(Filed Under wholesale Lingerie News). BODY associate publisher Ted Vayos interviewed Royce business development manager Francesca Fleming, who recently joined the firm.
VAYOS: When did you join the company?
FLEMING: I joined in January this year (2017) after five months exploring South and Central America. I needed to get the travel bug out of my system before committing fully to the family business.
VAYOS: When did the company open?
FLEMING: Royce was founded in the summer of 1991.
VAYOS: Who started the business?
FLEMING: My parents, Bob and Jane Fleming, started the business at my family home in the English countryside. Mum trained as a designer at college and had spent many years working for other larger bra manufacturers in England. As a young girl, I remember huge sheets of card in the back room, that she would draw bra patterns on with very sharp pencils. I couldn’t believe how precise she had to be when cutting out the patterns by hand! There are so many pieces that go into our garments – it’s incredible! Times have changed now, but the precision and complexity of the wire free bra design remains.
VAYOS: What products did the company start out manufacturing?
FLEMING: The first bras Royce manufactured were for nursing moms. We continue to make great quality nursing and maternity bras to this day, so you can imagine how much knowledge, care and expertise goes into each garment.
VAYOS: Where were the products originally made?
FLEMING: In the dining room at home! A woman called Sue came to help out with the sewing and she continues to make our samples to this day – 26 years later.
VAYOS: Where are they made today?
FLEMING: Today the fashion industry has changed so much – it’s just not feasible to manufacture such large quantities at home in the UK. The bras are now manufactured in two different factories in China. We go out to visit the factories at least twice a year and have strong relationships with them.
VAYOS: Why did the company decide to make wire free bras?
FLEMING: This is simply because my mom was good at it, and not many other people were. It was a niche path to go down and my parents wanted to make Royce the experts in wire free lingerie, which it now is!
VAYOS: How has the companies product line expanded and evolved over the years that followed?
FLEMING: Every bra that Royce has ever produced has been wire free. With time, the brand has evolved and we now create a bra for every woman for every stage of her life. ‘My first bra’ is, as one would expect, designed for young girls when they start to develop breasts. We then have a beautiful range of everyday wire free bras, whether they are molded, padded designs or traditional ‘cut and sew’ bras. Something which we also excel in is lingerie for women after they have undergone surgery. Our Silver Post Surgery bra is made from a technical fabric which is thermo regulating and anti bacterial. In addition to this, we have a range of bras with cotton lining as standard, which can be used as a pocket for a prosthesis. Whilst the styles and technicalities have continued to evolve, the quality of the product has never been compromised.
VAYOS: How many different categories does your company currently make products today?
FLEMING: We have five different categories. These are: Everyday; Teen/Junior; Nursing and Maternity; Post-Surgery; Sport.
VAYOS: How has each of these categories evolved in the past year?
FLEMING: Royce is constantly evolving and our design team are always researching new fabrics and ideas. Over the past year, we have introduced some amazing new teen bras. Black & Blush is a gorgeous molded starter two pack which is totally smooth and seam free. We’ve introduced a fun and vibrant new color to our classic sports bra – Impact Free in Coral. It looks great and is perfect for women with a larger bust. In fact, we think it’s the only wire free sports bra to go up to a K cup.
Supreme Comfort is revolutionary, too, and something we’re all very proud of. This seam free, nude t-shirt bra has been described as a second skin. It’s so incredibly comfortable and supportive – you’d never believe that it doesn’t contain a wire.
VAYOS: How will these products evolve further in the year ahead?
FLEMING: We have some really exciting products in the pipeline. The athleisure trend is here to stay and we are keen to introduce something new and exciting to our sports range. Watch this space. We’re not only focusing on new products. We listen to our customers and develop existing styles by expanding the size ranges, and introducing new colorways.
VAYOS: Which products are performing the best for Royce Lingerie in the US?
FLEMING: For us, our everyday molded bra Maisie is doing really well in the US. It comes in three different colors and creates a beautiful shape. The matching briefs with a satin trim are an added bonus.
VAYOS: How many stores is Royce Lingerie currently being sold in the US and around the world?
FLEMING: We currently have some 166 accounts in the US.
VAYOS: What are your top selling colors in the US?
FLEMING: Nude, nude and nude! Many of our products are really popular, but if there’s one color trend which stands out in the US, that’s nude!
VAYOS: How would you describe the Royce Lingerie fit to the US customer?
FLEMING: With Royce, it’s not a case of one size fits all. We believe that customers should take time to get the fit right and no two women are the same. Our ‘cut and sew’ bras such as Grace create more of a traditional shape, whereas the molded bras such as Maisie or Georgia are a much more rounded silhouette.
VAYOS: How can US retailers get in touch with your company?
FLEMING: Contact us direct at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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