“Working women tend to put themselves last,” said Jim Manno, Soft Surroundings spokesman, last week. But he said his company wants to change that, adding that “everything in a woman’s life should be soft.”
Luckily for local women, a brick-and-mortar Soft Surroundings will nestle into Turkey Creek in August.
With the tagline “my time, my place, my self,” the store promises some pampering and almost everything a woman needs: clothing, swimwear, jewelry and accessories, shoes, bedding — “the softest most luxurious bedding as far as thread count,” Manno said. Also included are home décor and beauty and fragrance products.
The St. Louis-based company was started by Robin Sheldon, who Manno said is the very image of the busy woman whom they target. Sheldon still has daily input in the business.
“Products are made with touch in mind, hence the Soft Surroundings name. We did a study a while back. Working women, once they get home, are in their yoga pants within 15 minutes. We thought ‘Why not give her something she doesn’t want to take off that’s very fashionable and on-trend?’”
“We started as a catalog company in 1999,” he added. “This
year we’ll be mailing nearly 100 million catalogs.”
In late March some orange cones were placed in front of the Justice Store in Turkey Creek. The store was closed for a day as employees settled into their new spot across the parking lot next to Torrid.
“As far as brick and mortar retail goes, we haven’t been doing that for terribly long,” Manno said. “The first store opened in 2005. ... This year 17 stores are opening. We started with 43 stores in January and by the end of this year, we’ll be at 60.”
“We know we already have a great customer base in Knoxville,” he added. “We open stores specifically where we know we have a passionate, large customer base.
“We’re not coming into a market having to teach everybody who we are and what we’re about. Now all these women who’ve been shopping in our catalog can come in and touch it and feel it and try it on.”