RaShanna Dickson believes that women are their own harshest critics. “You never think you look good enough. It’s a constant battle,” she says. “One second you’re the hottest thing on Earth, and the next you’re like, who am I?”
Dickson sees good, high-quality lingerie as a tool toward women’s empowerment and an answer to that question. Like the women who wear them, styles vary from demure to provocative. “I like a little chemise and I like a pajama set,” Dickson says. “You’re not defined by one genre of lingerie–you can take it to a 10 or keep it at a two and still be sexy, still be provoking. I think that’s the empowerment of it: You don’t just have to be one woman.”
That philosophy is what led Dickson to launch her own online luxury lingerie boutique. Houston-based Touche Moi carries hand-made intimates from small, hard-to-find labels, including international designers, that align with Dickson’s priorities of unique design and fine craftsmanship. She gravitates toward atelier labels and custom pieces in her intimate selection process, a way to guarantee customers a “one-of-a-kind experience,” she says.
Favorites include sets from the cruelty-free, organic label Studio Pia and delicate, modern bodysuits from popular Toronto-based Bullyboy. Speaking of bodysuits, Dickson thinks every woman can benefit from owning one. “It’s a transitional piece–you can wear it in the bedroom or pair with jeans or a pantsuit or shorts,” she says. “It’s a good starting place; it’s not as simple but it’s not 50 Shades of Gray. It’s right there in the middle.”
Plus, bodysuits generally fit true-to-size, a key component of online shopping—especially for lingerie. Dickson knows most decisions are made in the fitting room, but she tries to mimic an in-person experience on her site through user-friendly design, storytelling (like a “gentleman’s guide” for male buyers), and frequent communication—she estimates she emails with 70 percent of her customers to answer questions and offer suggestions.
That personal interaction was what drew her to this work in the first place. A Houston transplant from Oklahoma, Dickson worked at a lingerie shop after first moving to the city. She spent just over two years there and credits that experience with her passion for the business.
“I loved helping people—I loved helping men find something for their spouses; I loved helping women feel empowered by finding the right piece, [which] can be intimidating,” she says. “I felt like when they left, a little part of me was with them.”
From the get-go, Dickson knew Touche Mois would start online—she wanted to funnel expenses directly into product rather than overhead—but brick-and-mortar is the end-goal. And, given the “phenomenal reception” and volume of local clientele over the six months her shop has been live, a physical storefront could manifest as early as next spring.
“I’m an all-in kind of girl,” she says. “I’ve got visions going.”
While moving from online to in-person might seem backward given the increasingly web-driven retail market, Dickson has faith in the future.
“No matter how much storytelling or interaction I’m able to have on the internet, there’s something about walking into a store … there’s a difference,” she says. “I love the handpicking, that’s really where I fell in love, that goes back to the foundation of why I love lingerie. I love when I can pick something that [customers] might not pick for themselves … It’s an overall life experience that you can’t replicate.”