Lingerie is having a moment. Boutique sellers describe the playing field and opportunities for entrepreneurs.



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If you want to sell finery during a pandemic, you might want to double down on silky underthings.

That’s according to UK-based lingerie seller Annabelle Mu’azu, founder of the seven-year-old online boutique Beautifully Undressed, who said that silk lingerie is selling better than other fabrics these days because it’s comfortable for working from home.

Most of the fashion industry is floundering during the economic crisis, with the New York Times estimating fashion sales are down roughly 35% to 50% since this time last year. Yet the lingerie sector is experiencing a renaissance, entrepreneurs told Business Insider.

“Usually in the summer people switch from lingerie shopping to swimwear,” UK-based lingerie designer Angela Friedman said. “This year there wasn’t any traveling.”

Friedman reported that business has been overall good for her — “more sales than 2019,” she said — but inconsistent.

“Even from one week to the next I may see an enormous influx of orders, then the next week nothing,” she said. “There’s also been a loungewear push since the pandemic started, silk robes and slips.”

This same trend applies to sports bras and loungewear from lingerie-adjacent brands like Uniqlo and Lululemon. The latter’s net revenue rose 2.2% by August 2020, compared to the previous summer, reaching $902.9 million, the Wall Street Journal reported. Lingerie behemoths like Victoria’s Secret, however, haven’t seen a comparable jump in revenue, since these companies rely heavily on brick-and-mortar retail.

Some independent brands like Elma Lingerie, Harlow and Fox, and Evgenia pivoted to fill the demand for face masks. Others, like Friedman’s, doubled down on wearable silk pieces.

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In short, the coronavirus crisis may offer lingerie entrepreneurs a unique opportunity.

Mu’azu launched her first in-house lingerie line in late September, Ihuoma, and said within days she got more than 50 orders for items priced at several hundred euros each. There are now more than 1,000 newsletter subscribers inquiring about Ihuoma’s “Divine Feminine” collection, which focuses on colors that complement darker skin tones.

“There are a number of brands targeted at Black women doing great things, but they tend to be lower to mid-range quality,” Mu’azu said. “Some of the people who bought from me aren’t Black, and that’s fine. But I’m not shrinking away from the fact I want to create lingerie for myself and my daughter and my mom.”

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Source:: Business Insider

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