(Filed Under retail Lingerie News). Montelle, the Canadian lingerie producer, has been growing rapidly with an emphasis on building its brand, introducing new product categories and adding additional brands to its portfolio. Recently it also hired a new sales representative.
Annette Smith, brand manager, reported that the company is close to signing an agreement with an existing Canadian lingerie brand and is “also in talks with another brand at this time regarding a partnership.” These two associations are in addition to “an existing partnership with Fleur’t Intimates,” a firm based in Montreal, where Montelle is a partial owner, and Hooked Up Shapewear, where Montelle is the “official distributor.”
As to the new sales executive, “John Festa is going to be our rep for NY/NJ/Penn area,” wrote Smith in answer to emailed questions from BODY. “We are excited to have him aboard.”
Montelle “will also be introducing a new base layer collection at the upcoming Curve show in February,” stated the brand manager, adding “Montelle recently introduced a beautiful collection of slips. These slips have a modern, clean look with a mesh edge finish and the softest buttery microfiber fabric. They all retail at under $50 so they are affordable. Available in 3 styles – sizes S-XL – colors black and nude.”
The expansion into new product categories for the company, as well as the addition of new labels, represents a move to add more weight to the branded side of its business. “Historically Montelle has been primarily a private label based business. In the last four years we have made a real effort to focus on brand and the results are fabulous. The brand business is up on average 30% per year. That being said our private label business continues to flourish.”
In business since 1994, “Montelle reinvented itself in 2011 by introducing our Essentials Collection. This group of core styles has continued to grow over the last four years as we have adapted to the ever changing needs of the retailers. Special emphasis has been placed on developing styles in larger cup sizes.”
One reason Montelle might look more favorably towards the branded side of things is its experience producing private label intimates for Frederick’s of Hollywood. When that firm declared bankruptcy early last year, Montelle was listed as one of the largest creditors, owed $1,313,319 according to court filings at the time.
Smith attributed the strong growth on the branded side to “Consistency, fit, price. Stores love our brand because we offer excellent quality, great fitting bras at an affordable price point. People are creatures of habit and once they find a bra that fits them they become loyal customers of that bra. Montelle has several key styles that remain in our line season after season – available year round in black and nude and offered every season in two to three fashion colors. Many stores have a list of customers they contact as soon as a new color arrives! Montelle prides itself on keeping all our basics styles in black and nude in stock year round. Stores can count on us to fill their special orders.”
“Much of our focus is on the smaller stores as this is where women go when they cannot find what they need at the bigger chain stores,” Smith continued. “Due to budget cuts many of the larger stores are no longer able to offer the personalized service that is so often needed when purchasing a bra. Our smaller retailers do a wonderful job of offering that personal touch and helping women find the size and style that is right for them. Many also do much to support their communities and offer help to those that could otherwise not afford.”
Asked for some examples of retailers that carry the Montelle brand, Smith listed “Journelle, A La Mode, Laina Jane, Trousseau, Bellefleur, The Maddox Shop.”
Montelle has used “the Curve NY show since the beginning and have recently started attending the Curve Vegas show now as well,” the brand manager explained to BODY. “We are curious to see if there will be more crossover traffic from the Magic show this time since we are actually in the same hall as Magic instead of being in a separate hall at the back like we were in August. We are hopeful that Curve will look for ways to make the trade shows more appealing to buyers and offer more events and promotions.”
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