(Filed Under wholesale Sleepwear News). SNOA Sleepwear recently reached an agreement with CMK Distinctive Brands for that firm to provide its distribution and marketing services. An aggressive effort to increase SNOA’s visibility among U.S. retailers has already begun.
SNOA makes its sleepwear in California using organic materials. The collection of less than a dozen pieces ranges in retail price from the J’adore gown, made of double layers of modal jersey with a satin ribbon trimmed bodice for $280 to the Oh Boy! short, made with two layers of modal jersey, for $130.
In this interview, BODY publisher Nick Monjo posed questions to SNOA founder, Anh Oppenheimer, about the company’s directions forward.
MONJO: An interesting comment you make on your website is that “The organic fashion movement is approximately where the organic food movement was two decades ago.” If this is true, organic fashion is in for a huge expansion...soon. Can you comment? What are the projections?
OPPENHEIMER: People are slowly making the connection between fashion and the importance of sustainability, just like we see in food and energy. There are some big named designers and supporters out there (Livia Firth, Stella McCartney) who are promoting sustainable style as highly fashionable and comfortable; their voices are just beginning to be heard by the average person. SNOA is committed to creating beautiful, luxurious garments made in the USA, with the finest eco-friendly materials. We’re happy to be among the pioneers in this world, and bringing jobs back to the US!
MONJO: How do you recommend a retailer best get the organic fashion message out to customers of their store?
OPPENHEIMER: Signage. Think about grocery stores. When you shop at the produce section, there are different labels for the organic fruit versus the non-organic. Perhaps it’s a different color, or has a green leaf, or says “locally grown.” Right away, the signage informs people that there is more than one option. Of course hang-tags on the specific garment can make a big difference too, explaining to the consumer the added value of sustainability.
MONJO: Selling organic fashion — as a retailer — requires different methods -- can you summarize how it’s done?
OPPENHEIMER: The story of organic fashion, like other fashion concepts, must engage the customers through their senses. First visually, with attractive merchandising displays that explain the multi-benefits of fine quality products which also promote sustainability. Beautiful signage, with concise verbiage, hang tags with features and benefits, images which invite the customer to touch and feel the differences being developed in organic products.
MONJO: The size of your collection — from what you display on the website — is small. What can we expect from you in terms of additional styles and colors?
OPPENHEIMER: SNOA Sleepwear began with the idea that warm does not need to equal frumpy when it comes to sleepwear! Until now, we focused solely on designing garments that are both sexy and warm, using a cozy, double-layer of soft, luxurious modal jersey. This is what made SNOA Sleepwear unique in its first years. Recognizing that women love to look sexy and feel comfortable at bedtime whether they want to feel warmer or cooler, we decided to introduce sexy and comfortable styles for all environments. An important factor is that SNOA offers essential items that are re-orderable, and which drive sales volume! These winning styles will be important to any SNOA assortment, and will be offered in basic as well as seasonal fashion colors. Of course there will be exciting fashion collections each season as well!
We’re very excited to be introducing a Spring capsule collection in May 2014. We will be expanding the line for the August market debuting our Spring/Summer 2015 line to the majors as well as expanding our Fall/Winter 2015/16 line which we will present in February 2015. It’s exciting to be partnering with CMK. We feel that with their expertise, we can grow both the business and our collection.
MONJO: In October you announced a relaunch. What changed?
OPPENHEIMER: A fantastic thing happened on the way to a better SNOA. This past summer, two dynamic women decided to join the SNOA team. Their plan was to take a “gold mine in the making” and fast track SNOA Sleepwear to real success. With Karen Detrick’s marketing prowess and Lisa Tanzman’s ability to connect the best people, we’ve made a great triad of leadership for SNOA. Now we are joined by our fourth force, CMK, and we’re thrilled!
MONJO: What is your wholesale strategy? Where do you want to be, in terms of stores, in three years? Specialty stores only. Department stores? Online?
OPPENHEIMER: The distance from today to acceptance of SNOA Sleepwear in the majors can be several seasons. We understand this, so our strategy is to embrace an omni-channel approach. SNOA will provide enabling tools including content, web ready image packs, and affiliate offerings to the specialty boutiques, bloggers and content publishers in both print and digital forms. For boutiques with smaller websites we will have a program to allow them to expand sales with drop ship services for items not stocked in the boutique.
MONJO: We met you at a Curve show some time ago. Have you been doing shows since then? Are you planning to do more shows in the future?
OPPENHEIMER: You have a good memory! You might remember that we talked about the timing of launching to retailers right when the economy was dipping drastically. Because we were a new company with an entirely new concept (warm and sexy sleepwear) we decided to focus on our online boutique and test the market with direct to customer sales. It was a strategy that paid off. We got a lot of feedback and a lot of loyalty from our customers. And we proved to ourselves that SNOA Sleepwear styles filled an important niche for women and the men who buy gifts for those women (65% of our customers are men).
MONJO: What products do you recommend to a retailer who want to try your line out and get into “organic sleepwear”?
OPPENHEIMER: Our best seller has been the Hot Toddy Nightie which is great for those chillier nights (whether you’re talking winter, too much A.C., or a foggy San Francisco summer). The Hot Toddy is both flirty and cozy. But as the warmer months are approaching, I would recommend the Toddy Teddy, the First Kiss, and the Virgin Mini. They are all fashion items and brand new, which is very exciting to us. We have our essentials too, which are reliably classy and cozy.
MONJO: Any other comments to address to retailers considering trying your brand?
OPPENHEIMER: Women are thrilled to find sleepwear that makes them look sexy and feel comfortable. It’s a rare combination. Sexy usually means it’s uncomfortable. Comfortable usually means it’s frumpy. SNOA Sleepwear takes the best of both of those worlds and satisfies the desire of women and their lucky partners!
MONJO: Tell us about your company name: What does SNOA mean?
OPPENHEIMER: It’s a funny story. We loved the concept of “snow”, it’s magic and beauty, but wanted to create our own word. So we thought of SNOA (think “snow –ah!). While researching anything related to our word, snoa, we found that it is an old fashioned Nordic dance – which tickled us. If you search YouTube, you’ll see swaying Nordic elders in a sort of slow square dance. SNOA fit our unique concept of warmth, magic, and beauty. Now that we have grown and are designing sleepwear for all climates, we rely on the fact that SNOA is a lovely sounding name.
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