By Jennifer Wezensky
It was an idea borne from a frustrating shopping excursion.
Mia Bulifa was shopping six years ago with her mother in the Denver area, looking for plus-size lingerie and sleepwear. Nothing bigger than size large at the major retailers, nothing at the big-name lingerie retailers. Mia, now 28, recognized a need based on their needs, andAngelique Lingerie launched a few months later in her mother’s Denver basement.
“I was frustrated because I couldn’t find any plus-size lingerie,” Bulifa said. “Plus-sized women want the same kinds of apparel as women of any other size, and I couldn’t believe that so little was available.”
Even though still in college, Bulifa found manufacturers based on quality, variety and size options. She decided to focus on having a large selection, focusing on quality, reasonable price and fast shipping.
Now Angelique is a family affair, run out of an office and warehouse in southeast Denver. Mia is the CEO, sister Nadia is vice president and mother Taina is secretary/treasurer. No longer running out of a basement, Angelique has an office with a staff of part-time and seasonal employees and a 1,500-square-feet warehouse in southeast Denver.
For several years both Mia and Nadia held onto other full-time jobs to prevent having to take an income from Angelique, instead using any revenue to reinvest in growing the business.
And growing it is. Business has been booming as the plus-size market grows. Sales were up 20 percent last year.
Mia is still attending the University of Colorado, now as a sociology major, and is dedicated full-time to Angelique, a name she selected because it is feminine and not associated with another brand. Nadia is also attending the University of Colorado with a degree in business. She is also dedicated full time to Angelique now.
Angelique Lingerie is unique in offering a wide selection of sizes up to 6X and sizes 14-28. It is in the midst of launching its first line of sleepwear, again with a diverse, large selection of brands and sizes.
Angelique changes and shifts inventory three times a year, keeping the most popular items and then adding new and seasonal items such as Halloween costumes and holiday lingerie.
“We feel it’s important to keep things fresh and new. We want our customers to always find something new they like every time they visit our site.” says Nadia Bulifa
The most popular types of products tend to baby dolls and panties. Because of that, Bulifa said that she constantly works to offer the widest selection of styles and items hard to find elsewhere.
Angelique also hangs its hat on very fast shipping. Most every product can be shipped in 24 hours, as almost all inventory is on site.
And, of course, price and quality are the mainstay of business success.
“We have better prices than competitors as we try to keep overhead lower,” she said.
In its six years of business, Angelique has served more than 35,000 customers around the world.
Tina Graham is the Managing Editor of Curvy Magazine. She lives in Nw York City with her husband and daughter.