There are women who are afraid to enter Carole Jourdan's store because they feel "uncomfortable," she says.
But those bold enough to enter Nice 'N Naughty in Old Colorado City find not just chic and sometimes sexylingerie, classic clothing and jewelry, but business advice and personal encouragement to help women rekindle, reclaim and rediscover themselves.
"I challenge them to step out of their comfort zone and feel better about themselves - to feel sexy, and have the confidence to say, 'I rock! I'm hot!'" Jourdan says.
It's been a winning formula. Nice 'N Naughty turned 30 this year, drawing customers from the Pikes Peak region and even from Pueblo who have helped the shop survive stiff national and local competition and twomajor recessions.
When the store opened in 1983, Jourdan was 27 years old. She sold mostly "robes and gowns, teddies, baby dolls and some fantasy-wear like nurse outfits."
But as Jourdan matured, so did her inventory. She carries jewelry and casual dress clothes - and her lingerie, while enticing, is more chic.
"The change has helped me stay in business during some rough times," she said.
Jourdan opened her first store in a 400-square-foot space at 2501 West Colorado Ave. A gun store was next door, and when it left, a bookstore took over the space. About three years later, the bookstore moved, and Jourdan took out the wall that divided them to double her space.
But as she added clothing and jewelry, the hundreds of new items suddenly made her store seem "small and claustrophobic," she says. So 10 years ago, Jourdan moved across the street to 2504 W. Colorado Ave.
Nice 'N Naughty always has sold lingerie, oils and lotions, Jourdan says, but those items are not the essence of what the store truly "sells." What she sells women is self-confidence, courage and empowerment. Those are the things women should feel, she says, especially as they cross into their 40s and beyond and begin taking charge of their lives.
"We can be anything we want to be. That is the fun of being a female," she says. "We can change our minds any time we want, and we can enjoy life at whatever stage we are at."
If selling those ideas and emotions is partly the answer to Jourdan's 30-year success in retail, the other part is a business savvy developed before she was a teenager. Jourdan grew up in a playpen in her mother's advertising and promotions office at London's Department Store in Attleboro, Mass. Before she turned 10, Jourdan was working at the store as the Easter Bunny. Later, she stuffed envelopes and worked as a sales clerk at the store. The business lessons she learned at London's helped her keep Nice 'N Naughty going during the Great Recession.
"I saw my numbers start to change in October 2007 and ... it got worse and worse and worse," she said.
From 2008 and into 2011, Jourdan's business revenues fell by as much as 40 percent. To cope, she ordered less clothing and jewelry. She cut her salary, stayed open longer and held more sales.
"You have to find a way to tweak your business to stay alive," she says.
Contact Ned Hunter: 636-0275