(Filed Under wholesale Basics News). Angela Newnam, a stay-at-home mother with a background in business and textiles, loved lacy thongs by Cosabella and Hanky Panky, but disliked the liners used. So two and half years ago, she set out to create a great panty built around “the best fabric out there for liners.”
In the process of her research, she discovered an odor-reducing technology patented by Dan River Mills, a Virginia-based manufacturer that was going out of business. The technology used the same active ingredient as Febreze air freshening products, and Dan River had recently introduced it in hunting apparel.
Newnam hired one of the patent writers, and the two developed panties out of a patented wicking cotton imbedded with the odor-absorbing technology. Newnam tested the resulting line, Knock out! Panties, with women in summer 2010, and began shipping it to six lingerie and ready-to-wear boutiques in December at a wholesale price range of $9.50 to $14.
Newnam described the brand’s in-store launch as a success: within the first six weeks, she reported that the company sold over 2,000 units. In order to get feedback from customers and spread the word about Knock out!, she organized women’s events with retail customers in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, Charlotte and Washington DC during that time period.
“A lot of women wear panty liners every day or during certain times of the month, and Knock out! eliminates the need for that. The liner is thin and extremely comfortable, and I have 20-year-olds and 60-year-olds that wear them every day,” she said. “Over the summer, I had over 100 women around the country wearing them and got feedback confirming how well they work. The technology absorbs sweat, spots and odor. Best of all, it doesn’t wash out in the washing machine like many other technologies; in fact, washing it makes the technology start working all over again.”
The launch collection’s introductory line, available in a nude shade, consists of five styles in the lacy range; two thongs, a bikini, a brief and a panty. There are three styles under the classic range, consisting of a sport thong, bikini and brief. Lacy styles wholesale from $10.50 to $14 and run in sizes S through L, while classic styles wholesale from $9.50 to $11.50 and run in sizes XS through XL. Later this year, Newnam plans to test a plus-size brief at IC London, an intimate apparel store in Charlotte, N.C. In mid-March she will launch styles in shades of lilac and slate gray.
Shelly Domonech, president of IC London, expects the new sizes and colors to attract even more of her customers to Knock out! Panties. “We are doing fantastically with her products,” she said. “I don’t have very many cotton panties in the store, so women are already interested in such a good-looking, well-fitting cotton panty with a lace trim. When I explain to them that they are really getting a panty that will keep them fresh and comfortable all day long, it is an added bonus. They will dip their toes in with one or two pairs, and then come back for four or five. I’ve already placed two reorders and I’ve only had them in-house for a short time. I think she came up with something that was really needed in the marketplace.”
Realizing that she needed additional sales help, in January Newnam added Olivia Feldman Lingerie as her New York-based rep with a showroom at 40 E. 34th St., Ste. 417. Feldman launched the brand in more retail stores this month, including Abrielle Fine Linens & Lingerie and Sylene Intimate Apparel, both located in DC. Knock out!, is currently in New York, Maryland, DC, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina and plans to expand in 2011.
Newnam also plans to extend her word-of-mouth strategy beyond her current markets. “My strategy is to have launch parties and retail events, supported by good PR, e-mail and other outreach techniques. I have found that women are telling their friends about Knock out!, so we are trying to increase our retail coverage to follow the word of mouth,” she said. “In addition to scheduling additional events in New York, Charlotte and DC, I plan to hold them in new cities, including Atlanta, Boston and Chicago. Nature’s little gifts aren’t always easy to talk about, so specialty stores have been a good fit for us and our innovative technology.”
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