Zee Patel was a pro in the restaurant business. As an owner of Quiznos, Cold Stone Creamery and Salsarita’s, she had lots of experience with pleasing people. But a chance suggestion changed her career path and, eight years ago, she found herself taking over as chief executive officer of Charleston’s most exclusive lingerie shop, Bits of Lace. She hasn’t looked back.
“We’re different because we specialize in fitting,” she said about the success of Bits of Lace. “We actually fit our customers, rather than measuring.”
Because each customer’s body is different, the experts at Bits of Lace select a variety of bras in different styles and sizes to find the perfect fit. These bras are not the everyday brands carried by most stores. Zee explained that the store has remained true to the philosophy of the original owner by offering the highest-quality lingerie, imported from Europe. Owner Ruth Brennan and Zee personally handpick the latest styles.
“We go to Europe, tour the manufacturers and attend the trade shows in Paris and New York,” Zee said.
Just as important as the fine lingerie is the careful attention to customers. Bits of Lace caters to their clientele, serving up champagne and hors d’oeuvres at bachelorette parties for brides and their attendants.
Zee also gives back by leading Cinderella Day – “we dressed over 300 girls for the prom,” Zee boasted – and volunteering at Seacoast Church. She loves to travel and enjoys checking out the local restaurant scene.
By Barbara Millen Patrick