Lingerie Insight brings you the latest brand news from the February, 2012, trade show in the Birmingham NEC.
A series of mixed messages were floating around this month’s Moda trade show.
The floor was not as busy as it has been at some previous events but, despite this, many exhibitors left with big grins on their faces. A few others, as is always inevitable at such events, packed up their stands less cheerfully – proclaiming that they would not return.
The majority departed with a firm step, having done what they needed to do and determining that – though confidence in the market may remain slightly shaky – the role of the trade show in maintaining, if not growing, business should not be underplayed.
This year was definitely the year of the dropshippers, for whom the economic instability has proven remarkably profitable. We spoke to three at the show: Benmark, Berdita and Alterego. All reported that they had gone through an exceptional year and that orders continued to be plentiful.
No or very low minimum orders, along with speedy delivery, have proved a winning combination for the businesses, as growing numbers of both online and brick retailers seek to avoid investing heavily in stock.
At the show, Alterego managing director Diane Gordon-Freeman told Lingerie Insight: “People looked down their noses at us at first, but now it is mainstream.
“We did double the amount of business in 2011, compared to 2010, and we are currently 100 percent up on 2011… The business is growing despite the government despite the government predictions on growth."
She added: “We are seeing our retailers growing, too, which is brilliant to see, as we view them as our partners.”
With ongoing demand for low minimums and speedy delivery, even a number of the established brands are updating operations to meet their customers’ needs.
Brazilian brand Scala, which produces some of the world’s leading anti-cellulite shapewear, is one such company. It exhibited at the Moda trade show for the first time, this year. Already present in the UK via John Lewis and a series of websites, it hopes that a new distribution centre in Surrey will help it appeal to the independent boutiques.
Many of the brands exhibit at the show in a bid to attract independent retailers, the majority of whom attended on the first day. As a general rule, the first day usually sees the independent boutiques, the second sees the multiples and the third – usually a few hours before close of play – sees the big department store buyers.
Like Scala, Puma Bodywear made its debut at the Birmingham show, last month. It is also seeking to build strong network of stockists in the UK intimate apparel market.
The brand is currently supporting its push into the UK underwear market with a new advertising campaign, ‘wash when dirty,’ which will run for the SS12 and AW12 seasons.
At the show, customer service advisor Ariane Pringle said: “Initially, we have our sights set on building a broad independent distribution business in the UK.
“We see an opportunity in the market now with sports style underwear with a strong fashion twist and we think this will be the moment to put a sizeable investment towards marketing and promotional activity.”
Department stores included: House of Fraser, John Lewis, Fenwick, Hoopers, Arnotts and W H Good
Independents included: Prohibido in Cambridge, ESU Lingerie in Lancashire, D’Braz in Surrey, Silks of Glasgow in Scotland and Ophelia Lingerie in Ireland.
Lepel executive chairman Peter Preston: “The MODA show has been a great success for both brands, having focussed Charnos’ product strategy on building and expanding the Superfit sub-brand it was extremely satisfying to hear such positive feedback on its two new launches – the Comfort Bra and Rosalind Soft Bra which are set to be best sellers for us in AW12.
Lepel has maintained popularity as an affordable fashion brand and with an extremely strong fashion collection this season, the new more sophisticated colour palette and contemporary shapes proved to be a hit with retailers, in particular the Josephine and Victoria ranges. As ever, the MODA show has proven invaluable for collating customer feedback and overall figures are set to beat those taken at MODA AW11.”
Vanilla UK head agent Michael Mereditch: “We had an amazing day on Sunday. We were busy all day. Yesterday was equally as good. In the first day, the Sunday, we did the same value of orders that we did in the three days, last August, and it has gone on from there.
“On all levels, boutiques and store buyers, it’s been very, very good. We will be back here in August without a doubt. We will also be showing at AIS in March and July.”
Puma key accounts manager David Stirk: “As a new arrival at the show we were delighted with the interest we saw in the brand,” he says. The show did exactly what we wanted it to do in terms of presenting the brand to potential new accounts, and we were very busy throughout. We’re now looking forward to coming back to the show in August with our spring/summer 13 collection.”
Simone Perele UK managing director Carole Launchbury: “This month’s show was the most successful edition of Moda Lingerie & Swimwear we’ve ever had,” she says. “We were consistently busy over the three days, and opened a lot of new business.”
Slenderella managing director Gary Spendlove: “We were delighted with the number of high quality, established retailers we saw at the show, and very pleased with the amount of new business. It was interesting to see overseas buyers at the show looking specifically for British companies, and we added some strong names to our list of export customers.”
Bravado Underwear (Edinburgh) owner Sarah Rollins: “Moda Lingerie & Swimwear provides the foundation for our whole buying season, and this season’s event was no exception… We made sure we had the time between appointments with existing suppliers to look for new names, and we came away from the show inspired and re-energised for the new season.”
Delicati (Devon) director Juliet Lamble: “As someone relatively new to the industry it was great to be able to see both established and new suppliers under one roof… I found some great T-shirt and non-wired brands, which was something I was looking for in particular, and also had some very productive meetings with brands I wouldn’t necessarily have been in touch with if I hadn’t been to the show.”
Moda Lingerie & Swimwear event director Penny Robinson: “The fact that this season’s show was such a success, despite what we know continue to be difficult times for many retailers, underlines both the strength of our industry and the importance of having a national show. We were particularly pleased to receive such positive feedback from first time exhibitors and new lingerie stores, both of which are essential to the continued development of the industry.”
Read the March issue of Lingerie Insight for the full review of the February, 2012, trade show.