As soon as the shop bells chime, Ruth McMahon, owner of Kiss & Make-Up, warmly greets customers, popping her head out from behind the corner counter or one of the many garment racks. With a skill finely tuned after more than three decades in business, she sets about welcoming and getting to know her customers, instantly washing away feelings of self-consciousness, and setting them at ease in a store which, to some, might otherwise prove anxiety provoking.
For 35 years, the lingerie and specialty boutique has been one of Richmond’s hidden gems. Tucked away off of Patterson Avenue, Kiss & Make-Up has become a destination for generations of girls and women who travel not only from across town, but from around the country for Ruth’s expertise in bra fitting and selection.
A quick survey of her impressive online ratings and a theme begins to emerge: Ruth is a lingerie virtuoso. Review after review praises her for her remarkable ability to expertly identify a woman’s bra size simply by looking at them, an artform indeed.
While much has changed since Ruth, who got her start in the lingerie department of Thalhimer’s, first opened her shop doors in 1984, the longevity and success of Kiss & Make-Up can surely be attributed to the timelessness of her exceptional customer service and the personalized attention she delivers – ensuring each woman feels her very best and leaves the store confident in her purchase.
The small shop belies the vastness of Kiss & Make-Up’s inventory – which includes close to 100 different bra and lingerie sizes, as well as a selection of gift and novelty items, and even some men’s items. From every day t-shirt bras to Valentine’s specialty items and costumes, the boutique features brands that range from Wacoal to Hanky Panky, with style offerings as unique as the bra sizes themselves – and Ruth will expertly guide you through it all.