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Friday, Jul 12, 2024

Suburban Diversion

At Mrs. Jones Boudoir, there’s something for everyone custom-made lingerie, massage oils and lotions, even sexually-themed card games. Launched in Old Town Camarillo in February 2006, the intimates shop is a one-of-a-kind in Ventura County, says owner Joelle Saxon. “Four years ago, I sensed the trend as a businessperson,” the French native said of specialty lingerie. When Saxon moved to the U.S. just more than 30 years ago, she settled in New York and into the world of haute couture. Imported clothing from Europe was her high fashion specialty. From Manhattan’s Seventh Avenue, Saxon moved to the San Fernando Valley, opening a spa on Ventura Boulevard in Encino. “I found a new trend in the early ’80s,” Saxon recalled. While familiar to residents of New York, or even Beverly Hills, Saxon said that the idea of visiting a spa for facials, mudpacks and massages was largely unknown to locals of the Valley at that time. “It was the first true day spa in the San Fernando Valley,” Saxon said. After five years, her business, known as Skin Spa, finally began to take off. Saxon sold it after 15 years, but it is still in operation today. With Camarillo-based Mrs. Jones Boudoir, Saxon is facing challenges similar to those she overcame in the 1980s with Skin Spa. Running a boutique filled with unmentionables in a town known for its outlet stores can be trying, but Saxon chose Camarillo as the site of her boutique because it is centrally located in Ventura County. To boot, Saxon lives just a block away from Mrs. Jones. The boudoir owes its name to the 1972 love song “Me and Mrs. Jones,” the tale of an extramarital affair. With her boudoir, Saxon hopes to help her clientele find the “other woman” within. “The other woman is in every one of us,” she said. “Explore it, enjoy her. Recognize that as her better half.” Mrs. Jones has a slew of advantages over chain lingerie stores such as Victoria’s Secret, say both Saxon and her patrons. “I have every respect for Victoria’s Secret, but it does tend to gear toward the younger girl,” Saxon said. The evidence that Mrs. Jones caters to women of all ages can be found in the variety of lingerie sizes it offers. Brassieres, for example, begin at 30A and end at 44G. “You do not have to have the perfect body,” Saxon said of her patrons. Accordingly, Mrs. Jones carries brassieres by Prima Donna, a Belgian designer who specializes in lingerie for large-breasted women with narrow backs. “It’s very rare. It’s hard to find such bras,” Saxon said. Other designers featured at the boutique include Ed Hardy and European designers Aubade and Myla. Mrs. Jones also carries Hanky Panky, maker of a best-selling thong, and Spanx body shapers, a sort of 21st century version of the girdle. Saxon stays informed about trends in undergarments by attending two bi-annual trade shows. In fact, Feb. 16-18, Saxon will be in Las Vegas attending such a show. Still, if the designer brands available at Mrs. Jones do not fit a woman properly, she can have her lingerie tailor-made at the boutique. In addition to lingerie, Mrs. Jones carries men’s boxer shorts from designers such as Eminence, Mansilk and Clever. There are also breast enhancers called Cleavage Cupcakes, nipple covers made by DIMRs, candles by Jimmyjane and an assortment of sexual accessories. “They definitely have more novelty type of items than at Victoria’s Secret,” noted Dawn Buchanan, a 39-year-old mother of three from Camarillo. “Victoria’s Secret is pretty much just lingerie and perfume and lotion. (Mrs. Jones) definitely has more novelty items and done in a pretty classy, tasteful way. It’s a more upscale environment without necessarily upscale prices.” Goods at Mrs. Jones range in price from $35 to $200. Another edge Saxon believes Mrs. Jones has over chain lingerie stores is the personal attention given to customers. “We will educate a woman. She can come to us, and we’ll sense and feel what she’s looking for That’s our role,” she said. Many of her clients are mothers in their mid-30s to early 40s. They visit the boutique in search of ways to intimately reconnect with their mates. Moreover, as the economy worsens, Saxon has noticed that patrons are flocking to the “flirtatious things that create spark” at Mrs. Jones. People are asking, “What can we do that’s not the cost of a brand new car to bring joy or fun or some comfort?” Saxon said. “Lingerie is affordable and brings joy for both men and women. For single women, it’s a treat. For the couple, it gets the relationship jump-started.” Buchanan is in complete agreement. She believes the boudoir is the perfect place to visit if “you want to spice up your life a little bit and have some fun, not get so caught up in work and all of the mundane stuff,” she said. “It kind of gives you some good ideas, I guess you could say.” Saxon has infused the lives of men and women in the greater Camarillo community with a touch of romance by hosting parties for couples, soon-to-be brides and more. The boutique also sponsors a gentlemen’s night for men who want to purchase lingerie for their mates without the embarrassment of being surrounded by female clientele. Because of the personal attention Saxon lavishes on customers, Mrs. Jones has become a favorite of Lisa Galante-Jimenez, a 37-year-old mother of two from Moorpark. “You feel like going into her special closet,” Galante-Jimenez said of Saxon. “She always makes you feel like you’re very, very special. She really takes her time…It’s a treat to go in there.” Because Galante-Jimenez is in the apparel trade by profession,she specializes in yoga performance gear,she appreciates the fine materials of which the lingerie at Mrs. Jones is made. “That’s what really draws me to it,” she said, “the quality, the uniqueness I’m all for that.” SPOTLIGHT – Mrs. Jones Boudoir Location: Camarillo Revenues in 2006: $150,000 Revenue in 2008: $400,000 Employees: 2 Founded: 2006

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