MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The countdown to Valentine’s Day is winding down, and this weekend, many are looking for an excuse to put on something nice.

Some of you could take a leap of faith and try something fun, new and maybe a little edgy. You could call it a tutorial on flirting, in a sense, which as many of you know means your way of letting that special someone know you’re into them.

For owner Jessica Gerard, “flirt” is so much more than a verb. Step inside any Flirt Boutique location and you will find the finest assortment of lace and luxury to slip on. The Twin Cities-based lingerie boutique has shops in St. Paul, Minneapolis and will soon take over a space in the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

“It’s like wearing high heels; it puts a little extra skip in your step and you know you have something really gorgeous on and nobody else really knows,” Gerard said.

From an early age, Gerard knew she wanted to run her own business. Seven years ago, she opened the first Flirt just steps away from her St. Paul home, transforming her St. Paul vintage furniture store into something a little more her style.

“Many lingerie sores focus more on basics, and they might have pretty things mixed in. We don’t really sell basics,” said Gerard while discussing about her long list of designer inventory, “I feel like there’s enough places to go for that.”

After all global lingerie sales are expected to reach $80 billion this year, possibly because, as Gerard pointed out, it’s “ageless, timeless, and season-less … It’s not like winter coats vs. summer clothing.”

Just like her customers, Gerard is always looking for pieces and brands that separate her from the competition, high-end brands like La Perla and Lise Charmel.

“La Perla means the pearl, so it’s ‘the pearl’ of lingerie,” said Gerard. “Beautiful and the laces are just over-the-top.”

Late last year she was feeling a little more daring and decided to open a second shop, this one in Minneapolis’s North Loop. She said it makes her feel like she’s back in her childhood bedroom, with pink walls and photos of Marilyn Monroe everywhere.

She certainly knows not everyone can pull off that Playboy centerfold piece with confidence.

“Is she playful or she more reserved? You don’t want him to go home with a corset or garter belts when she is not that kind of girl,” Gerard said, describing how she handles the men who walk into her stores. “I’ve fitted 16-year-old girls up to 84-year-old women.”

Risqué doesn’t work for everyone, so she said stocking a couple of things with a little more coverage is a must.

One of Gerard’s main struggles was coming up with a name for her new adventure, even though now that it has a name it seems so obvious.

“My original idea was to call it coquette, which is French for ‘flirt,’ but I wasn’t sure if everyone would understand,” Gerard said. “Everybody knows how to flirt.”

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