Exquisite Form Continues to Grow
“In every Exquisite Form stitch, there is a promise of fit, durability, and quality. A promise we keep every day.”
Proven is the best way to describe Exquisite Form Intimates. Founded in 1945, the brand has over 70 years of experience manufacturing high-quality bras and shapewear. By the 1950s Exquisite Form established itself as a leader in packaged bras and continued to grow—tackling the popular “no-bra” trend during the 1960s through a collaboration with acclaimed designer Rudi Gernreich, and then taking on the full figure market with the launch of Fully in the 1970s. In 2007, Fruit of the Loom acquired the brand. Seven years later, as part of a joint venture with Fruit of the Loom, BL Intimates took over distribution.
For most of the 70 years Exquisite Form has been in business, the line has remained unchanged. Now, under the direction of BL Intimates, the collection and customer base are growing. One of the most visible changes has been to the product line. Most styles are only available in White and Beige, but last April the color Navy Blue and Walnut were added to the best selling Front Close with Lace Posture Bra (style 5100565), and the color Black was added to the popular Floral Lace Side Shaping Bra (style 5100548). “Launching the Navy and Walnut gave us a fresh change that was needed,” says Stephanie Bronk, corporate account manager. “It helped us to attract some new customers and our existing customers were able to incorporate some color into their intimates.”
Exquisitely Supportive of Customers
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The focus on customer service is a hallmark of the brand. Through the years Exquisite Form has maintained a large, loyal base of customers and BL Intimates upholds the same level of service they have come to expect.
For example, Bronk says that when many of the Sears locations closed, long-time customers, many in remote areas, were left without a place to buy Exquisite Form. “Multiple times a week we will get calls from women who can’t get to a store and they want to know how they can get the bras,” says Bronk. She adds that she has personally assisted customers, sending them links to online shops where they can purchase the bras and also suggesting additional styles that may suit them. “We also handle exchanges well,” she adds. “If she calls us, she is looking for a bra and we will make sure she gets one. We are more than happy to help if that’s how we can retain a customer.”
The same personalized service they offer to a singular customer, the company also offers to storeowners who carry the line. “We do provide marketing materials to every new independent boutique we bring on,” says Bronk. “This includes displays and promotional items to increase brand awareness. We also work with our retail customers closely when they may have any fitting questions or concerns. I’ve spent so much time on the phone with our independent boutiques assisting them in the same manner, whether it be to suggest a style for their own customer, help with the fits, listen to their comments—I’m always happy to help!”
Looking to the Future
In addition, BL Intimates is working on optimizing its website in an effort to attract new customers that are online shoppers. Bronk says they are making sure that they always have the best photography online, including several different angles, and even videos of certain products.
Additionally, Bronk has worked on rewriting the product descriptions so that customers shopping online have better descriptions of the fabric and features of each product. For example, the brand’s Heritage styles are made from a unique non-stretch, woven fabric. This fabric has been the base of the brand’s best-selling styles, but Bronk says that first-time customers may be unfamiliar with the feel and its benefits. She has added language, like “non-stretch”, “woven” and “maximum support” to better relay the details of the unique fabric.
The best selling, Heritage styles from Exquisite Form FULLY include the Original Fully Support Bra (5100532). It features 3-part seamed wireless cups made of non-stretch fabric that offer maximum support. Additionally, a stretch mesh fabric panel at the neckline and underside aid in ease of movement and breathability.
The Front Close Classic Support Bra (5100530) is another Heritage style, which features similar features as the 5100532 style, but features front closure. Bronk says that front close bras are very popular among women who are recovering from surgery and need the easy of a front closure bra with the additional support of the Heritage fabric.
These two styles are also offered in longline styles, the Longline Posture Bra (style 5107532) and the Front Close Longline Posture bra (style 5107530), both feature powermesh panels and reinforced front panels that are waist sliming. They also feature side boning for additional support and shaping. The bras are available in Black and White. Beige was added in 2017.
The longline bras are extremely popular for their effects on posture. Bronk says that they have received a lot of attention from bloggers and intimate apparel influencers. Recently, they were mentioned on the online publication, Bustle, in a review of posture bras. In the article, Bustle writer Maria Cassano writes that the original Longline Posture Bra gives lots of support, but feel like she is wearing nothing at all.
Product offerings also include bras with more natural fibers. The Cotton Soft Cup Bra with Lace (style 5100535) is made from cool, 100 percent natural cotton cups for breathability and comfort. The cups feature non-stretch sheer lace with scalloped edges. This bra is also available with a front closure (style 5100531), which Bronk says has been extremely popular among postsurgerical women.
In addition to bras, Exquisite Form carries three styles of medium control, shaper briefs. They are all sold in two-packs and come in White and Beige. One style, 51070402A, is also available in Black.
Another avenue of growth for Exquisite Form includes the launch of sleepwear. The line was previously owned by Vanity Fair and was taken over by BL Intimates a year ago. They officially launched the line, keeping all of the style numbers and products the same, in April 2018. “Buyers are happy and thankful that we are taking over the line,” says Bronk. She adds that every retailer who carried the line under Vanity Fair went forward with the new sleepwear line. “We’re only seeing positive things about this transition so far,” says Bronk. “Because the initial reaction was so strong and because everyone is committed to continue to work with us we are working on new bodies for the fall.”
Not many brands can say that they have been around for over 70 years. Exquisite Form, which is part of the Fruit of the Loom family, cannot only say they have done that, but they can also confidently say that they are rapidly growing forward. Bronk says customers and retailers can look forward to new product launches, more color options and an expanded range of sizes in some of their best selling styles come fall.