At the start of the year we knew there'd be some major changes coming, so here's an update on The Plan!
For years we've been struggling with the large MOQ (minimum order quantity) of the overseas factories, which is 500 sets. We can sell 500 sets of lingerie, but it takes us 6-12 months, and we need to pay for it faster than that. Add in the loss of lingerie retailers over the last couple of years, that the ones remaining only order once a style arrives and is half sold (meaning then inevitably we've made a mess of what bra sizes are left), and you can see we've got issues.
So the big news is: the MOQ IS NOW DOWN! 300 for wired sets and 200 for S-XL sizes. This is great news for us and means everyone gets more choice of styles... but also that things will run out faster. So, we're looking forward to hearing from more people who waited 6 months and now can't find the thing they wanted.
As one thing gets resolved others go wonky, so naturally our EU factory that made corsets has decided it no longer wants to do small orders (we're seeing if we can shift to an individual corsetiere, and the office is full of bits of steel), the UK unit making the silk slips went into liquidation (and one day I will be able to tell you a long and funny story about what THAT involved), and we're trying to work out how to square the circle of getting accurate dates from the other UK factory. Until we've done that, we won't be making stock from them available to anyone (retailers nor fans) until it's actually made and in our mitts.
That affects the Vargas, the Van Doren, the Cherie, the Miss Mandalay styles, the champagne panty girdle, the Virgin, the Fan Laced Girdle, the Rose Print Van Doren, and the suspender belts for the Jacquotte, Sirena, and Tempest. All small quantities, all painful to move!
But we do have lots of styles booked in ready to go or in development (and several photoshoots to do!). In May will come our swim:
On the left is a new Ivory and Black Bikini (Lauren); this is very much based on a vintage style so as you can see, body con has been around for decades! The top has some light padding but no wire, and the biggest challenge we've had is specifying the ivory shade. One sample came out white and another positively mucky looking, so we're now onto sending exactly what we want for them to base the dye on.
On the right is a playsuit (Emma); it's not swimwear fabric but it is light and quickly drying. Again, it's based heavily on a vintage style, but obviously the vintage version would not have been a water friendly fabric! It's unusually cute for us with a tiny flamingo and flower print (exclusive to us) and has loose legs and shirring at the back. It's a none stretch fabric so it also has a zip.
On the left is a new bikini; based on the Kitten/Van Doren top, with a classic high waisted full brief, in a leopard print that's exclusive to us. I called it Cora, because we're clearly going to have to send one to Cora at the Lingerie Addict and get her excited about swimwear. On the right is the same print on our best selling Deluxe swimsuit style. I recently had this described as "strumpetty", but I suspect that depends on your bust and how glamorous the pool you use is!
In May we also get to reap the benefits of the new lower MOQ - I really thought we'd have to choose just two of these to make, but instead we get all four. Major warning though; when we only made 200 of the black Elle robes, they sold out in about a month. So stores in particular might want to jump in early.
In June we're bringing this in:
It took a few fittings to get right, because it turns out bums and fabrics can be as complicated as wired cups, and eventually we settled on the fabric on the right. I'm quite amused by putting cute little bows onto a sheer black thing that has no boobs, bum or crotch. I called it Kenosis, which might amuse some of you, I don't know.
After that we're still in sampling. The biggest most exciting bit is this, which is based on the old Van Mimi style, but with gold lace (which will hopefully match Playful Promises, but we're not sure), and we're sampling a 32F bra and a longline girdle with it as well. Also, it should have gold suspender clips and so on.
Now, even at 300 sets, bringing in a bra range costs more than £10,000 (usually more like 15), and that's just for the core sizes in the bra, knicker and suspender - add another similar amount for the extra sizes and girdle. Traditionally, small brands found that by getting retailers to order in advance and place a deposit. But that doesn't work any more, so instead, we'll be kickstarting. I have NO idea what stores will make of that, but I'm pretty certain Deadlies are switched on and get it. That does mean we'll be asking you for ideas about what rewards you'd love!
This also affects this range:
This is loosely based on the Divine bra (shape wise), made into a longline so it can be worn as a top, and the old DeVille, which I though needed a remix. The idea is to make the black lace match the black lace on the other set, so that you can mix and match. You may notice that this is the only thing we've planned that isn't black. That's because the feedback we've had from retailers is that they want black, white and beige. White doesn't sell for us and I'm allergic to beige, so this year, you're mostly getting black. I did stick a bit of peach in, though.
Obviously we'll do the cupless Vargas again, this time in all black with gold clips, and in all peach. Peach gives us some colour/dye issues so we're going to have to take out the hooks and eyes on that one I'm afraid, because they just go revolting looking rather than peach. Otherwise, we've sent an old peach Vargas dress to take the colour match from. It's one of those colours that's hard to photograph and kinda blended into Morgana here!
Moving on we've got a loungewear set that should be black lace over a peachy background; the main issue we're running into on this is the lace, as we ideally want something with a complicated border. We found some excellent nets for this, but they don't stretch enough to work! Then there's a sheer powernet/opaque panel skirt and jacket, because it is ridiculous how many of the skirts and tops we have gotten through in the last few months. I genuinely did not think there was that big a market for sheer skirts. I was VERY WRONG. Remind me of this next time I get to megalomaniacal, yes?
I'm hoping the peplum, which we intend to wire, won't cause the factory too many problems, but sometimes we do get some very strange samples!
This looks like a bra set, and is in fact based on a vintage 1/4 cup bra I borrowed from Karolina (I haven't given it back yet and she'll probably yell at me when she sees this). But the aim is to keep the shape whilst making it like the top of a corset or stays, with vertical boning, so that it doesn't need cup sizes. The knicker and suspender are based on the Jolie style, but with an added frill and no stitch detail. In retrospect I should have asked them to do an ouverte knicker to go with it too, shouldn't I? We do well with naughty things!
Last but not least, we have a good sample of the demi corset all in black. It's very plain right now, the idea being that we'll trim these up for you in the UK. We can put lace on as in the original, or Swarovskis, or... I guess tassels, given than you seem to really enjoy those? I'll come up with a few ideas and you can make suggestions in the comments too!
So, what do you think? What are you hoping makes it through sampling and fitting? How do you feel about crowdfunding? What would you like on your black satin demi corset?