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Cindy Johnson & Jeanie Peterson

Cindy Johnson on the founding of SOL.

Once upon a time there lived four lovely sisters. The two oldest talked about grown up things like boys, while the two youngest spent hours outside in the creek and on rainy days they were inside playing shop. The older sister liked to arrange the store while the younger sister kept tally on a chalkboard as she rang up customers.

When Jeanie and I weren’t playing shop, the four of us sisters waited all year long for the mother of all holidays, Christmas. We would tear into our gifts hoping for the magical items we had asked Santa for. Of course there were toys, sweets and well, practical items too. Granny Hoff always sent us the practical gifts. Every year we knew she would refresh our panty drawer with new Carter’s underwear. The disappointment came when my second oldest sister would receive cute bikinis with little flowers and I, as number three sister, would open a 3 pack of big white briefs with bumble bees on them. I could pull them all the way up and transform the undies into a one piece swimsuit! After inquiring into the reason for the different styles, Granny replied “Sweetie, you have a bigger bottom and need more coverage.”

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I didn’t know it at the time, but Granny Hoff’s yearly gift of panties would have a lasting impact! When I was finally allowed to choose my own panties, I always chose the pretty ones! Fast forward to age 15. My little sister Jeanie and I were in Fashion Bar at the Southglenn Mall standing in front of a four way rounder with all types of colorful bras, when lo-and-behold I saw matching panties to go with each one. I was addressed by a much older woman who informed me the bra styles would be much too large for me. I replied “Watch me make them fit!” From that moment on I fell head over heels with lingerie of all kinds and I have never looked back.

As I headed off to college I chose a degree in Fashion Merchandising from CSU because I felt it would help me open a panty store when I graduated. I had worked in four different lingerie stores including Pollyannas while in high school, before starting Sol. Panties really are my passion! Luckily for me, my stupendous little sister, Jeanie still likes keeping the tally of all the numbers (although she now uses a computer instead of a chalkboard) and she wanted to be my partner in this cool adventure. I would be lost without her brilliance at keeping Sol running behind the scenes.

Sol means sun in Spanish but also is short for “Store of Lingerie”. Jeanie came up with it and the name tied perfectly into the visions that were forming in my head of what Sol would look like. It brought me back to the time my husband Todd and I visited Italy.

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All the rich amber tones gave the gardens such a lovely feel. During the conceptual stages we saw the movie Stealing Beauty. I had our faux painting artist watch the film to give him the look of the interior I was after for my shop. My goal was to design a store that was warm and welcoming to both women and men. I felt an Italian garden really captured that. As you walk into the store our founatin greets you. The floor is painted to look like flagstone and the display boards for the bras as well as the bars for sleepwear are flanked by marble pillars.

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We love how great our store looks but without our amazing customers, Sol would not be in business. We pride ourselves on our customer service! A lot of time and energy goes into training every Sol employee so that every customer has a special experience. We use the movies “Miracle on 34th Street” and “Pretty woman” to show our trainees how a great shopping experience can fill your store with customers. We have utilized a few books over the years too. Our favorite is “Hug your Customer” by Jack Mitchell. I suggest every business owner should read and follow his sage advice. 

In order to take care of all our Sol girls and guys that love to shop with us, we have made a commitment to marketing. We have an amazing marketing department in house that creates all the ad campaigns, website design and much more. Jeanie and I believe by keeping everything in house we are able to speak to our customers better than having an outside agency. Our latest campaign “I am a SOL Girl” was inspired by our customers. SOL’s customers are not defined by age, size or income level. Our customers’ similarity comes in their outlook on life: women who are young at heart who want to look and feel their best. We wanted a campaign with images and a message that embodies the attitude and outlook of our customers, one that celebrates the strength, uniqueness and beauty within each of us. That’s what being a SOL Girl is all about.

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Our customers really do inspire each of us every day! Working with women in the fitting room is a special way to connect with all our fabulous customers. We love being a part of our Sol girls lives. My biggest joy, still after all these years, is getting feedback from a customer about how shopping at SOL was so fun and she loved how it made her feel. That, for me, is why I am a SOL Girl.

xoxo,

Cindy