Tag Archives: Intimate Apparel Council

Intimate Insiders, Intimate Affairs and Upcoming Events

25 Oct

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month… which means that intimate apparel brands and businesses are stepping up to do their part to raise awareness and funds to “support” the organizations that dedicate themselves to this important cause.  Let’s take a moment to reflect on the hundreds of thousands of lives that have been lost to Metastatic Breast Cancer.  It seems that Breast Cancer Survivors get most of the attention this time of year….  Amidst the pink ribbons, armbands, t-shirts and such…  There are the family and friends of those who can no longer celebrate the good news of a clean bill of health.  To find out more about Metastatic Breast Cancer, go to www.mbcn.org  

Moira Nelson and Luis Paredes

Intimate apparel companies Freshpair.com, Naked Princess, and The Lingerie Alliance came together to sponsor PinkChoseMe Foundation’s BREAST RECONSTRUCTION AWARENESS (BRA) Day USA 2012 Celebration, an awareness and fundraising event held on Wednesday, October 17th, 2012.  The event’s primary sponsors included the Breast and Plastic Surgeons at the Weill Cornell Breast Center in NYC.  I was so moved by the breast cancer survivors that attended the event and the stories of those who were lost to metastatic breast cancer. Truly inspiring!  I am even more committed to dedicating my time and energy to supporting this cause. A year ago, I was embarrassed to discover that I knew so little about this important issue.  Today, I am proud to be involved and sharing the message of hope.

Anna Penc (left) and Bobbie Smith (right) from Freshpair.com

Wolford makes Shapewear?  YES, they do… And it’s as fabulous as their legwear.  In fact, lastweekend I popped into the Wolford store in the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle to steal a peek at the current Fall line.  Lots to add to my “Wish List.”  The ladies of ILOVEAGOOD are hosting an invite-only Intimate Affair at the Wolford Showroom today, October 25th.  Guests will be treated to Wolford’s “Shape and Control” experience.  Cocktails and a private shapewear fitting…. PLUS, a Free Gift!

Tomorrow, Friday, October 26, 2012, Linda the Bra Lady is hosting a Survive&Thrive Party at her Murray Hill store on 3rd Avenue in NYC.  The Intimate Affair will feature discounts on Anita brand products (basic bras, maternity, mastectomy and swimwear styles!), FREE gifts, a raffle, inspirational stories, goodies, FREE cocktails and treats, and will raise funds for a great cause! 

On Monday, November 5th, the Intimate Apparel Council is hosting “Innovative Peek at Intimate Apparel.”  Guests will hear from Ken Walker, Operating Partner – Innovation, MarvinTraub Associates, a renowned industry leader in retail design and brand building, as he speaks about the importance of using innovation to achieve success in a global marketplace.  This Intimate Affair will be held at the Union League Club on 37th Street.  Registration is FREE for all employees of an IAC member company.  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 Intimate Apparel Council is a division of the American Apparel & Footwear Association.

On November 7th, CASS Shapewear is hosting a press preview event– “Champagne, Caviar and CASS.”  Guests will have the opportunity to preview the CASS Spring ’13 Collections with Founder/Designer Susan Ledyard at the invite-only Intimate Affair.

The Intimate Apparel Square Club’s 57th Annual H.U.G. Awards Gala is being held on Wednesday, November 7, 2012.  This year’s Intimate Affair (called “An Enchanted Evening”) honors LuAnn Via, President and CEO of Payless ShoeSource, Inc., as well as Steven Chernoff, chairman of Rago Foundations, LLC and Janet Peters will be presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award for her dedication to the Club.  The annual event raises funds to support NYU Langone Medical Center’s RUSK Institute and Tisch Hospital.  Join us on November 7th at 230 Fifth Penthouse to celebrate the humanitarian achievements of our honorees and to support the “RUSK Kids.”  By the way, a little birdie told me that Bralebrity Jené Luciani may be involved in this event in a BIG way….  Stay tuned for the official announcement!

The Lingerie Alliance is proud to be participating in another fundraiser on November 18th at Teak Restaurant, in Red Bank, New Jersey.  The Intimate Affair, GO NAKED AND CHECK YOURSELF, is an evening dedicated to bringing awareness / prevention to detectible cancers where you can go naked and check yourself – skin, breast and testicular cancers.  The event is presented by Sugarush (a specialty bakery in Red Bank, NJ) and the award-winning lingerie boutique, Sweetest Sin.  The mission of Go Naked and Check Yourself is to take the stigma of embarrassment out of checking yourself, because early detection can prevent long term issues.  All proceeds from the event benefit charities such as The American Cancer Society.

Mark your calendars for these upcoming Intimate Affairs:

December 1, 2012- Bra La Mode presents “A Festive Affair” Holiday Trunk Show featuring Dirty Dolls Lingerie and Love & Dream Sleepwear and Loungewear.  Details to follow.

December 4, 2012 – The Underfashion Club’s Holiday Party at The National Arts Club on Gramercy Park South.

December 13, 2012- The Intimate Apparel Square Club’s Holiday Party at the RUSK Institute followed by a Dinner at Trattoria Alba.

December 18, 2012- The Lingerie Alliance is hosting A Festive Affair Holiday Networking Social at Legends Bar NYC.  Details to follow.

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

Intimate Insiders, Intimate Affairs and Upcoming Events

8 Aug

It’s that time of the year….  Too much lingerie; not enough time to do all of the things I want to do!  From trade shows to press previews, market week kick-off parties, fashion shows, seminars, conferences and other events….  There’s no rest for the weary!

On Wednesday, August 1, 2012, The Intimate Apparel Council hosted an Intimate Affair at the Union League Club in NYC.  Marshal Cohen, Chief Industry Analyst of The NPD Group, presented “50 Shades of Intimates.”  He discussed retail trends and the “consumerology” impacting our industry in particular.  Marshal provided invaluable intimate insight such as current “distractions” that are affecting consumer spending and he emphasized the importance of value and innovation. 

On Thursday, August 2nd, I had the privilege of attending a Press Preview Event where I was introduced to the EMPOWERED BY YOU (“EBY”) panty.  The high-tech panty incorporates a patented silicone “flocking” technology and side-seam fusion technique to prevent slippage, impart smoothness and ensure steady wear.  A cause-brand initiative, $1 from the sale of every EBY panty will fund Seven Bar Foundation, a non-profit organization that extends its trademark “ladder” to women out of poverty and into business through microfinance.  Each panty includes an insert with a testimonial from a woman who has been empowered by the Foundation, which works closely with both international and local partners such as Project Enterprise which benefits women in the New York City area.  Project Enterprise is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to support and develop entrepreneurs and small businesses in under-resourced communities in New York City.  The Seven Bar Foundation lends women a “hand up”, not a “hand out” by giving them a “first break”.

Luis Paredes and Moira Nelson

The Lingerie Alliance Launch Party and Lingerie Fashion Show held on Saturday, August 4th at The Griffin lounge in NYC was a huge success.  The Intimate Affair introduced industry leaders, buyers, media and press to the online collaborative community of intimate apparel professionals created by me and my partner, Luis Paredes.  We are so pleased with the way things turned out and are motivated by the enthusiasm and support we have received from the industry.  The Fashion Show featured the SS13 collections from the event’s key sponsor, Affinitas & Parfait, as well as the imaginative designs of independent brands Angela Friedman, Clare Bare Eco Intimates, Dirty Dolls Lingerie, Nevaeh Intimates, Ombrato and With Love Lingerie.  Buyers that missed the Intimate Affair on Saturday night can still get a look at the six emerging brands at the Lingerie Journal Designer Showcase today, August 8th at the AKA Hotel, Times Square, NYC.  The Showcase gives buyers that are looking for innovative, new collections the opportunity to meet one-on-one with these indie designers in a relaxed setting. 

The Best of Intima’s Best Shop Awards were held in the Penthouse at 230 Fifth Ave on Sunday, August 5th.  Last year’s winner of the Best of Intima’s Choice Award, Angela Courtney of Sweetest Sin Boutique in Red Bank, New Jersey, was an honored guest at this year’s awards ceremony.  She said, “It was a great night in Lingerie-land.  It was such an accomplishment for me to win last year’s Best Shop Award and reliving the night with the industry’s crème de la crème again this year was incredible.  I mingled with other boutique owners and CEO’s of the biggest lingerie brands.  Plus the venue was fabulous…a rooftop lounge overlooking the empire state building.  I’m truly looking forward to next year.” 

The 2012 Best of Intima Best Shop Awards were presented to:

Concept Store: Knickers of Hyde Park

European Flair: Forty Winks

Personal Touch: Toujours

Reference Shop: Sara’s Lingerie

The Best of Intima’s Choice: Le Boudoir, Inc.

And Special Recognition Prizes were awarded to:

Best Unexpected Location: Bella Fine Lingerie

Best Niche Product: Kaori’s Closet Tokyo

CONGRATS to the 2012 Best Shop Award Nominees and Winners!

On Monday evening, CURVENY presented The So Curve Fashion Show.  From ballet to burlesque… From a Gotye remix to a touch of the Material Girl…and intervals topless…. The So Curve Fashion Show performed by the renowned Crazy Horse Paris dancers at CurvExpo was a spectacular performance.  The dancers wore selected styles from exhibitors at CurvExpo including Affinitas, Fantasie, Fauve and Freya, Hanky Panky, LOU Paris, Simone Perele and Wacoal, among others. 

The bi-annual Lingerie Trade Show CURVENY just wrapped up and now they’re headed to Las Vegas.  CURVELV runs from August 21st through the 23rd at The Venetian.  Guests can register at www.curvexpo.com.

Last night, the Underfashion Club hosted “A Paris Report” which was presented by Mayouri Sengchanh of Carlin International.  The Intimate Affair featured a report on the MODE City and Interfiliere Trade Shows as well as highlights of the coming SS14 Season.

And tonight, the gals from ILOVEAGOOD are hosting Chantelle’s Fall/Winter 2012 Collection Preview.  The Intimate Affair is being held at the brand’s NY Showroom on Madison Ave and will include cocktails, professional bra fittings and gift bags!  Oooo La La!

What’s next?  Anyone planning a Fashion’s Night Out Event?  Let us know so we can spread the word here on Bra La Mode!

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

As seen on LingerieBriefs.com

Intimate Insiders, Intimate Affairs and Upcoming Events

31 Jul

I don’t know about you guys… But I’m extremely busy for the next three weeks.  The wholesale market is underway…  I have dozens of appointments over the next three weeks and my evenings and weekends are booked solid with other lingerie related events and parties!  Here’s a quick rundown of the happenings in the biz….

Tonight, Fruit of the Loom is throwing a party to celebrate August Market and to unveil their new FOTL, Inc. showroom on Broadway in NYC.  Guests will be treated to cocktails, light fare, music and more.

The Intimate Apparel Council is gathering together for their next event at the Union League Club in NYC on Wednesday, August 1, 2012.  Marshal Cohen, Chief Industry Analyst of The NPD Group, will present “50 Shades of Intimates” as he discusses trends impacting our industry.  The event is free for members of the Intimate Apparel Council (and their employees.)  The Intimate Apparel Council is a division of the American Apparel and Footwear Association.

The Lingerie Alliance Launch Party and Lingerie Fashion Show is this Saturday, August 4th!  The Intimate Affair will introduce industry leaders, buyers, media and press to the online collaborative community of intimate apparel professionals created by me and my partner, Luis Paredes.  The Fashion Show will feature SS13 collections from Affinitas & Parfait as well as the imaginative designs of independent brands Angela Friedman, Clare Bare Eco Intimates, Dirty Dolls Lingerie, Nevaeh Intimates, Ombrato and With Love Lingerie.  Buyers and Media/Press are welcome to attend the Intimate Affair or they can register to view the designer collections during Market Week.  Affinitas & Parfait will be exhibiting at CurvExpo from August 5th through the 7th while the five emerging, independent labels will be showing their lines at the Lingerie Journal Designer Showcase from August 5th through August 8th at the AKA Hotel, Times Square, NYC.  The Showcase gives buyers the opportunity to meet one-on-one with designers in a relaxed setting.  Buyers looking for innovative, new collections can pre-register for the Designer Showcase at: http://lingeriedesignershowcase.com/attendee-registration/

The bi-annual Lingerie Trade Shows CURVENY and The Lingerie Journal Designer Showcase kick-off here in NYC on Sunday, August 5th.  And then, CURVELV takes place a few weeks later in Las Vegas. 

The Best of Intima’s Best Shop Awards will be held in the Penthouse at 230 Fifth Ave on August 5th

On Monday, August 6th, our very own Ellen Lewis (my mentor and founder of Lingerie Briefs) and none other than the fabulous Lingerie Goddess & Sensuality Stylist Margaret Shrum are primary speakers at an event being held at the CURVENY trade show…  The Event called “The Yin and Yang of Lingerie” is presented by LELO and focuses on the margin potential of merchandising pleasure objects in a specialty store setting.  With a strong emphasis on a woman’s confidence and mental and physical health, this seminar will demonstrate how LELO takes the business of pleasure from the back room to the bottom line with style and class within specialty shops.  

That same night, CURVENY presents The So Curve Fashion Show featuring dancers who have performed with the original Crazy Horse Paris dance ensemble.  Participating brands include Affinitas, Fantasie and Freya, Hanky Panky, LOU Paris, Simone Perele and Wacoal among others.  Individuals registered to attend CurvExpo in NYC can sign up for various events taking place during CURVENY at: http://www.curvexpo.com/new-york/events-to-attend

On Tuesday, August 7th, the Underfashion Club is hosting “A Paris Report” to be presented by Mayouri Sengchanh of Carlin International.  The Intimate Affair will feature a report on the MODE City and Interfiliere Trade Shows as well as highlights of the SS14 Season.

On Wednesday, August 8th, the gals from ILOVEAGOOD are hosting Chantelle’s Fall/Winter 2012 Collection Preview.  The Intimate Affair is being held at the brand’s NY Showroom on Madison Ave and will include cocktails, professional bra fittings and gift bags!  Oooo La La!

In other news, lingerie and accessories boutique Linger in Spring Lake, NJ is going out of business.  You have only a few weeks left to score a few bargains on some fabulous European brands.

Some of you lady bloggers may be interested in attending the 8th Annual BlogHer Conference being held here in NYC August 2nd through the 4th.  For more details, go to:  http://www.blogher.com/conferences

And, Sanctuary Clothing recently announced a partnership with Los Angeles based lingerie design and manufacturing house, ESP Group, Ltd. to produce and distribute a new intimates collection, Sanctuary Femme.  The new line will officially launch at CURVELV in August.

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

As seen on Lingerie Briefs

Intimate Insiders, Intimate Affairs and Upcoming Events

8 May

Last week was a busy one here in New York City.  Buyers were in town for Market appointments; and business dinners and other events ensued late into the evening.  And it’s not over yet!  It seems that the wholesale Market Week is going to last for two weeks this year…..  Still lots of appointments on the calendar!

On Wednesday, May 2nd, the Intimate Apparel Council hosted “Retail Mobile Engagement” at the Union League Club, a panel discussion on mobile marketing. The panelists covered topics such as the different types of action codes and how to develop companion apps for iPhone and android platforms.  Panelists included 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.  Guests at the Intimate Affair included Gwen Widell and Victor Vega of Wacoal America, Steve Chernoff of Rago Shapewear, Joel Fertel of Womens Wear Daily, and the event’s host was Debby Long-Gedney of Biflex (current president of the Intimate Apparel Council,) among others.

Lorna Laurentino

The Fashion Institute of Technology held their annual end-of-year runway show, “The Future of Fashion,” last Wednesday evening.  The best work of FIT’s graduating fashion design students was presented in the professional runway show including sportswear, special occasion, knitwear, intimate apparel, and children’s wear.  Design student Lorna Laurentino presented in the Intimate Apparel category.  Cotton Incorporated presented awards for the “Best Use of Cotton.”  Lorna received the 2nd place award for her use of cotton in her designs.  The annual event was held at the college’s east side Manhattan “campus” and notable guests included Josie Natori, Calvin Klein and Joe Zee (Host of BRAVO’s “All on the Line with Joe Zee.”)  Follow tomorrow’s Intimate Apparel talent today at: www.lornalaurentino.com.

Also on Wednesday evening, International Intimates, Inc. (Rene Rofe) held an “invitation only” Launch Party to present their latest licensed brand, Isaac Mizrahi New York Intimates.  The Intimate Affair was held in a Penthouse Suite at the Dream Downtown Hotel.  Buyers and media were in attendance….  They enjoyed light snacks and an open bar while admiring Isaac’s Intimate line which places emphasis on body shaping.  Isaac himself attended the event along with his design team and executives from the brand’s owner, Xcel Brands.   Here’s the “Behind the Scenes” Video of the Isaac Mizrahi New York Intimates photo shoot:

On Thursday evening, I attended the monthly membership meeting of the Intimate Apparel Square Club.  Like usual, we enjoyed dinner and discussed Club business.  But this month, we were also joined by one of the administrators of NYU Langone Medical Center’s RUSK Institute of Rehabilitation medicine.  Pediatric Rehabilitation at the RUSK Institute is the primary beneficiary of the Club.  At Thursday’s meeting, we learned how our generous donations directly impact the lives of these children.  The institute is currently treating an infant with severe Cerebral Palsy.  This disability makes it virtually impossible for the child to function normally.  Per special request, a portion of the Club’s funds were used to purchase an iPad for this child.  Using a specially designed app, this 20-month old child is now able to communicate with his parents for the first time!  This story brought tears to my eyes and reaffirmed my personal commitment to the Club.  To find out more about the Club and the work we do, go to www.thehugaward.org

On Thursday, May 10th, the girls from ILOVEAGOOD are hosting a “Spring Fling” in collaboration with BedHead Pajamas at 252 Elizabeth Street, NYC.  The Intimate Affair is a press preview by “invitation only” and will feature fun drinks, great décor, and cute models in BedHead printed shorties.  This will be BedHead’s very first New York store! 

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.  Bring Mom in for a free bra fitting, enjoy some scones and tea, receive free gifts with purchase and gift bags AND receive 10% off all Sleepwear throughout the Event.  Special thanks to Bra Smyth for hosting the Intimate Affair and to the Event Sponsors and Participants: Simone Perele, The Lingerie Journal, Chambre de Sucre, “The Lingerie Goddess” Margaret Shrum, Naked Princess, Affinitas Intimates, Jene Luciani and The Bra Book, Fashion Forms and SOAKWash.

If you’re “down the shore” for Mother’s Day, stop into Sweetest Sin Bras on White Street in Red Bank, NJ to celebrate “Support Your Girls.”  Each year, downtown Red Bank becomes “Pink Bank.”  Paint the Town Pink strives to educate local women about a very significant fact that “early detection is a woman’s best defense against breast cancer.”  Sweetest Sin Bras is hosting an Intimate Affair which is sponsored by Chantelle Paris on Saturday, May 12th to “Support Your Girls.”

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

As seen on LingerieBriefs.com.

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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