(Filed Under wholesale Classic Slippers/Shoes News). Dearfoams, R.G. Barry Corporation’s slipper brand for men and women, has tapped into the younger generation through new media efforts, including social networking sites and online advertising.
“[A few years ago], we found that as a brand we had aged along with our consumers, and we needed to attract a younger consumer,” said Nancy Coons, president of Dearfoams. “We started conducting market research, and found that younger women were aware of the brand and it had value to them, but they weren’t necessarily buying it. We were able to develop a consistent message and show our looks through our out-of-home and online advertising, as well as social media. We have found that now 75 percent of our consumers are between the ages of 25 and 44.”
The division also attracted this younger generation by developing more fashion-driven designs. This is seen in the fall/winter 2011 line, where the company paid heed to trends like sweater knits, chunky cable knits and crochet knits, as well as animal prints, synthetic fur and what Coons called “luxury fabrics,” like lace and velour. Overall, indoor slippers in the women’s fall line wholesale for an average of $12, while hard sole slippers, which can be worn outdoors, wholesale from $13 to $28. They run in sizes S through XL, which fit shoe sizes 5 ½ to 11.
And with over 60 designs in the line, Dearfoams has been able to cater to the younger consumer without losing its original fan base. “The women’s line is relatively large, which allows us to the capture multiple channels, including department stores and online retailers,” Coons said. “We are able to design more classic styles, as well as those where we play with vibrant colors, and fun fabrications and trims, so our customer base has gotten extremely broad.”
In contrast, she described the men’s line as “more focused on a younger consumer, with a different pricing strategy and structure than the women’s.” It includes 32 slippers in sizes S through XL, most of which are hard-soled. Wholesale prices run from $36 to $42.
Coons said the label focused primarily on the younger male as it began to target this women’s market. “We knew we had needed to be consistent with the men’s and women’s marketing campaigns and designs, because women who buy Dearfoams for themselves will also buy it for men,” she said.
As previously announced by R.G. Barry, the company has licensed the Dearfoams name to apparel maker Olivet International, which will be launching a women’s sleepwear line for fall. According to Coons, the introductory collection will include pajama sets and signature bathrobes that match the slippers line, with materials like terry, sweater knit, sherpa and polar fleece, and the brand’s signature blanket stitching.
“The [sleepwear line] is really getting a lot of attention from buyers. Everything just feels so comfortable and luxurious; the materials allow for a lot of the same comfort that our slippers are known for, and the robes are so unique,” Coons said. “This is a logical brand extension for us, and will allow retailers to create a Dearfoams ‘store’ within a store.”
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