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21 August 2008 @ 04:36 am
UK newcomer: Leia Lingerie  
During my UK odyssey, I went to a new bra store outside of London, in Richmond, Surrey (tube stop: Richmond, on the District Line). Leia Lingerie is a storefront of Eveden brands, which stocks several of Eveden's larger-cup bra lines like Fantasie, Freya and Elomi.

Freya and Fantasie are the mainstays of the store's stock, and I tried on a couple of Freya bathing suits, but there wasn't really anything there that grabbed me bra-wise. The store was pretty small, and instead of having things out on racks, they had most of the stock in drawers. Only the bathing suits were out on racks. I found this set-up to be a bit harder to deal with-- indeed, the saleslady was constantly hovering over me, asking again and again if I needed any help, I presume because she didn't want me rooting around in the drawers to find my size. Though I hadn't even made a move to look in the drawers and she was all over me already the moment I walked in. I appreciate attentive salespeople, but there's a line between attentive and annoying/aggressive.

This store lost points for me because it was pretty hard to navigate and because of the aforementioned pushy saleslady. Plus, two things happened that were major "UGHs" for me. First, when they didn't have my size in the bikini I was interested in, the saleslady immediately offered me a band size up and a cup size down. I politely declined, resisting the urge to say "No, that's not my size. I don't need to travel across the ocean, and pay full price in a currency worth twice the dollar for stuff in the wrong size." And secondly, when I asked if they had any balconettes with a 2-section cup, or vertical seams, in my size (there were a few on display but they only seemed to go up to DD), she immediately told me that no bras came in that style in the larger cup sizes because it "just wouldn't work." I pointed out Panache and Kalyani both made bras in that style that went up to a G cup and even above, and to her credit, she agreed and changed her tune. But it was still rather frustrating.

Overall, I was under-impressed by Leia. Their prices are quite high for the level of service/shopping experience offered, and they don't have any exclusives that would draw you to buy from them specifically. If you're a big fan of Freya or Fantasie, you might want to check it out if you're in the area, but honestly, I think Bravissimo carries more in those brands, at the same or lower prices. Leia struck me as sort of a phoned-in attempt to compete with Bravissimo because someone at Eveden headquarters had said, "hey, these larger-cup bras in pretty styles are hot right now... let's try to capitalize on that and get a piece of the action!" I just got kind of an overly-opportunist vibe from the whole enterprise.

Leia is a relatively new store, however, and it's possible that it will get better in time. I don't know if they offer overseas shipping-- their online store is not the best-- so it may be a moot point anyway for most readers. Also, Richmond is actually quite far out from Central London; about an hour's tube ride. I only went because my other activities actually put me right near Richmond on multiple days.

An interesting aside-- Eveden Brands (a British Company) now apparently owns Goddess, too, which are no longer made in the US, but constructed in the Dominican Republic out of US materials. Bummer.

To make myself feel better after the Leia Letdown, I went to the Richmond Super Tesco supermarket and browsed their selection of "mansize" tissues (in both regular and super soft varieties!) and their fine medicated toilet papers (do we have such a thing in the US?).

Good times, good times.