Robert Rosen is chief operating officer for the newest global lingerie brand in the world, Baci Lingerie. In this exclusive interview, he tells Lingerie Insight about how the company was born, its mission to bring affordable luxury lingerie to the masses, and how it intends to spend over $300 million establishing the brand.
Lingerie Insight: Can you tell me a little about the background and history of your key executives?
Robert Rosen: “The highest use of capital is not to make more money, but to make money do more for the betterment of life”. This quote is really the story of Baci Lingerie and how it can to be. Our main investor, Richard, is an entrepreneur in every sense of the word.
He is a major player in a variety of industries such as technology, cars, and jewellery and in contemplating retirement he thought about how he could bring joy and happiness to mass amount of people. Instead of retiring he wanted to create a global brand that created beauty as well as being able to touch as many people’s lives in a joyful way.
He has always had a strong desire to create beauty and happiness and this idea and project was born so that he could bring joy to as many people as possible. Some people collect real estate in the South of France other collect fine works of art, our main investor wanted to share his idea and passion for creating beauty with the world.
It started 5 years ago with a burning passion to create something and make an everlasting mark in the world. With his past incredible financial success it has finally been able to give him the freedom to dedicate is attention to making an incredible global brand. Although Baci Lingerie is an investment of 25 million dollars in the first year and 35 million dollars the second year these amounts are extremely small in comparison to his total net worth, however this project is his baby and pure love.
The main investor does not like to speak publicly and is truly the vision behind Baci Lingerie. His genius in business is reflected in everything he touches. You can say he has the "Midas Touch". He has developed a 10 year master plan for Baci Lingerie and this is only year 1. The industry better watch out for the magic that is going to be unleashed upon it.
My background story is that I am a licensed attorney along with having a finance degree. Our main investor did not look for any sales people when starting this company and brand. His primary reason for that was it is not about selling Baci Lingerie but finding people who have the same passion and love for the brand and creating sexy lingerie for a fair price. We only look for people who are dedicated and have that desire to be a part of something special.
We know that our brand will sell by itself however we want people to love and believe in what they are selling. We proudly say that Baci Lingerie works without any sales people at all. For me it was love at first sight when I was introduced to the concept and philosophy behind this brand. It is really special when you can go to work each day and truly love and believe in what you are working for. That to me is worth all the money in the world.
Lingerie Insight: What bought you to the point where you are able to raise $300 million to invest in the launch of Baci Lingerie, and what leads you to believe that it is a sound investment?
Robert Rosen: To quote John Paul Getty, “No one can possibly achieve any real and lasting success in business by being a conformist”. That aphorism is the concept that drives us to believe that Baci Lingerie is a sound investment. Rather than selling expensive lingerie that only a few can buy, Baci Lingerie makes it possible to provide lingerie to a greater number of people by providing low-priced products that contribute to helping more people feel better about their lives. Most lingerie companies do the exact opposite and try to make the most beautiful lingerie for the most expensive price. We are revolutionary in the sense that no one has done this before.
Baci Lingerie is a long term investment and is actually more than $300 Million. Our investment of $60 million dollars in the first two years ($25 million for the first year collection & $35 million for the second year collection) will most likely take years to get back. Also, we are investing $300 million in a revolutionary store concept over the next 5 years. The main investor does not care about the money. He stresses the quality of the product and building the foundation of a major global brand. He wants to be able to see his brand all over the world and especially in places where average person cannot afford the luxury of expensive lingerie. We want a wide range of women to experience the feeling of putting on extremely sexy lingerie for their man and for men to experience the excitement of buying and fantasizing their ladies in such lingerie. In a single word "Affordable Luxury".
Lingerie Insight: Is there a gap in the market that you feel Baci Lingerie is positioned to exploit? Or, is it more about you bringing a unique business model to market?
Robert Rosen: There is a gap in investing long term. Whereas most investors and lingerie companies want to earn a profit from the start we believe that this is an investment for years to come. Baci Lingerie is investing for the future. Most lingerie companies do the exact opposite and try to make the most beautiful lingerie for the most expensive price. We are revolutionary in the sense that we want to create an entirely new category of lingerie that no one has done this before. We want to combine the look and feel of Agent Provocateur and La Perla with the lowest prices in order to open the market to a greater amount of people.
Lingerie Insight: Describe your vision when it comes to your product lines. Is there a unifying theme that will come to be identified as uniquely Baci?
Robert Rosen: The Baci Lingerie’s philosophy and concept is based on offering a wide range of well designed high quality lingerie, best photographs and art work, best packaging, at the lowest prices in the world so that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.
Baci Lingerie debuted at the International Lingerie show last April in Las Vegas with 500 styles in our first collect. Our first collection is designed with a very sexy and erotic style and is geared more towards the adult industry.
Our Second collection, which is nearing completion, will include 550 styles. This revolutionary new collection, named the Black Label Collection, will have a high end lingerie styled theme, similar to European chic style, for 95% lower prices than other brands such as La Perla and Agent Provocateur and is perfect for mainstream. The Black Label Collection is something the world has never seen before and will change the way people view the lingerie industry forever. The combination of the first and second collections will have more than 1,250 styles of beautiful lingerie available by January 2011 so that there will be a style of lingerie for every woman in the world.
Each collection will come with an amazing sub-collection that will compliment each line and is sure to strengthen the brand. Baci Lingerie’s creators will introduce a sub-collection each year that will coincide with the release of future collections. Baci Lingerie’s dedicated and experienced design teams work closely together to keep up with the latest fashion trends and new production technology. As a result, they are able to create new designs that are fresh and innovative.
The first year sub-collection will be an eyelash sub-collection that will feature 250 styles of the highest quality reusable eyelashes that are easy to use. In following Baci Lingerie’s revolutionary thinking, each of the 250 styles of eyelashes was photographed so that each style had their own setting with pictures from a variety of angels and in video format to provide an intimate and personal touch to be shared with the customers.
With the debut of our second collection Baci Lingerie will introduce costumes as the second year sub-collection which will be known as “Dreams by Baci Lingerie”. There will be 150 costume designs and each costume will make fantasies come alive. The Dreams collection will be available all year round to allow for 12 month a year sales guaranteed. The photo shooting will be an extravagant production (nearly 3,000,000 Dollars budget) with each costume having their own set specifically created to match the costumes theme. We choose for example to rent a real live Jumbo Boeing 747 Jet to display just our three flight attendant costumes and are currently shooting on real locations all over the world. We believe the real live locations add another element of richness and value to the collection and are something the consumer will enjoy. Videos will be included as well in the same style and format as the lingerie.
Beginning in 2012 Baci Lingerie will introduce a Men’s brand that will totally revolutionize the industry. The brand name will remain a secret until the collection is fully complete. The secret name itself is for sure a very cool and interesting name for everyone in every range of age and walk of life. The brand is coming soon and we are creating already a whole world around the brand name.
Lingerie Insight: Who do you see as your key competitors? Are you more comfortable being compared to Ann Summers or Victoria’s Secret?
Robert Rosen: It is hard to say who we see as our key competitors because there is no other company in the world who is trying to accomplish what we are seeking to do. I would say that our key competitors would be La Perla and Agent Provocateur if they were 90-95% less expensive. We are not comfortable to being compared to Ann Summers or Victoria Secret.
Lingerie Insight: In your first interview with Lingerie Insight, you spoke about the franchising model you will be using to create a chain of mono-brand boutiques across the world. Can you expand on these plans?
Robert Rosen: We are developing, in conjunction with their global partners, 3,000 stores worldwide with stores located on 5 continents in the next five years. Baci Lingerie is developing a unique twist to franchising, which provides partners with the concept and tools for them to develop and open stores within their territories in a very quick period of time. We DO NOT CALL IT FRANCHISING because we do not take any franchising fees and no royalty fees. We provide all the POS, brand concept and license, pay for fixtures and furniture for free and we start to earn money when the stores sell a lot! If we must name it lets call it “Franchising for Free”.
Lingerie Insight: Can any business become a franchisee, or is there a set of criteria that must be satisfied?
Robert Rosen: Our first criteria are that you have passion, love and desire for what you do. Next you need to have knowledge and the ability to run a business. Our store concept is developed by one of the biggest branding companies in the world who make store concepts for some of the largest companies worldwide.
Lingerie Insight: How many franchisees are you aiming to sign in the next five years in the UK?
Robert Rosen: Our partner in UK, Baci Lingerie UK, plans to directly open 50 stores of their own and we project another 50 independent stores to be open.
Lingerie Insight: Do your partners have to open mono-brand Baci stores? Or can independent lingerie and adult stores approach you to become stockists alongside several other brands?
Robert Rosen: Our partners do not have to open Baci Lingerie mono brand stores. The main strategy behind the mono brand store concept is to support the stores with unbelievable POS line where we pay most of the upfront cost for furniture, fixtures, shop in shop and the Baci Lingerie brand owner (aka partner) can give this away. We have taken a slightly different approach to the franchising concept which allows entrepreneurs to still have the ability to obtain the standardized concept of our brand at an extremely affordable price. This is a win, win, win situation for everyone. A win for investors as they are able to receive a beautifully designed store and be able to be in business for a very low cost, a win for partners who are able to increase their turnover dramatically by providing products to the stores, and a win for Baci Lingerie as we will be able to introduce Baci Lingerie to the public and be able to develop and strengthen our brand recognition. Of course partners are free to open mono brand stores as they like.
Lingerie Insight: Can you describe the process of getting started as a franchisee? I understand you have an interesting business model that allows franchisees to get started with very little up-front investment in stock and store design?
Robert Rosen: All of our partners will handle the direct contact with any franchisee interested in opening a Baci Lingerie mono brand store. When the partner qualifies them and a site is selected we will be contacted to render the store according to the layout provided. As mentioned above we pay most of the upfront cost associated in opening a mono brand store which enables investors to obtain an amazingly beautiful store and concept for a very low price. Of course franchisee is always welcome to email us directly at email@example.com and we will direct them to the partner who can assist them in their country.
Lingerie Insight: What sort of training and support can franchisees expect?
Robert Rosen: Franchisees can expect maximum and full support. Today’s mono brand stores face a demanding environment that must balance the needs of the consumer along with the requirements of the business. We offer our franchisees the tools to achieve this balance while improving the consumer buying experience. We recommend solutions for Point-of-Sale, marketing and advertising, building and decor specifications, advice on product mix.
Lingerie Insight: Describe a perfect Baci Lingerie mono-brand boutique in terms of a customer experience.
Robert Rosen: In heaven with down to earth prices.
Lingerie Insight: What is your strategy regarding online sales?
Robert Rosen: We leave this decision up to each of our partners in their respective territories.
Lingerie Insight: Will you create a global e-commerce web site?
Robert Rosen: No.
Lingerie Insight: Could there be a master online franchisee for each country or multiple online franchisees in each country?
Robert Rosen: No.
Lingerie Insight: Can any independent online retailer sell Baci Lingerie alongside several other brands?
Robert Rosen: Yes of course. We do not see any problem with that because we believe the best brands will sell and ultimate win. Each of the Baci Lingerie brand owners can decided their own policy in their respective countries.
Lingerie Insight: Baci Lingerie already has a very broad product line, and you have said you intend to introduce 50 new products per month. This sounds like a nightmare from a logistical point of view. Can you explain more about this process from design to manufacture, to distribution, to retail, to service and support?
Robert Rosen: I believe you misinterpreted what I said with the reference to the 50 styles. I was referring to the fact that we have a very board product line and every Baci Lingerie brand owner will have all items in stock. Therefore, a store owner could display 50 new products every month. This is one of the inventory management systems we recommend to franchisee to keep the brand looking fresh and new and ensuring customer returning to the stores on a frequent basis. The combination of the first and second collections will have more than 1,250 styles of beautiful lingerie available by January 2011 so that there will be a style of lingerie for every woman in the world. Also, there will be our sub-collections of eyelashes and costumes.
Lingerie Insight: Can you assure both franchisees and their customers that you can maintain standards in terms of quality products, quality service and quality after sales support?
Robert Rosen: Yes we can assure franchisee and customers that we will maintain standards in terms of quality products, quality service and quality after sales support for a number of reasons. First, we paid some of the biggest companies in the industry to ensure that our quality is of the highest standards. We paid Mr. Rofe 1 million Euros and others to get the knowledge to produce the best quality products in the same factories like for example Victoria Secrets.
Lingerie Insight: When you talk about 50 new products per month, is this going to be fresh designs within the current product range, or are you intending to move into new areas; for example, toys, costumes, swimwear, general fashion?
Robert Rosen: Again we are not coming out with 50 new products per month but rather with our extensive product line introduction of new designs can be every month. We will be coming out with additional product ranges in the future. Sub-collections will include costumes, swimwear, bridal and holiday collections, club wear and toys.
Lingerie Insight: Give me your assessment of the global exotic lingerie market today in five words or less.
Robert Rosen: Expensive, more expensive , most expensive.
Lingerie Insight: Any final thoughts?
Robert Rosen: Baci Lingerie (pronounced bah-chee) is what you will come to expect from a lingerie brand. Baci comes from the Italian word "kiss". When trying to create and define beauty we decided what could be more beautiful than receiving a kiss from the one true beauty in your life.
Baci Lingerie’s formula of distribution is to create a relationship with one exclusive partner for each country and develop a strong foundation for years to come. Currently we have 18 partners worldwide and are growing rapidly. From the beginning we strive to be and will become the biggest sexy lingerie in the world. In the United States alone we are planning to send out 10,000 for our collection books valued at $720,000 (which if you have not seen it already are amazing). Each book weights close to 6 pounds and contains 270 gram Japanese paper. The cost for printing the books for each collection is approximately $3,000,000. These books are for every store owner so they can see, feel and touch how much love, passion, attention to detail and care that has gone into the past couple of years bring Baci Lingerie to life. We know Baci Lingerie will hurt many competitors but in the end it’s a win, win, win situation for everyone. A win for the stores who get the most beautiful products for the best price, a win for the customer who gets a truly high quality lingerie at an affordable price, and a win for our investor who dream and wishes come true to bring true happiness and enjoyment to everyone.
Another funny story behind the scenes is that Baci Lingerie was actually supposed to debut two years ago and this story has never really been told. A few million dollars were invested to start the brand and photos shoots were taken, however they were not the exquisite artwork which is now Baci Lingerie. Everything was printed and photos were set and at the last minute the investor scraped the whole project because in his eyes it was not PERFECTION. "We start at perfection and go from there". So we shot everything over again in prestigious castles and the end product is the amazing photos you see now. We would rather not put anything on the market than to put something that does not live up to our own standards.