(Filed Under wholesale Lingerie News). Rob French, director of strategy and innovation at The Forever Group, explained his unique approach to creating his collection of specialized Fashion Care washes during a recent interview with BODY.
The company focuses on smaller specialty stores, producing complete collections of both high quality intimate apparel Fashion Care and Fashion Fit solutions. The washes are a key example of how Forever allows smaller stores to compete on the highest level with their larger cousins.
“We are a science-based company, and all our products must have a solid foundation in providing real solutions,” emphasized French. “Our Fashion Care line of individually formulated apparel washes already has three different solutions: FRESH, for odor embedded in Active Wear, SPLASH targets chlorine in swimwear and SWIRL protects elasticity in lingerie and shapewear.”
“We understood early on that we were dealing with different categories of fabrics, different washing techniques, like hand washing versus machine washing, and many different types of stains. Our approach became ‘Use the right tool for the job.’”
French arrived at his unique approach almost a decade ago when he was contacted by a major specialty store customer who was having a problem with swimwear that was being returned by customers. The issue was chlorine damage to the suits. At that time, The Forever Group was only offering one kind of general apparel wash. But French quickly realized that what this customer needed was a product that would help consumers maintain their swim suits. “Gentle swim washes, at the time, only cleaned the suit, but we were able to prove that they did not actually eliminate the chlorine. After a bit of research and trial an error, we found a way to neutralize the chlorine, eliminating it instantly and turning it into salt which actually helps with the cleaning by softening the water.”
“Our new product for this retailer turned out to be a great success. The swim wash created a new profit center for the retailer. Fewer swim suits were returned. After the launch at the chain, and the swim wash sold, we realized we were on to something. We then did the same deep dive, and came up with more targeted solution washes. We discovered a whole category of business.” And the process continues. French noted that he is currently in the research stage for still more science based solution washes for different applications.
“We are fortunate to have a chemist who thinks outside of the box and has lot of experience formulating with natural ingredients. We often look to parallel categories such as personal and hair care for fabric care solutions.”
The Fashion Care line is offered in a 280 ml. bottles, with a suggested retail of $8.99. French noted that one bottle can provide for about 40 lingerie hand washes. A larger 32 oz. size bottle is also offered for the active wear wash since that category of product is often machine washed. While the washes themselves are clear, the bottles are colored to distinguish the different applications.
“We have found that price point, under $10, works very well in a lingerie store where a consumer has just bought a nice bra. For $10 more that retailer can suggest the perfect wash to make that bra last a lot longer with hand washing. It’s the perfect profit-plus add-on sale.”
While The Forever Group does offer smaller, sample size bottles of its washes, French volunteered that “stores are better off not giving away samples to consumers. This can actually work against building a profit center around fabric washes. It will always be easier for your sales team to give away samples than sell the bottles. We save the samples sizes for SWAG bag opportunities at fashion oriented events.”
French is confident that washes are, indeed, a great way for any apparel store to increase its profits. “Retailers who are not selling “clothing care” are missing out on a profit plus sale. The secret, we find, is to have a few bottles near the cash register. We offer a six inch by six inch acrylic tray that discretely fits any color palate. It holds a few bottles. By having it near the register it keeps the idea front of mind, not only for the consumer, but also for the sales staff. While the customer is waiting for the credit card to run, they see the bottles and often will pick them up and ask what is this?”
French offered a final piece of advice on achieving success with washes: “make sure your entire sales staff has tried the product themselves. If you have used these washes on your own apparel, you can be far more emphatic and genuine in providing advice to customers.” He added, “we are always generous with free samples for new stores for the sales team to use.” Contact The Forever Group at (416) 723-9200 or Sales@theforevergroup.com.
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