(Filed Under wholesale Lingerie News). As of July 1, CMK Distinctive Brands took over distribution of the men’s portion of the Zimmerli underwear business in the U.S. CMK has handled the women intimates, which are already selling in a variety of key department stores and boutiques here, since the beginning of 2011.
To date, Zimmerli men’s has been not as widely available in this country. CMK (operated by industry veterans Cindy M. and Russ Kelly) plans to change that. Russ Kelly sees great potential for the men’s line, but also acknowledges the challenge. “In support of the world’s finest products comes a responsibility to our retailers. CMK needs to be more than a source of product, we need to facilitate the sellout of the product.”
The distributor knows how to get this done. CMK already works with such lines as Barbara and Louis at Home and Cindy, for many years, headed up Hanro’s operation in the U.S. “Assisting our manufacturers in communicating to the sales associate level with our major retail partners, creates a unique opportunity...both to train by expanding product knowledge” and to increase sales by “embracing today’s mobile means of communication.”
In assigning its men’s products to the distributor, Zimmerli shows that it has been pleased with what CMK has done in the past two and a half years on the women’s side. Currently those intimates are sold to such department stores as Barneys, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf and important boutiques such as Nancy Meyer in Seattle, Alla Prima in San Francisco and KM Hudson in Massachusetts. The men’s collection is already is such stores as AW Kaufman in New York City, CustomShirt1.com, UnderwearOptions.com, Maus & Hoffman in Florida and Peress in New York.
Suggested retail prices for the men’s collection range from $57 to $110 for cotton briefs (with wholesale prices starting at $25); $ 72 to $167 for cotton boxers (with wholesale prices starting at $32.50); and $73 to $190 for cotton T’s (with wholesale prices starting at $32.50). Silk men’s underwear retails for about $100, shirts for $160. Cotton pajamas retail for $250 to $350.
These prices might sound to high to some retailers, but a short conversation with Alexander Kabbaz, owner of CustomShirt1.com (who for years operated a shop on Madison Avenue before switching to an online retail operation) was almost enough to convince this reporter to try his own hand at retailing Zimmerli. According to Kabbaz, Zimmerli men’s could be selling “four times as much as it does in three to four years” in the U.S. He added that despite the price, some customers place huge orders. Amongst about 9000 Zimmerli clients, he claimed to sell to five who purchase $20,000 or more of Zimmerli underwear a year. That’s five consumers, not retailers.
A key aspect of the Zimmerli product for Kabbaz (and for the company itself) is that, according to a document provided by the firm, “Every single part that makes up our underwear is finished at our very own production plant in Coldrerio, Switzerland.” Around the world, the company’s apparel can “be found at over 650 selected partners in over 50 countries.”
Zimmerli is proud that a wide variety of actors and other celebrities wear their underwear. A list provided by the company includes: Mel Gibson, Jennifer Aniston, Prince Charles, Will Smith. David Beckham, Kurt Russell, Bill Clinton, Nicole Kidman, Keanu Reeves, Sylvester Stallone, Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Jessica Alba, Herbie Hancock, Donald Sutherland, Pierce and Dillon Brosnan and Harvey Keitel.
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