Penny Parolis – the doyenne of luxury lingerie in South Africa – opens up about what it means to be a woman in business today.
When it comes to the future it is unapologetically, unequivocally and unquestionably female.
As the co-founder of Inner Secrets Lingerie, Penny Parolis brings her own brand of strength, resilience and femininity to the luxury lingerie boutique. By placing emphasis not on how her customers look in their lingerie but rather how they feel, Penny has succeeded in making Inner Secrets Lingerie an inclusive space where each unique facet of the female form is celebrated.
Through hard work and an unwavering dream of bringing quality, heritage lingerie to South Africa, Penny has set the benchmark for women in the workplace. Conquering the niche market by ensuring that Inner Secrets Lingerie clients are correctly fitted for bras and shape wear, Penny’s policy is that no woman would leave any of her stores feeling less than fabulous.
Inheriting her mother’s dedication to furthering the feminist cause, Penny started out with a career in education – the basis of which has aided her in teaching the importance of a well-fitting bra. Using her fight with breast cancer as the catalyst for driving home Inner Secrets Lingerie’s ideology, Penny has striven to provide her clients with a unique shopping experience that uplifts their mood and leaves them with a better understanding of what suits their natural shape.
“A woman’s self-esteem is completely elevated when she sees the difference the correct-sized bra does to her shape and appearance. With the right foundation wear, a woman faces her daily life with renewed esteem and confidence!”
Penny’s passion for helping others reflects not in her helming of Inner Secrets Lingerie but also how she has risen as a female entrepreneur. Alongside her son Dimitri, Penny begun a distribution company in the early Nineties but soon moved into retail after she discovered her talent for sourcing the best international swimwear, shape wear and lingerie brands and selling them in a female-friendly space.
“The motto of our retail business – which was borne from our passion for this industry – was to make a difference in the well-being of every woman, uplift her psyche and make her feel
In addition to this ethos, Penny sought to train local women as professional Corsetieres – reintroducing the lost skill of correct lingerie fitting and creating an entirely new employment sector for the South African economy. Today, Inner Secrets Lingerie is proud to offer their customers the service excellence and experience that goes with the luxury brands they stock.