About Us: Offering Unique Bra Sizes, Fittings & More in Richmond, VA
When Ruth McMahon graduated from VCU, a degree in social work in hand, little did she know that the essential "key" to her eventual business success lingered beneath the playful exterior of that excited young girl. Her drive, determination and enthusiasm led her to establish a very successful Richmond based business which she enjoys today.
35 prosperous years later, she knows that her successful career as a small business owner is directly linked to those early beginnings. Ruth believes that her early training helped her to define her market and its particular needs - selling lingerie and intimate items to adults. Her business, Kiss And Makeup, specializes in “fashionable lingerie, books, enhancements, etc. which can intensify the relationship between any caring, loving couple.”
“My education has helped me understand my market. It has helped me to develop a sensitivity to people and I know this background gave me the ability to understand my customers and their needs,” Ruth says. “I listen to what people say and I can help them select products that will accommodate their taste, need and/or fantasy (yes, many customers are longing for that "fantasy" - I help them make it come true).”
Ruth McMahon started her company in November, 1984, offering cosmetics and perfumes. But within two years, she realized that it would be necessary to change the focus of her business. Prior to the arrival of Victoria’s Secret stores, the lingerie market was vastly underserved in Richmond until the mid-1980s. As Ruth developed her lingerie clientele, she saw that it was imperative to cater to everyone, women of all sizes and, eventually, to men. The company has averaged a 20 percent annual growth rate since its inception.
Her exclusive specialty boutique is located on Patterson Avenue in the West End. Her original plans were to open a second store in Southside Richmond within 5 years, but with the eruption of E-Commerce and Internet Access, Ruth again made an aggressive change. She hastily developed a web presence, struggled with vendors as she tried to develop her site and finally won out by creating a very large, quality catalog of items online. Many clients enjoy the convenience of shopping online and Ruth strongly believes future retail success will depend on shopping online.
Kiss And Makeup attracts a ratio of about 60/40 of its customers by gender. During the bridal season which begins in April and goes through November, women are the predominate shoppers. but as Christmas and Valentines Day approach, men take the lead.
Ruth feels that her insight as a woman has given her an advantage with her product line. She understands and likes people. Many customers drop in to chat because they feel comfortable talking to Ruth. “I think women and men find it easier to buy intimate things from a woman,” she says.
As for the future, she is optimistic because her market niche is unique. She doesn't have time to worry about competitors, she listens to her clients and constantly researches new product lines so that Kiss and Makeup always offers the very best to its customers. Kiss And Makeup has obviously carved out a special place in the loyalties of not only Richmond customers, but many from around the World.
Ruth is especially proud of Richmond Magazine's latest Editor's Award for her boutique - "Best Shop for Pretty Lingerie". As listed in the August 2004 issue of Richmond Magazine:
Best Shop for Pretty Lingerie Kiss & Make-Up 5432 1/2 Patterson Ave., 285-0326
Wacoal, Felina and Jezebel are among the brands of frilly bras, panties and slips that shoppers will find at this tiny tucked-away shop. Whether you're looking for racy red lace or flowing floral nightgowns, the selection here can't be beat. There's even a corner of silk boxers.