I talk to people in the lingerie industry every day, and a lot of them – particularly the smaller, independent companies – ask the same questions again and again. Namely, how can they build their business? How can they boost their bottom line and be more profitable without having the business take over their lives completely. 7 Steps to Boost Your Lingerie Business takes real-world examples of companies from throughout the industry and applies an important business objective to each one. Manufacturers, retailers and even bloggers will get tremendous value from this book because it’s about the world we live in, written in the terms we all deal with every day.
I wanted to post a personal note about a subject that is always a “hot topic” in industry news: proper fit, function and the sizing of bras. Everywhere you look, a news outlet is talking about how many women are wearing the wrong size bra. And in the past year or so, we have seen numerous brands and businesses attempting to resolve this issue with new fit techniques, new sizing systems, innovative business models, at-home fittings, subscription services, apps, algorithms, etc, etc. As we all know from working in this industry, it’s not easy to properly fit a woman to make sure she is in the best sized bra for her. That is where Ali Cudby comes into the picture!
Ali Cudby, the author of Busted! The Fab Foundations Guide to Bras that Fit, Flatter and Feel Fantastic, started the FabFit Academy where you can take a virtual certification course to become an expert fitter! I highly regard Ali’s methodology and suggest that you arm yourself with the expertise to give you the competitive edge that is so desperately needed to stand out in this difficult market. In my business, I am always looking for ways to differentiate my services and provide added value. Here’s one opportunity to set yourself apart!
Whether you are an emerging brand, start-up company, manufacturer, retailer or other industry pro, you can benefit from Ali’s course. It’s in our best interest to keep up-to-date on the latest happenings in the business.
Because I believe in Ali’s expertise and want to see all of us excel in our respective businesses, I am offering a 1 Hour FREE Skype Video Chat Consultation to anyone that signs up for Ali’s upcoming course using this link:
Ali has extended the deadline to register….. exclusively for friends of Bra La Mode….Register by Tuesday, October 22nd!
Don’t miss out on this opportunity to hone your skills and ultimately increase your revenues.
May All of your Dreams Become a Reality!
Only 1 FREE Hour Skype Video Chat Consultation per Registrant. New Clients Only. You will be contacted to schedule your 1 FREE Hour by November 15, 2013. FREE Consultation to take place prior to February 1, 2014.
I am pleased to announce the official launch of Bra La Mode Consulting. I initally launched Bra La Mode in September 2011 with the notion that I could be of service to individuals and/or businesses that are looking to break into the intimate apparel industry. Over the course of the past two years, it became apparent that there was a definitive need for the services I could provide. The business has evolved over time, and the result is Bra La Mode Consulting.
I established the full-service consulting company to assist independent lingerie designers, start-up companies and other small, wholesale Intimate Apparel businesses in executing their vision.
From concept to consumer, I collaborate with my clients, evaluate their individual needs and formulate a strategic plan to execute their initiatives.
Some clients approach me in the concept stage. We work together to establish a solid business plan and budget; we focus on brand identity, define the target consumer, determine key differentiators, create a marketing strategy, and then move forward with a clear plan of action. I walk my clients through product development, pre-production and production, including the sourcing of materials and locating the appropriate production facility (domestic or overseas)….all the way through the launch of their brand or business.
Others reach out to me after they’ve launched. We evaluate their current business to determine weaknesses and missing links. Is their marketing strategy in sync with their brand identity? Do they have a clearly defined target consumer or are they still trying to target a base of consumers that is too broad? How can we tighten up their strategy to achieve success?
I take great pleasure in watching my clients’ businesses evolve and grow. Each client is different. With a one-on-one approach, I devise a strategic plan tailored specifically to each brand’s individual needs and implement key initiatives to execute their objectives.
Follow @MoiraNelson & @BraLaMode
Naked Princess is the new brand in town, although one look at their website reveals that this less than one year old brand is here to stay. Naked Princess produces luxury lingerie and eco-friendly body products that allow women to incorporate that classic boudoir feeling into their everyday life. The lingerie is meticulously crafted from luxurious European fabrics including modal and cashmere blends married with clipped, French leavers laces, and many pieces include hand-stitched details. The beauty and body products are all light and natural; instead of covering things up, they enhance your own natural beauty. And, all of their products are made right here in the USA. Naked Princess works to create a world where every woman can live, love, and reign elegantly over her own life and lingerie collection!
Fittingly, this brand was conceived and brought to market by two deeply intelligent and elegant women. Jordana Woodland is the founder and CEO of the company, while Rebecca B. Frank is co-founder and Chief Creative Officer overseeing all creative, research and product development for the brand. Rebecca is also creative director for the content in Reign, the lifestyle magazine associated with the brand.
Naked Princess has successfully achieved an elegant and ethereal brand identity which is apparent in the tiniest of details. Even their gift boxes are branded to convey the sensibility of the brand! I asked Rebecca and Jordana what inspired the look and feel of the brand. Rebecca told me that, “Our goal is create a lifestyle that empowers women to be confident in and outside of the boudoir. Our desire is to have all women experience luxury, romance and femininity. It’s not about being overtly sexual or obscene. We believe in a “boudoir state of mind” and truly want women to relish the feeling of beautiful undergarments and luxurious, clean beauty products.” When the two women sought inspiration, they went directly to Jordana’s collection of antique perfume bottles and vintage lingerie. “I’ve been collecting antique perfume bottles and vintage lingerie for quite some time,” Jordana says. “I have always appreciated beautiful details and use this to influence my interiors and environments. It’s become a lifestyle, actually. I’ll buy exquisite lingerie strictly for the art of it and never wear the piece. This is what started it all. I was sharing my collection with Becca and we both realized that this would make for an interesting collection that really harnesses the European sensibilities of boudoir and the art of dressing.”
Their collection goes far beyond elegance and femininity, though. The Naked Princess team has worked hard to ensure that each piece is supremely comfortable and that their size range covers a wide variety of women. Jordana says that their collection is for women who appreciate function as well as form. “I’ve always been inspired by the intelligent and hard-working women I have met in my life. There’s so much beauty in being a women and celebrating it. There’s nothing more inspiring than creating a brand that encourages a woman to experience happiness, love and sexiness, all at once.” Rebecca is focused on producing a larger size range so that a more diverse group of women can enjoy their luxurious pieces. “I’m inspired by creating luxury that can be experienced by all women. Society has treated the most beautiful and skinniest women as the elite and we’re trying to help resolve this conundrum. This is why we make all of our apparel in a full size range of XS to XL.”
Many brands add a line of beauty products as an afterthought, but Naked Princess has worked hard to develop beauty products that match the sensibility of each collection season after season; and are all natural. Rebecca graciously described the development process of the lingerie and beauty lines to me, “We feel that there are many parallels between luxury lingerie, beauty and the scents and fragrances that help make special moments all that more memorable. Instead of treating the apparel line in a seasonal sense, we are inspired by the narrative of a love story and use it to infuse all aspects of the products in all of the product categories. In the first collection titled “And She Lived Lovely Ever After,” we played with neutral and nude tones that work in both the lingerie and lip products. Jordana and I worked with our team to create our first custom blended scent, Vanille Blanc –a warm and inviting scent, much like the warmth and comfort provided by the extremely soft cashmere MicroModal blend fabrics we used in the loungewear. Our second collection, “A Thousand Kisses Deep,” is truly inspired by our muse, Jordana. We actually looked to her for the sole inspiration for the custom floral scent called Fleur de Vivre, and the all Chantilly lace lingerie. The creation of the new fragrance is a combination of top notes often worn by Jordana herself. And the exquisite details of the Chantilly lace highlights Jordana’s love for intricate design.”
So how do you define sexy? These two elegant women seem to have it figured out. “For me, sexy is about knowing who you are inside…and using that knowledge and confidence to play up those assets on the outside,” says Rebecca. While Jordana believes that sexy is as simple as a confident smile.
To purchase Naked Princess lingerie and beauty products, go to:
Naked Princess Atelier
Combining the best elements of a marketing seminar, a lingerie fashion show and a networking event, New York City’s newest Lingerie Trade Show, the Lingerie Designer Showcase presents a Brand Affair Event in collaboration with my company Bra La Mode on Wednesday, February 22, 2012 at The Producers Club (358 West 44th Street).
The Brand Affair is a panel discussion on the importance of Marketing and PR for lingerie brands and businesses and is moderated by Margaret Shrum, the Lingerie Goddess, and includes as panelists, Lauren Rich, founder + director of RICHPR, a Fashion PR agency specializing in intimate apparel; Treacle, the Founder of The Lingerie Addict and digital media consultant for the lingerie industry, and Dan Sackrowitz, VP of Marketing and New Business Development at BareNecessities.com. Attendees will learn about overcoming the challenges inherent in both digital and traditional marketing and gain insight into building their brands and boutiques.
The panel discussion will be concluded with a “Lingerie Exhibition” fashion show featuring the latest designs of the independent designers showcasing their collections at the Lingerie Designer Showcase – Andrea Billard, Ann Vogue, Clare Bare Lingerie, Dottie’s Delights, Fred and Ginger, Good Night Gilda, Ombrato Sleepwear, Priscilla Jade Lingerie and Toad Lillie.
All industry professionals are welcome to attend an “Intimate Affair” Networking Social immediately following the panel discussion and lingerie exhibition at The Lounge at The Producer’s Club. The Brand Affair is co-hosted and sponsored by Bra La Mode and The Lingerie Journal.
Brand Affair sponsors include Love Me Sugar Sleepmasks, Eucalan Lingerie Wash, Fits.me, PromoStyl, Lingerie Briefs, BareNecessities.com, The Lingerie Addict, RichPR, Affinitas Intimates, Gozooko, Directory-Sexy.com and The Full Figured Chest.
Luis Paredes, publisher of The Lingerie Journal and founder of the Lingerie Designer Showcase, and I share a passion for uniting independent lingerie designers, brands and businesses and larger scale intimate apparel companies, organizations and professionals. Our mission is to connect lingerie professionals from all aspects of the industry to collaborate, educate, inspire, empower, and to share resources to ultimately elevate the intimate apparel industry as a whole.
I was fortunate enough to connect with Designer Kriss Soonik while she was in New York City for Fashion Week early last month. The Estonia-born designer hails from London but her designs are influenced by her home country and she produces all of her goods in Estonia using fabrics, laces, and other raw materials she sources from around the World. While sipping tea at a midtown café, Kriss and I chatted about her background, how she got started, her passions, her current collection, the future for her namesake brand, and she graciously shared her advice for other independent designers looking to break into the business.
Kriss has been designing for over ten years. However, it is only in recent years that she has considered it her life’s work. Initially, it was a hobby for her. She graduated from college in Estonia with a BA degree in Business. And she moved to London just a little over six years ago where she studied Strategic Fashion Marketing at London College of Fashion. Designing came naturally to her, but she was also passionate about the branding and marketing of apparel. After finishing school, she went to work for the famed UK Lingerie company, Agent Provocateur. At Agent Provocateur, Kriss was responsible for retail marketing and pr including the planning of in-store events worldwide. Branding, marketing, and pr are passions of mine…. So, I was excited to learn how she plans to utilize her expertise and the knowledge she gained working at AP to make her own brand a success.
In the Fall of 2008 (as the recession first hit), Kriss started posting some of her designs on the well-known UK “chic lingerie boutique” site Glamorous Amorous. The site features emerging lingerie designers, and Kriss felt this would be a great way to receive feedback on her designs before taking the plunge to venture out on her own. By January of 2009, she had quit her job at Agent Provocateur, and her brand was officially born. The first Kriss Soonik collection launched in Spring/ Summer 2010.
Kriss’ friends and family thought she was crazy to leave a stable job to start her own business just months after the recession hit. But Kriss felt the timing was perfect! Production facilities were looking to fill their lines and retailers were looking for something fresh and new. Very few people were taking risks at this time because of their fear of the economic downturn. Kriss turned this into an advantage for her and capitalized on it.
When Kriss was initially developing the concept for her brand, most of the pieces she was developing were “experimental” showcase pieces. But once she ventured out on her own, she discovered a more practical sense. She had to think about how to wear them and how to make them; how to appeal to her target consumer without losing her brand identity. She has found that her best sellers are the more practical pieces, her Jersey Knit items in particular. Growing up in the colder climate of Estonia, she wanted to meld comfortable pieces with a more sexy, modern aesthetic.
Kriss says that her brand evolves as she evolves. She defines her brand identity as an effort to connect comfort and seduction. What exactly is “Kriss Soonik?” Loungerie! It happened by accident… It was a typo, actually. And as soon as she saw it on the screen, she knew this was it! Loungerie is luxe loungewear. Like lingerie is to underwear; loungerie is to loungewear…. Luxe Loungewear! Kriss is working to give a unique look to loungewear and has adopted the “innerwear as outerwear” concept. Her styles are multi-functional. Her target consumer is the woman that is looking for something different, new, and fresh. Although it is sold at a high-end price point, she feels her consumer is willing to spend the extra money for something unique that can be worn in multiple ways. My experience in the wholesale intimate apparel industry proves the same notion. When the economy first turned, consumers scaled back their spending and reverted to “generic” brands. But now that we’re several years into the recession, consumers are back to spending. But there is much more emphasis on “value.” Consumers are willing to spend the money if they are getting something “extra” for their spend….
Kriss’ current Fall/ Winter Collection really shows what it means for “innerwear to be outerwear.” Kriss is excited to see how her consumer interprets her styles. When Kriss and I met for tea back in early September, she was wearing a leather sheath dress AND her own Diana Wings Wrap (proving that her Loungerie can be worn as outerwear).
Kriss Soonik Loungerie is currently sold in boutiques and specialty stores (including ecommerce). She has considered breaking into the department store tier but is concerned it may get lost there. Her focus is on expanding her own ecommerce site which sells direct to consumer. She says that her website is proving to be an important tool in defining (and maintaining) her brand image. On her own site, she can show her consumer the various ways of wearing her styles. Her website and other media (including social media) will be powerful communication tools in expanding her brand.
This trip to New York City was Kriss’ first venture into the US. She really didn’t know what to expect. She said, “New York is the Fashion Capital of the World!” She couldn’t believe Fashion’s Night Out. The feedback and response she received during her Trunk Show at Journelle on Mercer Street in SoHo on September 8th was tremendous. She said her Susan Lace Bodysuits practically sell themselves. They are multi-functional; they can be worn as innerwear or as outerwear (layering pieces). They can be worn with the opening in the front or the back. In fact, Kriss wore her Susan Lace Bodysuit in Orange (with black trim) over a graphic tee shirt with a pair of pants on Fashion’s Night Out. Her Jersey Suspender Tops are top sellers as well. The biggest surprise was the popularity of her Triangle Bras in both Lace and Mesh.
Kriss already has brand loyalty to her “Classic Collection.” She plans to continue this Collection into the next Season and will be introducing White as a new colorway in January 2012. Early on, she made a lot of changes as the brand evolved. But she quickly learned that once you discover what your consumer wants, you have to give them what they want! She is still trying to determine the most efficient way of evolving season by season. She wants to continue introducing new styles each season… But she is still learning how to execute it- How many new pieces? How many new colors? When do we introduce them? As time goes by, the assortment will likely get tighter and tighter and her brand identity will become more clearly defined.
What’s next for Kriss Soonik Loungerie? Kriss let me in on a little secret…. But I can’t reveal all of the details yet! But if you plan on being in London on November 10th– mark your Calendar and don’t make any other plans! Kriss is preparing an exclusive “invite only” event for the evening of the 10th. Remember, she was once responsible for planning in-store events for Agent Provocateur retail stores worldwide…. So, I’m sure her own event will prove to be exciting and unexpected! You won’t want to miss it! Kriss loves the excitement of these promotional events.
I asked Kriss if she had any advice for other emerging designers looking to venture out on their own. She said “Be prepared! Everything takes much longer than you think. Be patient.” And, “Initially, you’re on your own. Trust your instincts. Ask for help. People are happy to help if you ask for it. I’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded by great people. But at the end of the day, it’s up to you! The high’s are higher and the low’s are lower. Ohhhh….But it’s sooo worth it!”
I can’t wrap up this story without letting you know the proper way to pronounce her last name…. One would think its pronounced “Sue-Nick.” I was delighted to find out that it’s actually pronounced “Sonic.” As in “Supersonic!” Now, we’ll never make that mistake again, will we?? Kriss laughed as she told me that she has been inspired by superheroes throughout her career…. I have to say this was one of the most delightful conversations I’ve had in a long time as Kriss was smart and sweet, funny, charming, and willing to share so much about her journey…. Thank you for taking the time to meet with me, Kriss! I wish you all the best in your career. We’re all waiting to see what’s next for Kriss Soonik! And I wholeheartedly support your efforts to expand your brand into the US market.
Follow @KrissSoonik on Twitter
About Kriss Soonik
Kriss Soonik [son-ik] launched her first collection in 2008 introducing her signature talent for giving the “underwear as outerwear” concept a fresh and modern twist. When the traditional approach has been about corsets as eveningwear, Kriss Soonik has started a new wave – wearing velour gowns to a chic Sunday brunch.
In 2009 the term “loungerie” was born. Loungerie is luxe loungewear at its freshest, blurring the boundaries with fashion. It’s not cute and sweet, it’s sexy and powerful. It is loungewear with an edge.
With stockists and fans worldwide the London based designer never fails to produce a collection that is fiercely contemporary yet nostalgic. Over the years she’s taken inspiration from Manga comics, superheroines and cult film figures to challenge the traditional attitudes associated with lingerie and loungewear. All of her designs are finished with the trademark cat or beautifully plump bow in patent leather, satin, silk or perhaps chiffon.
Born in Tallinn, Estonia, Kriss stands by having all of her designs handmade in her native country and produced from the finest materials she sources from across the globe.
Producing two collections a year, Kriss designs with the understanding that all women can be superheroes. This is lingerie and loungewear that empower, inspire and break the rules.