Lingerie Retailers, Distributors Prepare for Fall, Winter Shopping Season

Genie Davis

Knowing what lingerie brands are the most popular nationwide, and just how to best prepare for the upcoming holiday season are key to succeeding in a crowded retail marketplace. Distributors, brick and mortar stores, and online retailers all weigh in on this season’s hottest trends.

At Honey’s Place, a San Fernando, Calif.-based distributor, buyer Kyle Tutino says the most popular lingerie brands currently on the market for her company include Leg Avenue, Shirley of Hollywood, and Seven Til Midnight. Tutino notes that customers are willing to invest not just in lingerie items, but also in buying accessories such as hosiery to accompany these items. For Halloween, she cites a trend toward building your own costume. “If you already have a cat suit at home, you could pair that with some new cat ears and a tail. In terms of complete costumes, usually the sweet spot in pricing is between $49.99 and $39.99.” Tutino says Honey’s Place supports retailers with in-store marketing and displays from a number of vendors, but it is also working on their own support campaign. “We’re capitalizing on the build-your-own-costume trend, giving customers ideas of what to buy to create a complete outfit.” Is it important for adult retailers to maintain a lingerie section? The answer is a definitive yes from Tutino. “Lingerie is a part of the whole experience. Many times, if you’re going into an adult store to purchase an item, you’re also creating an event, and lingerie is a big part of that.” Honey’s Place carries men’s lingerie as well as women’s and Tutino has noticed a “growing trend and definite increase” in demand.

Lingerie is a part of the whole experience. Many times, if you’re going into an adult store to purchase an item, you’re also creating an event, and lingerie is a big part of that. -Kyle Tutino, Honey's Place

At Eldorado Trading Company, marketing communications specialist Catherine Korfel finds the most popular lingerie brands currently on the market include “Dreamgirl, René Rofé, Pink Lipstick, Escanté, G World, Kitten by Allure, Fantasy Lingerie, Shirley of Hollywood, and Jack Adams, just to name a few.” The company also stocks a growing category of men’s lingerie items including brands such as Jack Adams, Magic Silk, Male Power, Piasaa, and Male Basics.” For the holidays, Korfel advises preparing to buy early, and both seasonally and year-round, Eldorado offers retailers support through “POS materials, shelf-talkers and signs — all free of charge to retailers, produced by our lingerie vendors.” Korfel asserts that with the lingerie industry growing yearly, it’s vital for adult stores to maintain a lingerie section. “Lingerie offers great upsell and cross-sell opportunities for retailers that carry both lingerie and toys. It’s also a good complementary product to either toys or lubes.”

At retailer Peekay Inc., vice president of marketing Martin Walker says the amount consumers are willing to invest in lingerie items in general and on Halloween costumes specifically “varies widely depending on the customer,” but cites the popularity of both purchase areas. Peekay offers extensive men’s lingerie, and in general is “completely dedicated to offering a robust assortment of lingerie for our customers across the board.”

Megan Swartz, buyer and general manager for Deja Vu in Las Vegas, finds that the most popular lingerie brands include Dreamgirl, Lapdance, Leg Avenue, Coquette, Escante, Haute and Fantasy Lingerie, with price points ranging from $10 to corsets in the $100-300 range. “For Halloween costumes, we find customers will spend anywhere from $40-400 depending on what they are planning. In Las Vegas, the Fetish and Fantasy Ball happens every Halloween. Guests will spare no expense to be the best dressed at the hottest Halloween party in the country.” To prepare for the Halloween season, Swartz says, “We build walls from 2’ by 10’ grid-wall to display over 1,000 costumes each season. We definitely stock a fair share of the more risqué costumes. Most of our customers are looking to wear as little as possible. We also have accessories for DIY costumes.” For the winter holidays, Swartz notes, “we do well with packaged lingerie. It’s easy for men to grab something as a gift when they can see it pictured on a cover.” Swartz calls Halloween and Valentines Day “our busiest days of the year. We start putting Halloween costumes out in the middle of August. Typically the smaller sizes move faster, and no matter how much we increase the quantity when we purchase, we still seem to sell out. We do a nice display for fun Santa costumes right around the first week of December.”

Swartz also stocks a wide range of men’s lingerie. “There are quite a few clubs here that host male reviews, and we see most of their entertainers shopping for costumes and underwear.” While more women than men purchase lingerie at Deja Vu, both men and women are buying.

In Chandler, Ariz., Jessica Feldman, marketing consultant for the Fascinations retail chain, names Dreamgirl, Coquette, Seven ‘til Midnight, and Oh la la Cheri as popular sellers. As for how much consumers are willing to invest in lingerie items, she notes, “Anywhere from $20 to $60; for Halloween costumes, popular price points are $40 to $60.” She finds men’s loungewear is a big category, too. “The majority of our customers are women, and they want to shop for the men in their lives. We carry a wide men’s assortment including collections from Andrew Christian, Junk Underjeans and Papi.” For Halloween and other holidays, Feldman says Fascinations starts “several months in advance, analyzing the trends and coming up with a game plan. We start prepping for Halloween in late August, and once Halloween is over, we prep for the winter holidays. We have packaged costumes and we offer several kits so customers can build their own unique costume. For winter, red is always popular. We offer Mrs. Claus looks, sexy baby dolls and robes, and anything with marabou is always a hot-selling item.” Feldman adds that Fascinations’ teddy assortment is growing substantially this year due to the item’s pop culture popularity.

Sally Fish, public relations executive for the U.K.’s Lovehoney, says that the online retailer’s most popular brands include “great new collections from Oh La La Cheri and Dreamgirl. It’s also great to see more from Seven ‘til Midnight and Baci, which have been consistent customer favorites for years. Our Lovehoney Lingerie is not even a year old and it’s also doing incredibly well.” She sees the average lingerie spending price point as “around the £30 mark. More experienced lingerie shoppers spend more, and newbies spend less.” Lovehoney has just begun to sell men’s lingerie, but finds it doing well. “Online shopping for lingerie is becoming more and more popular as consumer confidence grows. At Lovehoney we’re known for our excellent returns policy. If it doesn’t fit — send it back! That helps stimulate sales, too.” To additionally ensure customer satisfaction, Fish says, “We attend trade and fashion shows all over the world to make sure we’re ahead of the game, and we fit-test as much as possible, to make sure we’re offering our customers great lingerie in all sizes.” She relies on Twitter, Facebook and a newly launched Instagram account to connect with her customers.

At Pink Cherry, owner Daniel Freedman relates that his site does well with Rene Rofe, Lapdance, Pink Lipstick, Fantasy Lingerie, and a new series of products from iCollection lingerie. “Our demographic usually spends $60 or below on lingerie, with the magic number being between $30 and $40.” Freedman has recently brought in Male Power lingerie for men. “It has definitely gone from zero to hero in the last year and a half, but women’s lingerie is still 95 percent of our business.” Freedman notes that online shopping for lingerie is expanding. “People are buying more of everything online, from toothpaste to lingerie.” And in regard to online lingerie sales specifically “The selection is much wider in an online environment. We are unique in the fact that we actually stock all of our products — we have a 25,000 square foot warehouse in Toronto and 40,000 square feet in Las Vegas.” Freedman connects with his customers primarily through Google ads and email blasts. He’ll soon have exciting news to promote. “We’ll have announcements coming out around the end of August about a new site. We intend to turn into a significant player in the online lingerie industry.”

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