(Filed Under wholesale Hosiery News). Designer Diana Jung Kim, a self-described “crazy dresser,” was on the lookout for a product with mass appeal that was unique enough for her tastes.
“I’ve been working on making craft clothing and accessories pretty heavily since high school, and I’ve always had this crazy dream of making money this way,” said Kim, the founder of Poisonous Legwear, who graduated from Los Angeles’ Otis College of Art and Design in 2006. “The issue has been that I dress pretty unusually, and people admire me for it, but I often hear ‘you look great, but I could never wear that.’ ”
Kim found her answer in legwear. About two years ago, the Houston resident took a class in fabric dyeing, and learned that nylon is one of the few materials that can be dyed at home for an affordable price.
“I tried dyeing scarves and shirts, but quickly learned that cotton is complicated, and wool and silk are relatively easy but are also pretty expensive,” she said. “It clicked in my head: nylon is much more affordable and not complicated to work with; it is something I can produce in mass quantity and sell for a reasonable price. I bought a couple of nylons, knotted them, braided them and dyed them neon colors. I got all of this great feedback from my teacher, Lisa Sacaris, and classmates, who said, ‘wow I’d wear that.’ ”
Pushed by Sacaris—who also gave her business and booth display tips—this January Kim made her tradeshow debut with Poisonous Legwear at Houston’s Halloween & Party Expo, where she sold her custom-made, one-size-fits-most nylons for a retail range of $19.95 to $34.99. She described the show as a success: in late February, she sent her first orders to Halloween Adventure in New York City; Artsmyths in Denver, Colo.; Gene’s Costumes in Kensington, Md.; and Star Costume in Las Vegas. She will also exhibit at this month’s ILS (March 28 through 30).
At the Halloween & Party Expo, Kim was encouraged by the uniqueness of Poisonous Legwear. “Everything [at the Halloween Show] was manufactured rather than hand-made, and nothing looked like my product,” she said. “I can’t believe I’ve hit upon something that no one else is doing. [My goal] is to have a store in every state; the cheap party stores can’t afford me, but the specialty Halloween and lingerie stores are perfect.”
In addition to helping her establish a retail market, through feedback at the show Kim honed in on a target customer: a woman from her teens to mid-30’s “and probably really heavy in the twenties range” who goes out clubbing.
She is also set to expand her offerings. This fall, she plans to introduce children’s hosiery under a different label, followed by sexy lingerie in the spring. Other introductions planned for the next year are fishnets and thigh-highs, based on requests from Peekay Inc.
Further in the future, Kim also plans to introduce dancewear and performance wear, and plus sizes if she can find a supplier that will work with a company of Poisonous Legwear’s size.
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