If there’s just one thing better than looking like a smoke show in some special underthings, it’s knowing somewhere in the world a community is made better for it. Shopping at Lencería Boutique allows you to feel as good as you look.
Juliana Correa made her way to Los Angeles via Medellín, Columbia. And Miami. “And New York and Arizona,” she adds. The delightful and gracious owner of Lencería Boutique has filtered her experiences, education, and heart into a charming shop on Melrose that provides women with high-quality, sexy lingerie and swimwear, and a sense of worldly social-consciousness.
Though her undergraduate studies in Miami were in art history and Italian, Juliana thought more about a career in law. So she moved to New York and became a paralegal. This experience inspired an interest in business, so she headed west for graduate studies at a small international business school in Arizona called Thunderbird. It was there that the seed for Lencería Boutique was sewn.
The school project was to create a business plan. Knowing Columbia’s reputation for world class lingerie and swimwear, Juliana envisioned bringing the country’s brands to Los Angeles. She hadn’t been to L.A. since a childhood vacation, but knew Columbia wasn’t well-represented here. She completed the plan, graduated, and focused on working in the financial industry.
Her boyfriend (now husband, Joe) was moving to L.A. and Juliana followed. Unable to find work, she thought, “Why not do this plan that I already had for LA?” Both the business and legal muscles worked to open the first iteration of the boutique on Sunset Blvd., coincidentally, only TWO doors down from the hypothetical business plan address. Juliana recalls, “Everything pulled itself together to allow me to do it.”
The Sunset location was going to be torn down for development, so Juliana re-opened on Melrose in July 2014. “Sunset looked like a private showroom. Melrose is more like a store,” which allowed for growth.
With a clientele that loves discovery, innovation, and exclusivity, Juliana likes to introduce new brands into L.A. “What I thought would only be Latin American brands has branched out into a couple of other anchor brands people recognize so they can see why everything else makes sense and is so great,” she explains.
Columbia has huge textile industry, an advantageous trade agreement with the U.S., and ProColumbia (a government agency that matches brands to retailers). But its main advantage is Columbian women. “Columbian women are demanding about making lingerie and swimwear fit curves, and they are a little more risqué,” explains Juliana. This requires unusually good coverage as well as creative design.
Columbian workmanship is extraordinary. For example, Agua Bendita’s swimwear highlights unique, colorful beadwork, as traditionally as possible. “They sew one bead at a time, so if one bead breaks not everything comes out.” This impeccable detail and care rests on the workers. And this is where the social responsibility comes in.
Juliana is sure to carry lines that have programs to support the workers, and the communities in which they exist. Some lines “are made by women who are heads of household, and lost husbands to the war. They get paid a great salary for their talents.” Other brands support rural women, or plant trees in deforestation areas.
The Entreaguas line features macramé detail done by people with disabilities, who are unable to work outside the home, or who are incarcerated (bringing work to homes or to jails), developing employable skill sets.
It’s not just Columbian brands making temps rise in Lencería. “I have to find brands to differentiate me,” says Juliana. She carries Italian, French, and Brazilian lines, as well as great LA-based brands. For Melrose, she seeks “younger, up-and-coming designers.” Each one offers its own type of feel-good give-back.
Lest you be distracted by the lush, gorgeous underthings, Lencería also carries gift items, or “if you’re heading to vacation, what you could have in your bag,” like body products (“They are just SO good!”), lingerie/swimwear care, non-toxic nail polish, and some absolutely adorable jewelry.
While everything online is in-store, not everything in-store is online. The boutique is meant to be an experience. Come in, have a beer, try things on, chill out. Juliana loves to host bridal lingerie parties, a full-service event that includes drinks, fittings, written recap with personalized shopping lists “and if you want to have the shower here, we can do that as well!” says Juliana.
Lencería Boutique will have a holiday sale. Good time to get the men out to the store (which is VERY man-friendly year ‘round), and pick up wish list items as spring break will be just around the corner!