One of the perks of my job is I get to hear lots of lingerie news first, so I was especially pleased that two of my favorite vintage loving women were getting together to launch Fortuna Femme several months ago! Jessica DiLullo is the lovely lady behind Warning: Curves Ahead and Amanda Lea is a fellow lingerie lover who I know through various Facebook communities. Jessica and Amanda declared early on that their goal was to launch a vintage style boutique that would cater a wide range of body types and incorporate as much diversity as they could manage, so I was really intrigued to see what would emerge.
Fortuna Femme is now officially launched – and I think Amanda and Jessica have outdone themselves. If you don’t work in the lingerie industry, I think opening a boutique seems like something you can do with a shoestring budget and a strong vision. It’s not. Opening even a tiny boutique requires huge upfront investment, weathering lots of rejection and tons of uncertainty. Not only did Fortuna Femme manage to launch in a timely manner, but they invested in a comprehensive series of images that highlight diversity and bring their products into the modern era. They’ve also developed several sections of their website that feature products to help with hypersensitivity, mastalgia and vulvodynia. “By adding search functions for those with sensitivity or fit concerns, we hope to open the doors to customers who may not feel represented or catered to at other online boutiques. In a nutshell, we’re a niche market and hoping to expand.” says Amanda.
I was lucky to get some time with Amanda during this extremely busy week for her, so of course I asked her a ton of questions about the experience of opening a boutique and creating a lookbook.
“For us, it was never an option to not have diverse models,” says Amanda. “We (Jessica and Amanda) both fall outside of the average representation of lingerie campaigns, which built the base for what we’d like to represent in our imagery. When it came time to for our first shoot, a product shoot, we didn’t have any models. We posted on our personal Facebook pages to call for friends to volunteer or to spread the word. Fortunately for us, we came away with more women excited to work with us then we could ever have imagined, and they all had completely different looks!
The only real challenges we faced were in shooting the look book itself. Having a male photographer and mostly inexperienced models meant that not everyone was going to be comfortable shooting with him. We ended up with a smaller group and images that originally had different tones (cool on Jessica and Amanda, warm on Reese and Thuy). In the end, we came out with a product that we are happy with while learning a few lessons along the way.”
Fortuna Femme currently stocks a wide range of basic retro style pieces along with a mix of authentic vintage pieces (in a wide size range!). “We decided explore what people meant by vintage and found that most self-identified pinups, at the very least, want vintage slips. In building our stock it became an easy way to offer greater variety without risking too much money on any particular brand or style that might not work for our customers. “ says Amanda.
Vintage style lingerie has been a trend for several years now, so I was eager to ask Amanda about how likely she thought it was to stick around. “Vintage-style has been revisited and revamped time and again since the reemergence of retro silhouettes in the 80’s. Fashion statements will come and go, but the continual reappearance of classic shapes and cuts is what speaks volumes about staying-power of a look. It is that constant revisitation of an era that pushes the pinup style from “trend” to “timeless”! We believe that classic pinup styles will always be available for those that seek them out.” she says.
Fortuna Femme is starting with a small stable of brands, including some of my personal favorites like Elila, Rago and Kix’ies Thigh Highs. They’ve also done a great job sourcing vintage appropriate pieces from brands that many retro boutiques would have never looked at, like Rhonda Shear.
While I actually own many of the bras featured in my size range on the site already, I definitely have my eye on some of their vintage pieces. If I had anything that would go with this robe, for instance, I would have bought it already! I love that they are searching out true vintage in such a wide size range and pricing it so reasonably.
Fortuna Femme has also been nice enough to offer all of you a discount code for 10% off through May 15th! Just use the code “Welcome10” at checkout on the Fortuna Femme site.
What do you think of Fortuna Femme? What do you think of their lookbook?