LAS VEGAS — The Altitude Intimates show came to a close today with seminars and exhibitor booths presenting the latest trends in lingerie and intimacy products.
Christopher Scharff, CEO of DG Brands and one of the founders of the Altitude Intimates show, moderated the Business Roundtable of Key Fashion and Business Trends in the Lingerie Industry panel, where he informed attendees that Altitude would return to the Paris hotel in Las Vegas in September.
The panel offered their advice to retailers on how to captivate consumers by creating an experience. One of the easiest ways, the experts said, was to use colors.
For lingerie brands like Seven ‘Til Midnight, social media is playing a role in product development. Vinh Luong of Seven ’Til Midnight said that the company is designing pieces that are “Instagramable” with eye-catching front and back elements that stand out in photos.
Marcus Horea of Coquette added that also thanks to social media, more consumers are purchasing more outfits to avoid repeating outfits. “People don’t wear outfits more than once,” he said.
With more than 1 million followers on Instagram, Coquette’s plus-size model Ashley Alexiss also plays a vital role in the brand’s social media outreach. “We use our models as influencers,” Horea said.
Eldorado offered a presentation of its Elevate U e-learning series. Kira Manser, the clinical director of the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health, told attendees about the objective of the program — which is empower retailers with sexual health and pleasure information that can be passed down to consumers.
Lennox Ryerson-Gonzalez, an Adam & Eve store owner from Oklahoma, endorsed the Elevate U program, telling retailers that it is up to them to create a safe space for customers to shop and ask questions.
“I firmly believe in the value of sex education,” he said. “It creates credibility when customers can ask you the questions that they aren’t willing to ask even their doctors.”
During his talk, “The Disruption of the Internet and the Effects of Globalization on Lingerie Retailers and Manufacturers,” Scharff offered a bleak outlook for lingerie retailers as he discussed the demise of domestic manufacturing and the lace, trim and fabric industries.
“Before it was impossible to sell to other countries,” Scharff said. “The internet enables people to sell products for cheap and efficiently. This has huge implications for the retail business.”
Online retailers like Amazon and eBay have quickly become competitors to lingerie manufacturers, as third party sellers drive down prices. “Before I thought Walmart was our competition — but now I realize it’s online retailers that have become our competitors.”
To survive in today’s marketplace, Scharff said he recently sold Dreamgirl to “bulk up” the brand and wants to help counter the effects of globalization by empowering lingerie manufacturers and retailers with events like Altitude.
Noting that Altitude was formed by a group of lingerie manufacturers, Scharff said, “Today our competitors are our friends. We all play by the same rules.”
Scharff said that it is important that every manufacturer take better control over how their products are sold by third party sellers. “One of the things we did last year was establish the Lingerie Industry Association to sponsor seminars and do a better job to fight copyright infringement and provide legal resources for manufacturers.”
One of the ways that retailers can protect their business is to invest in niche products. According to Scharff, smoking accessories is a segment with growing potential.
“Retailers need to be more relevant and find new niche products that can contribute to the melding of concepts,” Scharff said.
On Altitude’s show floor, exhibitors showcased their latest releases, including Shibari’s new Shimoji line of G-spot vibrators under the Hello Sexy brand. Featuring six frequency pulsations, three adjustable speeds, premium silicone, and LED controls. Shimoji is USB rechargeable, waterproof and available in three varieties: Panda Bear, OMG! and Happy. The company also introduced the new Bling Bling mini wand and the Deluxe Mega Wand.
“Altitude was a really great show, it was busy and I saw a lot of new faces,” Shibari’s Danielle Seerly said. “I’m also really impressed with the venue.”
Tyes by Tara showcased its newest sexy, fashionable accessories, including new Legtyes. Company founder Tara Christine told XBIZ that she was glad she decided to attend Altitude’s inaugural show. “I’ve been really busy the whole time and I met a lot of new people.”
At the Nalpac booth, Nasstoys’ Elliott Schartz and sales and marketing director Kathryn Hartman were on hand to showcase the company’s newest releases, including the BELA Collection, which is a collection of high-quality silicone pleasure products. The first two items in the BELA Collection are the BELA Dual Lover and BELA G-Spot Finder. Nasstoys also showcased its Maxx Gear Collection along with other collections.