In 2003, Allure Intimate Apparel was born as a solution to a common, but not-often-discussed, problem: ill-fitting undergarments. Entrepreneur Peter O’Malley had listened to his wife share some of her unsuccessful experiences with finding bras that fit properly, and he decided to set out on a new venture after running a trucking company and working in the outerwear business. That new venture took shape as the beautifully curated Allure Intimate Apparel outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Peter extensively researched the industry but says it took about two years to figure out exactly who they were as a business. He narrowed the approach and zeroed in on specializing in fit expertise. Now, Allure Intimate Apparel has grown to seven locations, in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Texas.
Although Peter is from the Badger State, he knew North Texas would be ideal for regional and geographical expansion. He loves the area, the economy, and, most of all, the people. He opened the Southlake location in 2018 and the Lovers Lane spot last year. Of course, he could not predict the effects that the pandemic and the Dallas ice storm would have on these stores — lost power, burst pipes — and he and his team had to rebuild the Dallas store after the storm. But even though it was a challenging year for all of his stores, Allure Intimate Apparel is coming back strong, and in Dallas, its story, and vision of empowering all women to find the right undergarments, is just beginning.
“We’re passionate about care and quality,” Peter says. “For the last 20 years we’ve learned what works and what doesn’t. We want to make sure that we’re able to fit anyone from petite to plus. We don’t want to ever have to turn a customer away because of their size, and we have 150-plus bra sizes. We want to have a comfortable environment where women can feel a sense of privacy in a professional setting.”
The second part of Allure’s fit expertise equation, in addition to carrying a large variety of styles, vendors, and sizes, is attentive customer service — both qualities that women don’t often find in big box stores. Anyone who walks into Allure, whether they’re looking for a bra, lingerie, swimwear, pajamas, and more, is given one-on-one consultative service because Peter designed the store to be a calm environment, rather than a busy high-traffic setting. Customers can either make an appointment or simply walk in and be greeted by a representative who guides them through the process of finding what they need. If something is out of stock at one store, it can easily be ordered from another location.
“We commit to providing an elevated level of customer service, which I think most of our customers haven’t experienced elsewhere,” says Allure Vice President Sarah Mayer Gash, who’s been with the company for 10 years and originally started out as a part-time sales associate. “We have customers between the ages of 12 and 95. Allure really operates from a position where the customer is at the heart of all decisions that are made.”
As part of that position, Allure employees make fitting recommendations based on their expertise — one size in one brand might differ from the same size in another — but they also listen to the client to ensure they know precisely what will make them most comfortable. Allure also follows up for client feedback after items are purchased to make sure they are happy with them. According to Sarah, who works with the buyer to make purchasing decisions for the company, Allure keeps track of customer preferences so the fitters already know what types of styles the client likes for future appointments. Sarah trains all of Allure’s staff on how to provide the highest level of service while maintaining the utmost efficiency.
“Oftentimes customers will say, ‘I’ve never had anyone provide this kind of service to me,’” Sarah says. “They never have to leave the fitting room. I hope they feel like they are queen for a day.”
In addition to providing quality service, Allure aims to educate customers on the importance of wearing a well-fitted bra or other undergarments. “When you wear something in an incorrect size it can create a host of problems,” Sarah says. “We really want them to leave with a much greater understanding than when they came in.”
Peter says he hopes to expand and open more Allure Intimate Apparel outposts in the coming years, a feat which has been made possible thanks to the dedication and commitment of his Allure employees and staff throughout the past tumultuous year. “The inspiration I gleaned from working with this small group of ladies has changed my life, to be honest,” he says. “This group rolled up their sleeves and worked tirelessly and still do.”
From Dallas to Wisconsin, it’s a company that empowers women — both those who work for Allure and those who shop there.