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Intimate Affair: Bra La Mode presents an Intimate Affair featuring Crème Bralée Lingerie

30 Apr

Please join me on Wednesday, May 15th for an Intimate Affair featuring Crème Bralée Lingerie.  View the all new Crème Bralée collection – inspired by luxury and opulence – each piece celebrates a shapely and curvy figure.  Meet the designers and manufacturers behind the brand and mingle with fellow Intimate Insiders while sipping pink bubbly and sweet French treats.  This event is exclusively for buyers/retailers and the media/press.  For an Event Invitation, Contact Us here.

CremeBralee_Event

“The all-new Crème Bralée collection offers fashion-forward lingerie for the sexy and sophisticated full-busted and full-figured woman.”
 
About Crème Bralée Lingerie and Q-T Intimates:  The Crème Bralée Lingerie collection is designed and manufactured by Q-T Intimates.  Since 1945, Q-T has been specializing in all categories of intimates; from basics and fashion sets, to bridal, nursing, sleepwear, dancewear, and shapewear.  Q-T Intimates is also the licensee for La Leche League International Intimates (LLLI), under which they design and manufacture a fabulous line of nursing intimate apparel, perfect for the fashion conscious, breastfeeding mother.  In addition to the many exciting brands that Q-T offers, they continue to supply many top retailers with private label programs – designing, fitting, and manufacturing to each client’s needs.

About Moira Nelson & Bra La Mode:  Moira Nelson has worked in the wholesale Intimate Apparel industry for over a decade and is the founder of Bra La Mode, a resource site for professionals in the Lingerie industry and related fields.  Bra La Mode takes a look inside Intimates by hosting unique intimate apparel related events and provides services specific to the lingerie industry.  The site features event coverage of Intimate Affairs, intimate interviews with Intimate Insiders, and opinion pieces providing Intimate Insights.  BraLaMode.com reaches hundreds of consumers, buyers, lingerie retail store owners, independent lingerie designers, wholesale manufacturers, influential lingerie bloggers, and other intimate apparel professionals (as well as those in related fields) on a daily basis.

Intimate Insiders, Intimate Affairs and Upcoming Events

1 May

Happy May Intimate Insiders!  The first week of May is Market Week for wholesale manufacturers in the Intimate Apparel industry.  Buyers from major retailers come into New York from around the country to get a look at the latest collections.  Most Buyers are finalizing their assortments for Fall & Holiday 2012 and previewing Spring 2013 collections.  Best of luck to everyone showing this Market.

During Market, the Intimate Apparel Council is holding “Retail Mobile Engagement” on Wednesday, May 2nd at the Union League Club, a panel discussion on mobile marketing. The panel will explain the different types of action codes, how to develop companion apps for iphone and andrioid platforms, and how a mobile engagement campaign can improve your business. The discussion will also include how to improve communication within your company using mobile devises. Featured Speakers include Leslie Burke, Director of Interactive Print at Conde Nast, John Puterbaugh, Ph.D, CEO & Founder at Nellymoser, Inc., and Liz Smith, Vice President of Marketing at Wacoal America, Inc.  The Intimate Apparel Council is a division of the American Apparel and Footwear Association.

The Lingerie Goddess, Margaret Shrum, is showcasing several NY-based Lingerie Designers at the “Shop for Kids” Spring Shopping Soiree on Tuesday, May 1st from 6-8pm at the Doncaster Fashion Showroom at 145 West 57th Street, 20th Floor (between 6th & 7th Aves.)  Margaret will be accompanied by Alexis Chasman who will be offering her Spring Accessories Collection.  A portion of the proceeds will benefit Change for Kids.  Join the Intimate Affair, have a glass of wine and indulge in affordable luxury!

My bosom buddy Jene Luciani taped a “bra makeover” segment for Wendy Williams on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 and I was asked to model the Curvy Kate “Princess” Bra on the show!  Check out the Video on YouTube.  You’ll get a kick out of it.  Just for the record, I was not pulled from the studio audience….  And no, I don’t really walk around sporting a bad case of the dreaded “quadra-boob!”  Taping this segment was a blast.  Technically speaking, I like to think I am the very first Curvy Kate USA Star in a Bra model!  My friend Erin McLaughlin from Bare Necessities joined us at The Wendy Williams Studio on Wednesday and was a lifesaver….  She helped to get me scooped, swooped and lifted into my Curvy Kate!  Bare Necessities provided vouchers to all of the audience members to redeem for the products featured on the segment!

Moira Nelson & Erin McLaughlin from Bare Necessities

ILOVEAGOOD hosted the store opening party for Bradelis New York on Thursday, April 26, 2012 in Nolita, NYC.  Guests of the exclusive Intimate Affair were offered bra fittings courtesy of the Bradelis bra fitters.  The Japanese fit technique of Bradelis is quite unique as compared to traditional U.S. methods.  I highly encourage you to visit one of Bradelis New York’s three locations to experience it for yourself.  Guests at the event included Luis Paredes, publisher of The Lingerie Journal, Krista Purnell of The Lingerie Post, “The Lingerie Godess” Margaret Shrum, Melissa Franchi of Nevaeh Intimates, Laura Mehlinger of Lola Haze Lingerie, Christi Reid of Journelle, among others.

Bradelis New York Grand Opening Party

Bra La Mode is having an Intimate Affair on Saturday, May 12th at Bra Smyth in NYC!  It is a “Celebration of Women” in honour of Mother’s Day including An Afternoon Tea Party (and champagne, of course) hosted by Chambre de Sucre Imported Gourmet Sugars.  The Intimate Affair is sponsored by luxury French lingerie brand Simone Perele in collaboration with The Lingerie Journal.  Our featured guest is Fine Lingerie Stylist and Personal Shopper, “The Lingerie Goddess” Margaret Shrum.  Guests are encouraged to RSVP to bralamodemothers.eventbrite.com.

I will be co-hosting a press/media event with the US distribution company, Revival Brands, in the end of May or early June (we are finalizing the details as we speak.)  The Intimate Affair will feature luxury, Italian brand Philippe Matignon.  Philippe Matignon’s luxurious hosiery was introduced to the States last year….  And now, their Intimate Apparel line is being introduced to the U.S. market at this exclusive industry event.  Stay tuned for details.

Save the date for June 26th, 2012.  Luxury swimwear designer, Caitlin Kelly, will be hosting a Launch Party to showcase her designer swimwear line.  The Intimate Affair will include a runway show, cocktails, music, dancing and gifts for VIP guests!

Got Insight?  Having an Intimate Affair?  Let us know!  Everyone can be an Intimate Insider! 

As seen on LingerieBriefs.com.

Intimate Affair: Intimate Apparel Council Hosts Retail Expert Marshal Cohen

3 Nov

The Intimate Apparel Council (a division of the American Apparel and Footwear Association) presented “New Retail Rules” with speaker Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst of the NPD Group, on Monday, October 31, 2011 at New York City’s private Union League Club.  Marshal was invited to speak to members of the Intimate Apparel Council regarding issues directly affecting our industry as well as nationwide retail trends, the economy, and other factors influencing “Consumerology” (the science of the consumer).  Marshal’s Intimate Insights proved to be extremely useful in helping the intimate apparel professionals in attendance to better understand the mindset of today’s consumer, the significance of brand power, and the importance of innovation.

Marshal Cohen

Marshal Cohen is an economist, but he thinks of himself as a retailer first and foremost.  He is a nationally-known expert on consumer behavior and the retail industry.  Marshal has followed retail trends for more than 30 years, at NPD, as the head of leading fashion and apparel companies, as well as at major retailers.  As part of his work at NPD, Marshal leads many top firms in long-range and strategic planning sessions.  Marshal recently published his second book, Buy Me! How to Get Customers to Choose Your Products and Ignore the Rest.  I am pleased to share his expertise with you as it is invaluable to professionals working in either retail or wholesale environments.

Marshal confirmed that there are indeed challenges in our industry, but the key for us is to think of these challenges as opportunities.  But how can we do that?  First, we need to identify the mindset of the consumer and to look at their buying habits.  Marshal says that today, everything starts with the consumer.  They are the epicenter.  In essence, they drive retail.  They dictate what we create and how we market it.  If we want to be successful in selling our product or services, “we need to adapt to the consumer rather than demand that they adapt to us,” Marshal said.

We have entered a new “era of consumption.”  Before the recession, we were in an era of “conspicuous consumption.”  There were no limits to the amount of money being spent.  If a consumer wanted it, he bought it!  The mindset of the consumer was different than it is now.  Now, the mindset is “calculated consumption.”  Today, the consumer asks himself, “Do I need it?  Do I want it?  Can I buy it elsewhere for less?”  At the beginning of the recession, the consumer was in a state of “frugal pride” (he simply stopped spending.)  Now, he’s in a place of “frugal fatigue” (he’s tired of living on such a tight budget… he’s loosening his belt a bit….).  So he’s back to spending money, but he is operating from the mindset of “calculated consumption.”  As a manufacturer or supplier of goods and/or services, we need to ask ourselves- does my product match up with this mindset?  Does my product or service deliver on its promise?  We now need to justify our product… We can’t just hang it on a rack and trust that it will sell. 

How do consumers describe “value” today?  Two years ago, the answer would have been “lowest price.”  Today, it is “Brand Names for Less,” and secondly, “More Product for Less”.  Branding is important.  Specialty retail is growing.  And, the number one growth area is in factory outlets!  This is where the consumer can still purchase the brand names he wants, but at a lower retail price.  To the consumer, this translates into perceived value.  What does this mean for us?  As a manufacturer, we need to help the consumer to understand why our product is worth their money.  We need to earn their purchase today.  This requires more work on our part.  And we need to look at how this fits into our business model.

There are numerous factors that influence buying habits.  Believe it or not, the weather can play a role in spending.  This past year is what meteorologists refer to as a “dramatic weather period.”  These periods historically happen every 8-10 years and they last for 9-14 months.  We are in the eighth month of the current dramatic weather period.  Just this past weekend, we saw snow before Halloween in parts of the country; other areas suffered record rains this year while others suffered from drought and record high heat, etc.  How does this affect the way we spend?  Marshal provided a concrete example which made a lot of sense.  Typically in mid August, consumers are budgeting for Back to School purchases.  But this year, the consumer’s buying habits were influenced by the fear of Hurricane Irene.  Right in the middle of the prime Back to School buying season, money was spent on bottled water, flashlights, light bulbs, sandbags, generators, etc.  And many consumers were forced to shell out money to repair their homes after the hurricane (flood damage, etc.)  Thus, there was less money to spend on typical Back to School items like apparel and accessories, consumer goods, etc.  The government can also impact spending.  As the U.S. government was debating whether to raise the debt ceiling, consumers simply stopped shopping.  Once an agreement was reached, the consumer reverted back to buying.  Also, we’re coming into a major election year.  Historically, whenever we are in a major election year, the consumer takes a step back.  And without a solid jobs program, we will likely not see economic recovery any time soon.  What happened to jobs?  Many have been outsourced overseas and many jobs have been replaced by technology (instead of bank tellers, we use ATM’s or bank online.)  We are in the deepest and potentially longest recession since World War II. 

These are the harsh realities of our current condition.  So, what’s the answer?  Marshal says “Innovation!”  How do we create innovation?  First, we need to think about technology.  Electronics are seeing the highest level of growth.  The consumer is much more passionate about electronics than fashion because of its innovation.  We need to make sure our product or service is wanted and needed!  And, it needs to be practical for us to execute it from a costing standpoint.  We can all see how Apple revolutionized retail by implementing the principle of “create a want and a need.” 

Reebok's ZigTech

And just this past year, Reebok doubled their business by utilizing technology.  Their unique ZigTech sole created a want and a need.  They put innovation ahead of branding.  Marshal said, “A product becomes worthy of purchase because of what it does, not because of the brand.”  So, the challenge for us is to create innovative products!  Marshal says, “Basics maintain volume, innovation drives growth.”

We are in an era of “calculated consumption,” but are entering a “brand renaissance.”  The consumer is looking for brand equity with value.  Marshal referenced Target’s Missoni launch this past September.  It was a huge success from a retail standpoint.  It satisfied the consumer’s demand for a brand name at a great value.  It created the want and the need.  The consumer was willing to spend because of its perceived value as he is now operating from a place of “frugal fatigue.” 

In the intimate apparel world, bra and panties sales are generally flat to last year.  Why?   Because there was no innovation.  Marshal also talked about understanding the need cycle.  How often does a woman buy a new bra?  What about new underwear?  Shapewear sales were down -18% to last year.  This is likely a result of the need cycle.  To me, this means that I can increase the rate of the need cycle (and ultimately boost my sales) if I create an innovative product that gives my consumer that “want and need.”  And Marshal stated that we can build brand loyalty if we can better understand the need cycle.

Another important component in “Consumerology” is to understand the influence of technology.  How are we marketing to today’s consumer?  Today’s consumer is multi-tasking…  She is on her cell phone, while emailing, and surfing the internet, all while updating her Facebook status.  Cellphones and the iPad (and other tablets) make this possible.  And, social media is breaking all of the traditional rules of marketing and advertising.  How do we balance all of this?  We need to adapt to all forms of media.  I recently learned the new phrase SoLoMo: Social, Location, Mobile.  Personally, I don’t think we can underestimate the power of these methods of marketing.  I shared my Intimate Insights on The Lingerie Journal earlier this week regarding the importance of social media in the intimate apparel industry.  You can read the Article here.

Marshal concluded the session by talking about balance.  As a manufacturer or supplier of a product or service, we need to find a way to balance the risk versus the reward, selling direct to consumer versus wholesale, manufacturing brands versus private label product, and providing basic product versus developing innovative goods.  And based on the insight he provided, he encouraged us to take the leap.  This is the time to embrace change!

About The Intimate Apparel Council

The Intimate Apparel Council (IAC) is one of the most prestigious organizations in the industry and is comprised of leading designers, brands, retailers and suppliers of intimate apparel products. The mission of the IAC is to stimulate the growth of the intimate apparel business by creating a network and a forum to actively identify, address and act on matters of interest to the industry.  The IAC cooperates with consultants and others in gathering information of special concern to intimate apparel design houses and engages in public relations programs for the benefit of the consumer, the retailer and the manufacturer and design house.

The IAC is a division of The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA).  AAFA is the national trade association representing apparel, footwear and other sewn products companies, and their suppliers which compete in the global market. AAFA’s mission is to promote and enhance its members’ competitiveness, productivity and profitability in the global market by minimizing regulatory, legal, commercial, political and trade restraints.

Resources:

Marshal Cohen & the NPD Group

www.npd.com/marshalcohen

Follow @MarshalCohen

The Intimate Apparel Council

www.IntimateApparelCouncil.org

The American Apparel & Footwear Association

www.ApparelandFootwear.org

Follow @ApparelFootwear

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