(Filed Under wholesale Shapewear News). In mid 2014 Fersten Worldwide, a leading supplier of decorated women’s and men’s apparel, outerwear and headwear for the promotional market, purchased the Body Hush brand of shapewear. Body associate publisher Ted Vayos interviewed founder Mitchell Fersten about this takeover as well as future plans for the brand.
TED VAYOS: Tell us about your company and areas of expertise.
MITCHELL FERSTEN: Better known as FW, we are the leading supplier of decorated outerwear, apparel and headwear to the corporate markets in the United States and Canada with products sold globally. We operate a state of the art domestic decoration department which operates 24 / 7 to fulfill our customer requirements with 30+ decoration techniques. And we have a corporate fulfillment and distribution operation with three warehouses across North America to service our extensive network of loyal customers and both small and large programs
VAYOS: I understand the company has just completed a move of its corporate headquarters. How many employees does Fersten Worldwide currently employ? Why did you move?
FERSTEN: Our Canadian corporate head office and distribution center moved to a significantly larger facility to better service our global customers and growing needs. The new facility has been strategically planned for greater efficiency for domestic production, fulfillment and faster distribution. We moved because we outgrew our previous location and we are strategically preparing for projected growth and business expansion requirements. FW employs approximately 100 hardworking and passionate people at its corporate head office plus about another 25 sales representatives across North America. FW ships over 400,000 units per month of our products
VAYOS: How did you get involved with the Body Hush brand?
FERSTEN: A good friend introduced me to Jimena Armstrong who is the founder and president of Body Hush. We talked about the future of Body Hush (its strengths and challenges) and what was required to take this incredible brand to the next levels. It was a natural fit as FW was very interested in developing compression fabrics and compression and shapewear garments for sport and leisure which was part of the natural synergy. Jimena and I have a great partnership as we have complementary strength with common vision for the future of Body Hush.
VAYOS: What made you want to take ownership of this company?
FERSTEN: Exciting growth potential on the global market. A ton of opportunity to further develop the Body Hush brand.
VAYOS: What percentage of Fersten Worldwide is the Body Hush division?
FERSTEN: It has only been about six months so Body Hush is still a relatively small percentage of FW. But with its exciting and excellent growth potential we hope in the next year or two both organizations will continue to aggressively grow together in the market while creating natural synergies and further strengthening each brand and the entire organization. Give us a year or so and you will see what Body Hush can do in the market. It’s just the beginning and already the response from customers has been excellent. Let’s mark our calendars and do a follow up next year this time.
VAYOS: How is running the day to day operations of a shapewear company different from your other businesses?
FERSTEN: It’s all about leadership and clear vision. There is no question that there are different challenges with a shapewear company but we have the best staff in the industry and we are ready for aggressive growth and increased awareness and exposure of the Body Hush brand.
VAYOS: What changes have you made to the line since you purchased it?
FERSTEN: As our customers know and have experienced firsthand, the Body Hush product is of great quality, excellent compression and most important the right fit. From an overall product perspective (including fabric, compression and fit), Body Hush is second to none. To date most of our improvements have been through our supply chain, inventory management and customer service which is quickly adjusting to handle the growth and our increased market share. Body Hush was good in all these areas of the business but now we have focused on making further improvements and raising our standards of performance for all customers to experience and appreciate. Also, our organization makes social compliance and social responsibility a top priority and you can feel comfortable knowing that the company as whole and each garment from Body Hush is of the highest standard as we are global citizens looking to do our share to take care of the environment.
VAYOS: What type of fill rates and delivery dates can retailers expect from a company like Fersten Worldwide?
FERSTEN: With our increased inventory and fulfillment capabilities in our new distribution center which opened in December 2014, our goal is to fill at least 98% of our orders daily. If there are back orders, we will have a ship date or offer a viable substitute to satisfy our customer needs in meeting their day to day expectations.
VAYOS: How many collections and styles will be offered in the 2015 line? Have you made any changes to the 2014 collections? Have you changed any of the wholesale price points? How many new products will you be introducing?
FERSTEN: For 2015 there will be five collections (Gold, Glamour, Every Day, Urban and Sheer) – the fabrics and products are beautiful and the fit is unbelievable. I can only ask that you keep an open mind in giving the Body Hush styles a try and let me know your thoughts…I am confident that you will be pleasantly surprised as compared to the shapewear you have been selling. Body Hush is the next generation of shapewear! Check us out online at www.bodyhush.com
We have made some minor improvements to our current collections as we are always working hard to improve and make the Body Hush product better and better. We appreciate and value comments from our customers, so please don’t hesitate if you want to send me a note (email@example.com). Our goal is to be the best shapewear brand in the industry and we can only successfully do this with our customer’s constructive comments and recommendations.
VAYOS: What is your target audience for Body Hush? If the collections are targeting different demographics please explain each separately.
FERSTEN: Each collection has a target audience and focus as follows:
Body Hush Gold:
-- Demographic: Women 30-65 years old. Our Gold customer tends to be more conservative and is looking for basic seamless shapewear for comfort and functionality.
-- Main advantages: We have stepped up our research to create seamless basic Shapewear as elegant and feminine as ever done before. Made in Italy with shiny soft yarns and a signature scent.
-- Sales Success: Key best-selling shapes are the Wonder Panty and the Super-Power slimmer, these are the bread and butter business of our retailers as well as our Ultimate Shaping tank has been extremely successful as it is an ideal layering piece with its feminine lace trim.
Body Hush Glamour:
-- Demographic: Women 28-55 years old. Our Glamour customer is modern and has a very good fashion sense, she loves these Shapewear pieces as they do not compromise her style and she can still feel really sexy.
-- Main advantages: Our seam-free fusing technology has redefined Shapewear and we have been able to use sleeker and lighter fabrics that are invisible under clothing but still provide an excellent fit and great compression.
-- Sales Success: The high content of LYCRA Beauty being used in these styles provide a firm control while its satin touch makes it feel light and glamorous. Our Slenderizing Slip is the #1 Best-seller in both lingerie and RTW retailers. The great hanger appeal and the innovative color hanger concept that this product line offers, has been extremely well received by consumers and has highly contributed to its continued success.
Body Hush 365:
-- Demographic: Women 25-45 years old. Our Everyday control panty customer does not want to feel that she is wearing Shapewear and she also wants to be comfortable. Our medium-firm control level gives her that Everyday extra confidence boost that she needs.
-- Main advantages: The magic behind these panties is its additional support panels and finishes are completely seam-free and invisible on the outside. It’s feather-light fabric makes it look and feel just like a panty!
-- Sales Success: This panty collection has been very successful with customers regardless of their age or body shape and with its competitive pricing we have been able to satisfy a wide-range of customers and generate a large repeat business for retailers.
Body Hush Urban:
-- Demographic: Women 28-55 years old. Our Urban collection customer is the modern multi-tasking woman who wants to be comfortable while doing everything that she has going on in her day while wanting to feel confident with her body image.
-- Main advantages: Seamless technologies provide a 360 degree of control on strategic parts of the body while providing cosmetic advantages to the skin.
-- Sales Success: The Medium/Firm hold for these styles together with its cotton-feel Supplex fabric allow these styles to have an impeccable fit while being extremely comfortable. Seamless outerwear pieces have never been made so easy to wear!
(a) Marketing: Cristina
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(b) Customers: Jimena
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