Meet Raquel Harris, a stunning young entrepreneur and owner of Baiser Marsai (be-zay mar-say) lingerie boutique, who is turning a tragic life experience into victory for every woman who feels their needs are ignored by the lingerie companies.
When Raquel first reached out to me to introduce me to her lingerie store, the first thing that stood out were her models, I thought wow, I can see myself wearing this and that model has my body type! I felt understood and a sense of belonging.
I later found out that this is part of her intention, when picking out her models Raquel wanted them to be representative of her clients and herself instead of models the fit the usual idolized idea of beauty because she doesn’t believe that beauty comes in a perfect size or perfect body type, she believes beauty is you and that what is perfect is you just as you are. Beauty is “I am confident with who I am, I like who I am and like what I see in the mirror when nobody is looking” she said to me. The passion in Raquel’s voice as she uttered those words during our phone conversation could not have sounded any more pure, it was clear to me that she holds herself to that belief and it translates into effortless confidence, grace and beauty that makes you want her around all the time.
Hiring non-traditional models didn’t come without objections but Raquel stood her ground and hired models that are diverse in terms of race, size and shape defying the norms of the industry and rejecting all advice that went against the way she wants to do things.
Lingerie is not about sex is about intimacy
“I’ve always wanted a boutique and I knew that I wanted the boutique to somehow gratify the beauty of a woman. I think as women we are most beautiful in our intimate moments. Many think of lingerie as super sexual, however I want the intimacy of loving and knowing oneself to be acknowledged and embraced with Baiser Marsai. When we start the day, it all begins with how we are feeling about ourselves inside, so feeling beautiful in your underwear sets a great tone. Lingerie is something I’ve always love and it is very personal to me and it represents all of this, always acknowledging that the first building block for becoming anything, from having self-love to be invested and be intimate in any kind of relationship whether it’s a friendship or love is Oneself. The more you embrace your own skin and who you are genuinely and confidently the more your beauty will truly come out, it’s like domino effect.”
Finding strength in tragedy to fuel her purpose
“Marsai is the name of my childhood best friend who was murdered at a high school football game our senior year in college. I always wanted to do something that would somehow pay homage to her. Marsai loved empowering her girlfriends and had the most amazing, bubbly, contagious spirit. She’s my angel, and Baiser means kiss, so the name behind my brand essentially means Kiss Marsai, or Kissed by an Angel.”
The most exciting thing that has happened to her store so far
“The first day I launched I was able to sell out of two of the products (this one and this one). I wasn’t expecting that. I didn’t do a big marketing thing or anything paid, it was organic and I just used social media. I also love that people comment on the high quality of my products often and they find that it is within their reach”
And of course I know you want more so here’s our Q&A :)
Tell me a little about yourself
I am a Houston, TX native – born, raised, and schooled there. I moved to Austin in March 2013 and have lived here since. In my free time I can easily be found in a random coffee shops known for their affogato and bomb playlists :-) I enjoy coffee and music so I’ll go into a coffee shop on a Saturday morning with my MacBook and before I know it I’ve spent the entire day there working, reading, and people watching. It’s great.
Being an entrepreneur is not easy, do you have any mentors?
I learned tremendous amount and some of my entrepreneurial skills from dad who is my very best mentor. He can look at a process and paint the full picture from beginning to end. That’s what I have seen and mimic from him, but most importantly I learned two things that are invaluable from him; which are to do everything with honesty and integrity. I worked for my dad through summers of my childhood and noticed that people always had wonderful things to say about him. Working for him I was able to see that the measure of a person is not what they have but what they do with what they have and he maximized every opportunity, bringing others along as he did so. I want do the same thing, and this business is just the beginning.*
Lingerie is fun so let’s get back to that…
What is your favorite lingerie color?
I have a blog that talks about what your favorite/go to lingerie color says about your style (link here). Mine was black for the longest. For a few years I literally only owned black underwear. I’d say I have two go to’s now; black and nude! Both go with everything and look great!
What is your favorite lingerie piece in your store and why?
My favorite piece is the Michelle V Lace Teddy. It’s just hot! It be worn intimately or even coupled with a high-waisted skirt or pant and worn for a night out! I actually wore it to my first trunk show :-)
Can you build our lingerie wardrobe from Baiser Marsai?
Can you pick a bra for us to wear daily?
My daily choice is the Strapless Convertible Bra by Nubian Skin. I love this bra so much that I have it in all the colors offered. It fits true to size and you can literally do whatever you want with the straps, crisscross them, take them off and wear it traditionally. It’s a go to bra.
What about sexy lingerie for date night/ special occasion?
I love The Crimson Satin & Lace Corset. It’s flirty and feminine and I’ve seen it work beautifully on a variety of women.
My wedding is coming up, what lingerie piece should I wear on wedding night?
For wedding night I recommend something comfy to wear to bed – White Lace Kimono It’s lightweight and very angelic. It gives just a peak at what’s under and you can wear it on wedding night and easily through the honeymoon.
And finally something sexy to wear to bed?
For bed I’m really feeling the Black and Chrome Camisole Set. It’s feels great, really soft and silky, and it’s equally as pretty. It’s a win-win because you go to bed looking good and feeling good too. Only thing about this piece is it’s so comfy I love to lounge it longer than I should sometimes :-)
I’m working on designing my own line of luxury lingerie. God willing, in 12 months it will be in Baiser Marsai as well as a few other retail shops.
I hope you guys enjoyed meeting Raquel as much as I have, and if you feel inspired, heard and understood I encourage you to support her small business. She told me she wants to hear your suggestions and requests so please do reach out to her if you have any comments and finally follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.