Sugar & spice

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Amanda May Lingerie, owned by Amanda Beaubien, at 203 Dalhousie St. in Ottawa, opened its doors Feb. 7. (Photo: Wayne Cuddington)

Gentlemen, don’t get your knickers in a knot on Feb. 14. If you want to bring a smile to her face and yours on Valentine’s Day, think lingerie.

Want some help with that? Enter Amanda Beaubien, a 25-year-old entrepreneur whose new boutique called Amanda May Lingerie opened Friday, joining other savvy young female business owners on the Dalhousie fashion strip in the ByWard Market.

About 150 guests attended the launch party Thursday night enjoying champagne and cupcakes and watching models walk around in apparel from the boutique.

Beaubien says customers shouldn’t be fooled by her young age. She prides herself on knowing how to properly fit a women with a bra. She grew up watching her mother painstakingly sew beautiful costumes for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and took up the craft when she was just seven. In 2010, she started a lingerie business called Raw Silk along with her childhood friend Jillian Brenner. The two designed and manufactured their own pieces, selling them to friends and family. Beaubien, who worked as an account manager at Export Development Canada, was inspired to open her own business after attending CURVExpo, a lingerie and swimwear trade show in New York City in August.

She expects that her eye for quality and understanding the perfect fit will help her stand out in the sea of bigger box lingerie stores.

“I know how to fit a woman properly. I carry band sizes 28 to 38 and cup sizes A to K, which a lot of the other lingerie stores don’t. With my sewing background, I understand the structure of bras.”

Beaubien, who studied lingerie at Richard Robinson’s fashion design academy, says many women wear bras either too big or too small. If you lift your arms and the underwire of your bra shifts forward and sits on your bust, then you’re wearing the wrong band size, she says.

“A lot of my friends wear a D when they should be wearing an F. I have customers who are a double G and triple D. Typically, it’s hard to find band sizes 30 and 32.”

Bras, panties, thongs, night gowns and more line the walls of Beaubien’s cosy 70-square metre space, which includes two change rooms and a sitting area at the back. She currently carries about a dozen different brands and sells accessories, including body tape and cutlets. She offers free shipping across Canada and has an online store at amandamay.ca.

“It’s important to feel good in your own skin. A solid foundation helps women look great in their clothes.”

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