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Vancouver entrepreneur's company delivers high-end lingerie through the mail

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Natalie Grunberg launched Panty by Post from the living room of her Vancouver condo in 2009. She sells beautifully packaged lingerie through the mail to customers in Canada, the United States and France.Ben Nelms/The Globe and Mail

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It’s surprising that Ms. Grunberg sells to women in France, the nation that practically invented the concept of lacy underthings. “In France, the lingerie is beautiful but it’s scratchy,” says the 38-year-old former high school teacher who spent more than a dozen summers at her Canadian family’s second home in the south of France. “There aren’t too many options other than the super-fine and the super-expensive.”Ben Nelms/The Globe and Mail

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Most of the brands that Ms. Grunberg carries are from Quebec, such as Blush, Miel and Change, all packaged beautifully for her customers. Every delivery is meant to feel like a gift, Ms. Grunberg says: “My shipper wraps each panty in tissue and writes a handwritten note. It’s a personal touch that’s also very chic.”

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She has also added briefs from Colombia made of the finest European fabrics with hand-sewn embellishments and lace. Some cost as much as $90. But she offers them for much less, through a $35-a-month subscription program that delivers high-end panties through the mail. The company also offers less expensive subscription deals for $22 and $15.

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Today Ms. Grunberg receives about 20 new subscriptions a day, and her annual sales total $250,000. Customers come to her through word-of-mouth and also via coverage in such magazines as Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour and Self.

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A model wears a selection from Panty by Post.

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Now Ms. Grunberg is wondering whether to turn her business into a franchise operation. Franchisees could play host to trunk shows in their homes. It’s a sales model used by U.S.-based Stella & Dot, and by Tupperware.

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Still, she’s not sure whether this path would work for her. After all, “It’s panties, not jewellery – it’s something intimate. I worry that I might be wasting my time.”Ben Nelms/The Globe and Mail

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