Meet Alicia Vargo,  CEO and Owner of Pampered Passions Fine Lingerie in Park Meadows, CO

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do professionally.
For the past 10 years I have run Pampered Passions Fine Lingerie, a lingerie boutique in Denver, Colorado and online. My husband John and I opened the store to give women an experience to shop for lingerie in a nurturing, warm and caring environment rather and not be “just another lingerie store” trying to sell and glorify sex. It’s my personal and professional mission to nurture the female spirit, making women feel beautiful no matter what their size, shape or background, and that is what I do each day.

What do you enjoy most about your profession and why did you choose it in the first place?

Simply put, I get to work with the most amazing women! From my amazing team of employees to the warm customers that visit our store and online business each day, we encounter so many wonderful people with great stories to share. I’m always amazed at how lingerie can truly change people’s lives, really!
Beyond the business it’s really about the work I do in the community with many organizations that work with breast cancer survivors and disadvantaged women. I am able to live my mission of ALL women feel beautiful inside and out. Our business affords us the luxury of assisting women less fortunate everyday.

Tell us about the non-profit/charitable/community organizations your company supports? Why did you choose them?
First, I have partnered with Dress for Success to fit disadvantaged women with new bras. Dress for Success is an international not-for-profit organization that promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire and career development tools. Through this partnership, I travel the country to fit women in need with new bras. Dress for Success takes care of their outerwear, we make them feel confidant “all under,” which is just as important as the suits, shoes and purses. In addition, Pampered Passions Fine Lingerie donates hundreds of bras each year to the organization for these events and more. All of our efforts here – travel, hotel and product – are pro bono.. To date I’ve fitted hundreds of women with new bras in cities such as Denver, New York City, Seattle and Colorado Springs. Many of these women have never had a new brand, much less ever been properly fitted for one. It brings joy to my heart to provide this service to the world.
Second, I am committed to helping the breast cancer community feel nurtured as well. I spearhead an annual Lingerie Fashion Show each year to raise thousands of dollars for breast cancer research. Most of the lingerie models in the fashion show are breast cancer survivors. There is rarely a dry eye in the house at the end of the show. I have also partnered with the American Cancer Society to fit women who have undergone mastectomies and don’t have insurance to receive a complimentary new bra and prothesis The American Cancer Society donates wigs, bras, prosthesis and many other things to the women without insurance – and Pampered Passions Fine Lingerie will be supplementing these donations as more women need help. My official role is “Bra Ambassador” and I’ll be traveling the country to help women get the bras they need after surviving difficult procedures and treatments. Additionally, I founded the Breast Cancer Pirates program, the only support program in Colorado to match breast cancer survivors with new breast cancer patients. It’s a way for me to give back to the world and community that has given me so much. We have made many “matches” already and plan to bring more women together in the future as the program grows.

How has your support impacted the organization?  You/your company?

We do all these community programs because it makes sense to help others. It’s our faith and our mission in life.  Its wonderful that many large corporations write checks to different charitable organizations, but it’s a bit different perspective being so “hands on” in the trenches! We have been blessed to be rewarded for our efforts and we are forever grateful when that happens. Personally, I received the Leading Lady Award in 2009 by Ladies Who Launch, an organization that supports female entrepreneurship. I was named Outstanding Women in Business by the Denver Business Journal in 2010, in recognition for our extensive community service and outreach programs.  Pampered Passions Fine Lingerie took home the Best Shops Award in 2010 from leading lingerie magazine, Intima, in honor of our extended commitment to our community.

What is the biggest risk you ever took professionally and/or the biggest obstacle you have overcome?

Starting a business was a huge risk for me. I left a comfortable job and began Pampered Passions Fine Lingerie during a time when businesses – particularly dotcoms – we’re coming and going. I believe that entrepreneurs who aren’t afraid to take risks, make mistakes and risk failing at times are the ones who find the most success and who are most admired among their peers.

From where do you draw inspiration? Who have been your role models, mentors, etc?

I find a lot of comfort and support from my husband, John, who is my rock. He brings so many creative ideas to the table and helps me focus on my priorities.  I take tremendous inspiration from the ladies I fit who are less fortunate.  The ladies who are associated with Dress for Success or the breast cancer survivors are very genuine, courageous ladies doing their very best to get through their own personal obstacles. I also take great inspiration from the women I am surrounded by, particularly other entrepreneurs. I admire how they grow and nurture their businesses and “borrow” ideas from them all the time!

What one thing would you like to learn this year?
How to be more than one person! To be involved in surgeries with plastic surgeons to better equip my knowledge for post-op fittings since we help so many women in that situation.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? On a council assisting women in a multitude of capacities.

What do you do for fun/relaxation/entertainment?
Meditation, yoga, spend time with my family, stained glass.

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