Ask a Shop Clerk: Shiho Kawamura

Photo: Danny Kim/New York Magazine

Why do New Yorkers need Japanese lingerie?
Too many women here wear lingerie that is purely functional. They need to feel sexy under their clothes, like women in Japan do.

Well, what’s different about your store from, say, Victoria’s Secret?
We ask very specific questions to help customers pick bras that fit their lives. Like, a woman who does yoga breathes deeply, so her bra is more likely to stretch out. That’s something we need to know.

Is there a difference between American and Japanese customers?
Japanese customers need constant assistance. Americans don’t ask a lot of questions.

Do they have different priorities in bras?
Japanese women want better cleavage. They buy push-ups and lift-ups for control. American customers are more concerned with the bulge from behind, the back fat.

What makes a good lingerie salesperson?
It helps if she has her own issues—like, I didn’t know how to create cleavage, so once I learned, I wanted to show others how to do it, too. If a salesperson has a perfect body, it’s more difficult to relate to them.

Interview by Stephanie Emma Pfeffer.

Ask a Shop Clerk: Shiho Kawamura