day, to reflect my personal style in an intimate way — even if I am required to dress on the outside in a certain way for a job, event, etc. I can wear whatever I want underneath. There are so many stylish and worldly women in our area, and I felt it was more than overdue to have a lingerie shop that reflects a sophisticated, relaxed, sensual, modern way of dressing, starting with the first thing we put on every day — underwear!
2. Most valuable lessons you’ve learned as a business owner? Patience, persistence and collaboration. When I first started I was very concerned with projecting that I knew everything. Now, I treat all of my business relationships (with vendors, customers, other merchants) like collaborations. We are all successful when we are all successful. There is a wealth of knowledge to be shared among one another when we decide work together rather than compete. I am very grateful for the generosity of time and insight of all of those who have given it, and I do my best to pay it forward and share what I’ve learned as well.
3. What does a typical day look like for you? In the morning my husband makes coffee and breakfast for me. We talk about what’s needed for the day (he does all of my design work like email newsletters, web updates and print needs), then I kiss my dog Peanut and get to the store. I make sure everything’s in order before opening — sweep, clean the windows, straighten racks, burn sage, etc. In downtime between customers, I work on orders and their logistics, marketing, writing product descriptions, etc. I try to do my social media in the morning or early afternoon. Of course, my favorite part of the day is helping women find intimates solutions that reflect their modern style and needs. To see someone owning their power and femininity is magic. In the evenings I fix dinner with my husband and we watch some cheesy TV— lately it’s “Beverly Hills 90210.” Then we lay in bed and have these really fun and inspiring strategy/business conversations, both about the store and his directorial ambitions. He is Pisces and I am Virgo, so he inspires me every day to dream big and I think I inspire him to be more organized, ha!
4. Who inspires you in the fashion/design world? I am very excited by the shift toward more ethical and sustainable production, and inspired by all of the designers and activists shepherding this movement. It’s clear that consumers are asking more questions about how and where things are made. At Supernatural, I stock only brands that run an ethical supply chain, and all of my brands are also committed minimal environmental impact and sustainability.
5. What do you love most about your role as store owner? The relationships. I love knowing the stories of the designers and how and why they make what they make, and then seeing that mission come to life on customers. It’s a beautiful thing.
6. What is the mission of Supernatural Lingerie, and how do you want customers to feel when they enter your space? I use this tag line of “lingerie for the modern, magical woman.” Being “modern and magical” means, to me, a woman who knows herself, knows her power, feels her connection to everything around her (the earth, other humans) and cares about style. The goal is to make women feel stylish, empowered, sexy on their own terms and that they are buying into a brand with integrity.
7. How does your lingerie translate from day to night? This is a great question because I feel that it really gets at the root of the store’s mission. Lingerie is so often thought to be a costume — worn as a prop for sex, or for someone else other than the wearer. I don’t think of “lingerie” as a fancy thing reserved for special occasions. I see it as an everyday necessity and treat all at once. The designer of one of my hallmark brands, Murielle Scherre of La Fille d’O, beautifully describes this connection between lingerie and self-love, gratitude and celebration of the everyday: “You look at yourself in the mirror and alchemy happens, for you feel golden and ready. …To bathe in love for self. To truly look at yourself and see. To wrap yourself like a gift and be free to receive in return. Special occasions hold magic. Our everyday lives are taking care of that garden. Watch it blossom.”
8. What are your current favorite items in the store? My everyday favorites are La Fille d’O’s Fast Girls, Quite Likeand Confetti Caveand The Great Eros Fresco High Waist Briefs, as well as Toronto-based Fortnight’s Lunarange. For more special occasion pieces I tend go for Bordelleor Fleur of England. I also just got in a strapless bra from Adina Reay that is stunning — for cup sizes over a DD (30-38 DD-G). I personally wear a 32E so this has been a lifelong personal struggle, and I’m really excited about having a great solution!
9. Are there any new products or lines that you will soon carry that really excite you? I’m happy that I’ve just started carrying German brand Opaak. They have a huge commitment to sustainability, and their designs really blur the lines between under and outerwear which I love. Soon we will have Kent Woman and Kiki de Montparnasse. Kent is an emerging brand made of organic silk in L.A., while Kiki de Montparnasse is an iconic indie brand made in NYC and Europe and named for the legendary French feminist.
10. In regard to your personal style, do you have a signature look or accessory? I generally describe my personal style as “eccentric art teacher.” I like loose, flowy things that still reflect a sexiness. Often this means I am wearing wide leg pants with a sheer top and visible bra, or a bodysuit with jeans and a cardigan. And usually lots of wacky jewelry.
11. A few items in your closet that you can’t live without? My grandmother’s jewelry, my silk wrap dress/robe, my Irish merino wool cardigan.
12. Who inspires your style? Fashion style icon? My grandmother Blanche and probably Iris Apfel.
13. What are your favorite 2018 style trends? I don’t really follow trends per se because I think they are so cyclical. Aside from a push for more ethical production and inclusive representation, I tend to focus on a more individualistic approach to style and fashion.
14. Favorite fashion, lifestyle, food or business blog? I like to check “The Sartorialist”and “Man Repeller” for outfit inspiration, but otherwise I like podcasts — particularly “Keeping Shop” and “The Witch Wave.”
15. Favorite quote or words to live by? “Love of family…and friends who wish to be with you in the same way you wish to be with them…is the most important thing.” —My Grandfather
You can stop by Supernatural at the location listed below. Follow @supernaturallingerie on Instagram for in-store events and new products!
303 E. Maple Road, Birmingham, Michigan
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