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September 2016

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Guess the brand - results time!

Posted 20/09/2016 at 09:40 Comments

A few weeks ago I posted a survey and after asking the usual questions about demographics and sizes, I got you to play guess the brand!

Naturally a whole bunch of you immediately wanted to know if you had gotten the answers "right", neatly demonstrating a major problem in doing research with actual human beings; people who participate bring their own agendas, and most people like to be correct and make the researcher happy.

For me, there was no "right" answer; this was just the easiest way of testing out something I've been thinking about a lot recently; as we've been working with and selling more brands, is that changing things? Can people tell KMD apart from the other brands? Can you tell the brands apart from each other, and collabrations apart from guest brands? Of course, the brands themselves want to know these things too, and also they'd like to know if a pop-up with us translates into growth of their own later on Some of them do enough surveys and analytics of their own traffic to have a good idea, others aren't quite so sophisticated. And of course there's the all important question; what happens in your mind when you see a picture of Morgana? ;)

Now I could either ask an awful lot of very complicated questions, or I could just make a picture quiz. Which would you be more likely to fill out, especially as even the short version had 15 pictures?

I started with some basics - did people know we had other brands, were they even sure what that meant.



It's probably worth noting that the average conversion rate, that is, people who see your website and then buy something, is only 1%.

If we are genuinely converting around 6% of people who see other brands with us to become customers of them, then that would be quite remarkable. I suspect what's more likely is that the sample of people who answered the survey are especially enthusiastic lingerie fans, so I'd give this statistic a fairly wide space for error. All that said - it's certainly encouraging for the guest brands and I know some of the smaller brands report up to 30% of their regular customers having originally found them here.

Now the important bit for most of you - what brands were those pictures from?! Unfortunately, it turns out surveymonkey doesn't work well on mobiles/poor wifi so I think about least 10% and possibly more like 30% couldn't see the pictures to fill in the brands.

And, of course, the majority of people are more fussed about products than brands, or given a text box, will fill it with their personal take on lingerie rather than a direct answer to the question, or panic that they aren't getting it right, or turn out to be a compulsive survey-filler-in rather than a genuine fan. But with those caveats, here's the "right" answers, and some figures!

This is actually a Kiss Me Deadly product - the Grace gown - but photographed by Bread and Shutter, rather than our regular photographer Morgana. Out of around 600 people about 250 guessed KMD, with a handful mixing it up with Harow and Fox or Amoralle.

Of about 550 answers, about 175 recognised this as Karolina Laskowska (although spelling was a bit more of a challenge). It was most commonly mixed up with KMD (nope, to strappy/skimpy to be mine), Playful Promises (who definitely don't use couture lace) and Agent Provocateur.
Now, I will never show you an AP image for the pure and simple reason that they could sue my arse into the ground if I did. I can use guest brand pics because I have permission, but to use another brands picture is inviting distastrous legal action. Especially in the US where you can face immediate fines running into the tends of thousands of dollars.

Of 623 people, 340 or so recognised this as Playful Promises. When it was mixed up it was usually with KMD.

I deliberately confused matters here; Playful Promises also run Peek and Beau. The brands are aimed at being noticeably different so I was curious to see if people got this one. Of 527 about 150 managed various spellings of Peek and Beau (I KNOW. I really struggle with it too), but about the same again identified it as Playful Promises, and it got mixed up as both KMD and Karolina's.

469 answers and less than 100 managed to identify this as Nightprowl, though some could clearly remember that it was a guest brand. Nightprowl are a very young brand (less than 2 years) and haven't settled upon a photography style as yet, which probably accounts for the fair amount of confusion.

Most brands worry about using the same models as each other and so I deliberately used an image from Ayten Gasson, one of my longest-standing colleagues in the business, that was taken by and of Morgana, who is also our photographer, to see if it would confuse people. I'd have liked to include a none-Morgana picture from Ayten too, but frankly this survey was already too long. And lo! Of 477 only around 70 said Ayten - more said KMD. Admittedly that will be impacted on by the context of being in a KMD brand survey.

Classic KMD imagery in style, but this is Sophie Roach rather than Morgana. 530 people, and just under 300 recognised it as KMD, the rest just didn't know.

We haven't had Fraulein Annie on the site for a while as manufacturing issues mean we're waiting for a new styles - and it really confused people, split between FA and Harlow and Fox. They both have a focus on classic designs, unusual colours and bra fit, so I can see why - but Harlow and Fox are considerably more high end in terms of fabrics, lace and quantities.

Of 424 people about 70 recogised Amoralle; but more knew it had been on the site but wasn't ours. Quite a few people sort of recognised them but couldn't place the brand name, many remembered they were Latvian (?!), and one was just deeply confused as to what this garment is. It's awesome, that's what it is.

Harlow and Fox. About 150 people guessed this out of 375. I also enjoyed the answer "big tits luxury silk", which is accurate, but not an approved brand name.

This one is Nearer The Moon, which is currently all made by Tilly's fair hands; she only has mannequin shots and we know modelled ones sell better on KMD, so last year we called in some favours and Iska photographed Twig in NTM styles. Only a handful of the 350 replies got it . .   . confusion reigned. If we shoot for other brands again we're going to need to do a different style as this is clearly problematic for both Tilly and me.

It's been a while since we saw Betty Blue and her loungerie - and this is Morgana as model and photographer so I figured again,  between that and the time elapsed, it might throw people. And yup, out of 450 people less than a 100 said Betty Blue; more went for KMD.

A big thank you to everyone who helped fill it in! I realise it was a bit of a pain in the bum but you've helped clarify quite a few ideas about improvements and changes for Kiss Me Deadly AND all our guest brands, along the lines of checking imagery, adding logos and taglines across the site, making sure our imagery is consistent, making sure our pictures of other brands have a different style, and so on. Oh, and I shall probably spend more time checking that Morgana hasn't taken up any high-risk sports.

I hope you had some fun with it; let me know in the comments if you have any favourite brands, or one's that foxed you, or people you think we should be working with!


The limited edition Vargas in peach and why I'm never doing it again!

Posted 06/09/2016 at 10:30 Comments

Recently we released what I think of as the "Ouvert ALL the things!" collection - the Valenti, the Everythingless and the Cupless Vargas. The first two styles arrived broadly on schedule (look, logistics at our size is more of an art than a science), but the cupless Vargas turned up last Friday instead. Why? Were they made by a different factory? Hoof-finished by unicorns? Or just left behind because someone forgot to put a box onto the export paperwork? (this actually happens. Or sometimes they're on the paperwork and then someone in the UK mysteriously loses them for two days causing anyone relying on them to experience panic and anxiety, or if they've been doing this a while, to get shouty).

But nope, none of those things; the issue was a problem making Things Go Peach.

The Cupless Vargas is a shapewear girdle dress; you can read about the history of the Vargas here (It was an accident!) but this iteration is a confection of powernet that gets its shaping properties from the pattern and the angled double layer. It has 6 metal garter tabs on the bottom, and shoulder straps but no bras cups at the top (because I finally realised after about a decade that it was silly to fuss about bra sizes on a shaping garment when we could just make it so you could wear your favourite bra with it).

To make a Vargas Dress you need:


Elastic satin strapping (for the bra straps)

Bra sliders and rings

Picot edged elastic (this goes round the top and bottom hems and along some of the inside ones)

Seam tape - I can never remember the technical term for this but if you check inside, you can see shiny, straight stitched cover tape over the vertical seams, keeping all the powernet edges neat.

Thread for sewing - two types, one of which is called fluffy. I'm not even joking.

Wide satin elastic for suspender tabs

Satin ribbon (for the "flash", the suspender end. Yes, there's an argument about why we even bother with these)

Continuous hook and eye tape

Metal garter tabs with the right colour plasticky bits in (also a bone of contention with stockings fans)

KMD labels and tags

And if we still had the bra bit in I'd be adding about another 15 things here!

Of course you also need people who know how to sew all of these together to a pattern using specialist sewing machines (domestic machines and powernet garments are a recipe for things that fall apart while you wear them!).

Now, this is all fine in black, everything comes in black, we love black, apart from that it takes so much pigment it has a tendency to leak (Wash Colours Seperately is an important life lesson). But the peach ones . . . oh dear. Peach is a none standard colour and I've Had Issues with it before. Everything has to be custom dyed to match and all of these items (the thread, the powernet, the elastics, the ribbon, and the tape) need a different dye batch to get to the same colour. The first thing I did was take out the hooks and eyes because standard hook and eye tape does NOT dye well, and ends up with a dirty apricot fuzzy bit on the back. Offputting. All I can say is that I really wanted to do these anyway because peach is such a good colour for vintage inspired styles, and I find beige alarming, so for something that won't show up under paler clothes, peach is where it's at.

But I also only ordered 100 of the peach Vargas - they are VERY limited edition! And so the dye baths were particularly small and difficult. Basically  in the last month or so a bunch of people have been standing about dying what to you would look like crazy amounts of elastic (even a tiny garter pocket takes 4 metres of elastic) and to them is a stupidly small amount into various shades of peach to get the right one.  And that is why the Vargas were late, basically, because custom dying components to match for 100 garments is an insane idea that will inevitably cause drama and I am never, ever doing it again!

So if you like them you should probably get one now. The next batch of dresses? they're coming with black trims and black elastics and black thread . . . .