What role do bloggers play in the intimate apparel industry?

What role do bloggers play in the intimate apparel industry?

by Cheryl Warner, www.investinyourchest.co.uk

My blog has been live for exactly a year today (18th October 2011) and this has got me thinking about what role blogs really play in the intimate apparel industry today? To get an insight, I spoke to various bloggers, retailers and manufacturers to see if there really is a communication gap between lingerie bloggers and companies, and to what extent utilizing bloggers and how their influence can benefit business.

Due to an overwhelming response from my little questionnaire I’ve split the post into four to discuss some of the most prominent questions raised and those which sparked the most interesting debate.

I think the key thing to consider from the answers I received is that they are a mixture of professional and consumer opinions; some are bloggers who post opinion pieces, news and reviews in their spare time, some are big manufacturing companies with a worldwide customer base.

What role do you think bloggers play in the intimate apparel industry?

 

Ann-Marie Manley, Head of Marketing at Eveden
Bloggers continue to be an important part of the intimate apparel sector. Blogs are a great way to express yourself and to write about the things you are passionate about, it’s also such a great, honest and authentic platform to discuss your opinions and its really refreshing to read something that you know is absolutely authentic. Many key bloggers within the lingerie sector have a great social presence on Facebook and Twitter as well as fantastic blog following, so it’s really important you consider the amount of people they influence and the impact they have with what they write.

 

Jill Homiak, owner of new clothing store for full figures – Presenza
There’s no doubt that blogging is vital. It’s evident that blogs create a following out of the need for people to get, what they feel, is unbiased information.

It’s always a great way for women to find niche products or products that are new to them that they don’t have the time to search out.

 

 

aline machado bella bella boutiqueAline Machado, Bella Bella Boutique
It’s great to hear each blogger’s personal point of view, experiences, and recommendations. Since it’s a personal evaluation/taste, make sure to follow those who are the same and/or close to your style of preference. It’s always refreshing to hear people’s opinions outside the industry; it carries a lot of value.

 

Laura Cohen, owner of online lingerie retailer Lembrassa
I think bloggers play a significant role in the apparel industry by providing personal and detailed feedback on everything from bras to hosiery to swimwear and even nightwear. With consumers having less time to shop, the internet is fast becoming the place to go for intimate apparel. However this means women are unable to try before they buy so reading reviews and feedback from bloggers is becoming a normal part of the buying process.

 

Treacle, writer and editor of The Lingerie Addict
I’m honestly not sure if bloggers play any role in the intimate apparel industry. There are a lot of independent lingerie blogs and lingerie bloggers, but the mainstream industry itself seems reluctant embrace blogging and other forms of digital media.

 

Hannah Houston, Marketing Manager of Curvy Kate
Lingerie is such a personal thing and every person is different, as is every bra brand. Bloggers offer a (usually) unbiased opinion of a variety of products on the market. Bloggers are crucial in the intimate apparel industry as more people than ever now look to forums, blogs and social media before buying. Quality has become just as important cost as we all wants things to last longer and withstand wear and tear. Bloggers give their opinions and encourage other people to share how they have found a product – which in turn makes people’s choices more likely to be right first time. It seems people are more likely to trust what the public are saying than the brands themselves sometimes, as the public won’t mislead you and will offer both points good and bad.

As a new brand it is particularly important as the public are less like to know about the ranges. Once they find a blog with Curvy Kate fittings on it will encourage them to buy.

 

Michelle Crowe, contributor to the Figleaves blog ‘Blogleaves’
In an industry such as lingerie, where others opinions on products and services are highly regarded, blogging does play an influential role. For an increasing number of women, fit and support are major factors in purchasing lingerie – blogging enables customers to share their experiences with particular styles or brands more easily.

 

Kitty, blogger at Undercover Lingerista
I would consider the role of the blogger to be very important. People often look to bloggers to review lingerie, offer advice and share new products and companies. Many rely on bloggers to keep them updated with changes in the industry, key events and previews for new collections. I feel that there is a new generation of lingerie blogger gurus on the rise!

 

Jennifer Manuel Carrol headshot smallJennifer Carroll, expert lingerie fitter, stylist and owner of Bellefleur Lingerie
Intimate Apparel bloggers provide insight to consumers and retailers, alike, in that they include opinions and reviews on various trends and brands in the marketplace. They also give a keen insight to manufacturers and wholesalers of what’s trending and provide good intelligence on what the industry should be paying attention to.

 

Nikki Hesford, Company Director at Miss Fit UK and the Big Bra Bar
The role of bloggers is becoming increasingly influential – for online retailers & niche brands you can achieve better conversion & brand awareness from well-placed blog reviews & updates than printed PR in the media. The ability to link to your website in a blog, & for the keywords to significantly help organic search engine listings is vital in effective online promotion, & unlike printed media, readers are able to add comments & testimonials to an online blog post.

 

Georgina Horne, blogger of Fuller Figure Fuller Bust
I think bloggers play a vital role. I believe that as more and more women are begging for diversity in model’s shapes and sizes the bloggers are the answer. Whether they show photos or not they all come in different shapes, sizes, colours, preferences and so on and they are often more influential and representative of today’s society. They are also honest (hopefully) about the products and whether they do really live up to the hype.

 

Ellen Lewis, Lingerie Briefs
This is a loaded question because some blogs are truly well written and informative, sharing insights and product that is not easily accessible to consumers.  Others regurgitate information “lifted” from sites and are not really providing knowledge.  On Lingerie Briefs, we have a specific mission and we are very  careful to adhere to this niche.  We are providing merchandising and product insight that is based on in depth analysis of the market. The products I cover reflect what I personally, based on 30 plus years in this industry would carry in a store.

 

Michele Poynter, Owner of online retailer business Mish Online
Bloggers play an important role in supporting or standing up for minority groups of consumers, for example, Bust for Justice’s campaign against M&S that charge more for bras in larger cup sizes. Also much of the pressure for a greater range of 28 back bras has come from bloggers. As the owner of an independent lingerie and swimwear business Mish Online, this can be a double edge sword. On the one hand it is great to know what consumers want from a relatively independent source but from experience it is often the smallest groups that can shout the loudest. Which means when, for example the topic is a particular size e.g. K cups although I want to make sure these consumers are catered for they are almost always left, and end up on the sale rail.

 

Becky-Mount150pxBecky Mount, Curvy Kate and Brastop
I think nowadays bloggers play an up-and-coming role in the intimate apparel industry. It’s no secret that blogging has been celebrated in the fashion world, the beauty industry etc. but in the past couple of years there has not only been a boom in underwear bloggers, but how they’re viewed. Companies are quickly realising that they should either be interacting with bloggers, or have their own team. They’re still a niche but they’re absolutely snowballing and looking to take over the lingerie world! I definitely feel they’re becoming detrimental to lingerie brands and it’s a trend I don’t see disappearing.

 

Darlene Campbell, author of the Hourglassy blog and owner of Campbell and Kate
I see bloggers playing 3 important roles:  (1) a mouthpiece for consumers to let manufacturers know what they want; (2) a way to help other consumers get beneath the marketing hype to discover what really works for them; and (3) a way to disseminate information about niche products to the niche markets that manufacturers are trying to reach.

 

Many of the opinions correlate in favour of the role of bloggers being an important one, however I think that Treacle’s observation that there is still a reluctance to utilise bloggers as a form of product discussion and promotion is very much correct. In today’s society which is so linked up in social media platforms and avenues for up to speed free information about products, peer sharing and subscriptions, I think any company who may be hesitant to approach bloggers may be missing a trick.

As a blogger myself I’m not sure to what extent I’ve influenced the intimate apparel industry but I know I’ve definitely helped many readers find lingerie which they’re enjoyed since I get emails and comments telling me so every day. It would be helpful to have lingerie companies work with me a bit more since most of my market research at the moment comes from my own pocket which financially can be difficult to maintain, plus companies approaching me is an invaluable way for me to discover new brands to try and therefore pass my feedback on to my readers. One thing I’ve learnt from blogging is how hesitant people are to trying new brands particularly ones which will have expensive long distance shipping or no returns service, and if nothing more I see lingerie blogging as a way of bridging that gap.

I’d like to thank all who kindly offered their time in answering these questions. It’s fascinating that the majority of both bloggers and merchants both seem to highly value blog power, do you agree with their answers? I’d be interested to hear any testimonials of any company who has directly benefitted from blog exposure – if you have and are willing to share your experience please do get in touch!

Next up, I asked many of the same intimate apparel masterminds and professionals the question: ‘Is blogging a vital aspect of social media?’

 

Read the Full Series

What Role Do Bloggers Play in the Intimate Apparel Industry? Part 1 of 4
What Role Do Bloggers Play in the Intimate Apparel Industry? Part 2 of 4
What Role Do Bloggers Play in the Intimate Apparel Industry? Part 3 of 4
What Role Do Bloggers Play in the Intimate Apparel Industry? Part 4 of 4

15 Comments on “What role do bloggers play in the intimate apparel industry?

  1. […] Lingerie Journal stellt heute die Frage „Welche Rolle spielen Blogger in unserer Brache“ an Vertreter der Lingerieindustrie. Die Meinungen reichen von wenig bis sehr einflussreich. Na […]

  2. Avatar Treacle says:

    This was a super interesting read, and I really enjoyed seeing what other people had to say about the subject.

    As a blogger, I understand the power of blogging but as someone who’s attended more industry events recently (like tradeshows), I find myself having to explain what a blog is to a disturbing number of exhibitors.

    I think the lingerie industry is lagging behind the mainstream fashion industry when it comes to understanding the value of new media (blogs, video, social media, etc.) in their marketing and promotional efforts.

    For a lot of brands, especially older brands, if you don’t write for a magazine or trade journal, you don’t exist. And that’s not only an archaic mindset to have, it’s a dangerous one for the longevity of your business.

    • Avatar David says:

      I believe Lingerie bloggers play a huge role as well as here’ include me personally. We are the actual tone of words of the people. We give a correct, truthful view from the brazier we all wear or even would like to wear. We let the general open are conscious of concerns we’re getting using the brazier on offer.We’re providing free guidance towards the large international businesses who’re developing that which you desire to wear therefore we should be heard simply since they don’t usually get it right. My partner and my spouse and i actually put on a big mug dimensions in order to find it difficult to locate anything at all in the store of course , if I really do believe it is the purchase price is actually substantial and therefore i only like to order online.

  3. Hello Tracey

    We agree with your comments.

    To move forward we have to embrace the ever evolving media technology to enable full exposure for both retailers and consumers to obtain choice and corrrect bra fitting information.

    I think it is a wonderful opportunity especially for the many women who find it so confusing or daunting especially if they have additional fitting requirements, such as post surgery for women with a larger cup and or band size.

    Keep up the good work everyone.
    Beverley :0)

  4. I don’t think there’s any doubt that consumers can gain a great deal of insight and use from lingerie bloggers but whether the ‘Industry’ is paying attention to the power of blogs is very much in doubt. Because my brand is niche (D-K) I get a lot of specific customer feedback which I pass on to my suppliers and manufacturers. They are often surprised that I’m giving them customer feedback and have no idea when I reference other bloggers’ activities and their influence.

    Treacle is absolutely right that the lingerie industry is behind when it comes to new media. Many of my suppliers and manufacturers have zero social media presence or even web presence. As an online only boutique I am regarded as a lesser brand because the ‘Industry’ here in Canada does not understand the digital consumer or where they interact.

    I think Curvy Kate has done an outstanding job of engaging with consumers and retailers alike in their social communication.

    Thank you for the blog Cheryl, you raise a very important question in my world!! http://blog.butterflycollection.ca/

  5. Avatar Allaine says:

    Is it wrong for me to use my blog http://site.nickiisboutique.com/blog to highlight what exciting or new at Nickii’s Boutique?

  6. Avatar Sia says:

    I think Lingerie bloggers play an important role and here I include myself. We are the voice of the people. We give a true, honest opinion of the bras we wear or would like to wear. We let the public know of issues we are having with the bras on offer.

    We are giving free advice to the large multinational corporations who are designing what we want to wear so we should be heard because they don’t always get it right. I wear a large cup size and find it impossible to find anything in a store and if I do find it the price is astronomical so I only shop online.

    I have my blog and I write my opinions, what I like, what I don’t like where I shop and more importantly where girls like me who wear larger cup sizes can shop because it really is difficult to find our size. It shouldn’t be so hard.

    Anyway that is my 10cents! 🙂

  7. […] What Role Do Bloggers Play in the Intimate Apparel Industry? Part 1 of 4 What Role Do Bloggers Play in the Intimate Apparel Industry? Part 2 of 4 What Role Do Bloggers Play in the Intimate Apparel Industry? Part 3 of 4 What Role Do Bloggers Play in the Intimate Apparel Industry? Part 4 of 4 […]

  8. […] What Role Do Bloggers Play in the Intimate Apparel Industry? Part 1 of 4 What Role Do Bloggers Play in the Intimate Apparel Industry? Part 2 of 4 What Role Do Bloggers Play in the Intimate Apparel Industry? Part 3 of 4 What Role Do Bloggers Play in the Intimate Apparel Industry? Part 4 of 4 […]

  9. […] to promote your brand, but if you choose to, how should you go about it? As discussed in our ‘What Role Do Bloggers Play?’ series, blogging is still – by definition – a new media, and still developing as a form […]

  10. It depends on how important you see the internet in terms of providing end customers with information. Each blogger is going to mention a product and use a photograph – these are going to be picked up by a search engine adding relevance to your products keyword (say, Voluptuous Veronica black bra 32C demi cup underwire) – now imagine this is picked up 1000 times by 1000 bloggers from a myriad of addresses across the globe. This must be a product worthy of ranking well…

    The SE suddenly gets really excited

    How do you think the Lingerie Journal gets so popular?

    So as a manufacturer, you want to take your bloggers to virtual lunch…

  11. Avatar Jasmine says:

    I think blogging about lingerie cannot be over emphasized. If you do not properly explain the terms, techniques and trends, nobody’s gonna ever understand why a lingerie looks that way and why it seems technical. I love lingerie blogs. they’re like an online lingerie school!

  12. Avatar Jasmine says:

    this is a good one. well done guys

  13. Avatar Dave says:

    Lingerie Bloggers are one of the least expensive, most powerful marketing resources for any lingerie company. Imagine having an army of unpaid, outside sales people that are passionate about your brand and that never get tired of promoting you. To take advantage of Lingerie Bloggers, before the fashion weeks, create a mini pre-show in each of your regions and invite 100-200 fashion bloggers to the event. How much is it worth to you to have a free employee for a year? No one gives these journalists anything. So you should give them free sample clothes, free dinner, free look books, a press pass with their photo and maybe one of those $150 Android Tablets with your brand on it and your app inside it. So for $200 you can own them for a year (or more) Do that in 5 or 6 regions around the country and you have over 1000 dedicated bloggers promoting your brand.

    Hope the helps

    Sincerely,

    Dave The Consultant

  14. I think lingerie bloggers play a fairly significant role throughout the intimate apparel industry, here at Moonrise, we’ve made lots of good contacts through reading other lingerie blogs and get a realistic insight as to what the market really likes. I tend to agree with “Sia” & “Claire Dumican” that manufacturers and wholesalers are starting to fall behind in what they are offering, size wise anyway. As an independent online retailer point of view, blogging is becoming increasingly more important, if not vital, in our sector to find out what todays market really thinks.

    Ziggy

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