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Updated: August 16, 2021 shop talk

Q&A: 40 Under Forty alum opens lingerie shop

Photo | Mackenzie May The O Shop opened in July on Richmond Avenue in Worcester.
Stephanie Ramey
  • Title Owner
  • Business The O Shop
  • Location Worcester
  • Launched July 10
  • Employees 3
  • Instagram @TheOShopOnline
  • Ramey's age 36
  • Birthplace Worcester
  • Residence Holden
  • Education Bachelor's degree in communications from Worcester State University

More Information

Stephanie Ramey, a WBJ 40 Under Forty in 2019, has had quite the two-year run. In April 2020, she left her role as executive director of tourism agency Discover Central Massachusetts to become president of the minor league Worcester Railers Hockey Club. While still the team’s president, this summer she launched her own entrepreneurial venture, the lingerie retailer The O Shop on Richmond Avenue. 

Why did you open The O Shop?

It was a random idea I had from an article I read, about women’s health and the problems we have. Basically, unless you are a woman who is built a certain way, you are going to have a hard time finding a properly fitting bra.

There is a huge lack of resources in the market, especially if you are a larger size. You won’t have any options at places like Victoria’s Secret. And women’s bust sizes have been growing steadily over time, and they will continue to grow, so what I identified early on is the huge need for fitting services.

Most women have never been fitted for a bra, and it’s so important. What you are wearing under your clothes has such an impact on your posture, your confidence, and how you maneuver throughout the day.

Stephanie Ramey, owner of The O Shop in Worcester

How was it launching a business?

I have been blessed to encounter some really intelligent, talented women. I found a woman with 20 years of experience fitting bras, who has joined the staff and just made a world of difference.

I’ve learned more from doing this than probably anything else in my life. From the process of everything to navigating a business certificate to finding insurance to understanding the wholesale market to getting a point-of-sale system. This is no joke. You are putting yourself on the line in a lot of ways. You are challenging yourself mentally and emotionally.

How has demand been?

Every day we’ve been open, we’ve talked to someone who has had a very emotional experience, because they’ve never been fitted for a bra before. It just has such a big impact on how people feel.

We have been well received by the community. It is a beautiful shop, and people have been very supportive. It has an authentic boutique vibe to it and is a comfortable, happy and safe place.

Instagram has been a huge resource for us. I’ve actually yet to get our website up and running, but we already have a growing following on social media.

And from a revenue standpoint?

We exceeded my expectations in terms of revenue in the first month. I didn’t have huge expectations to start, but we are still above that. I expected my customers to be a lot of friends and colleagues, but there have been a lot of strangers from all around. We had someone from New Hampshire come in the other day, and I was just amazed.

How do you handle the store with being Railers president?

My full-time responsibility is the Railers, and I’ve been fortunate to be able to financially support The O Shop, while my employees take care of running the shop’s operations day-to-day. I’m really fortunate to have such great employees.

What are your long-term goals?

When I opened this store, it wasn’t to create some enormous self-wealth. I saw a need in the market, and I wanted to help improve women’s health.

What I think is going to happen is the store is going to evolve, depending upon the direction of the community and the market. We’ve already done a couple of events, and we may do events about menopause and women’s health. It will come down to what people want.

This interview was conducted and edited for length and clarity by WBJ Editor Brad Kane.

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