(Filed Under wholesale Lingerie News). BODY associate publisher Ted Vayos recently interviewed Jacqueline Sava, president of Soak Wash Inc., about the benefits to lingerie stores who offer of her product line.
Vayos: The Soak Wash brand has been expanding in the US for many years, why have you been so successful?
Sava: The lingerie wash category was really ready for a new brand. Materials and fashions have evolved, retail environments had evolved, consumers became more sophisticated, yet the wash options were stagnant. Both the consumer and the retailer were ready for a fresh, bright and market driven brand to add to their shelves. We noticed the gap in the marketplace and filled it by creating Soak.
Vayos: How successful was 2012 for Soak Wash over 2011? Why do you feel this product has had such an impact especially during the recession?
Sava: Sales were up year over year by over 25%. We opened many new accounts and helped existing ones grow. Retailers needed a low price point, bright and colorful product on the shelves (and more importantly moving off the shelves) to show customers that product was still moving in the recession. Soak helps the retailer increase each and every sale, so for the same work, the store makes more money. That’s key to revenue growth, recession or not.
Vayos: How can stores increase their bottom line every year by selling Soak Wash?
Sava: Adding Soak to each sale will dramatically increase store revenue. Having Soak at the point of sale gives the customer additional purchasing choices in the store. By recommending Soak with every sale, you can potentially add $16 to each one. That can really add up.
Vayos: How much does it cost a store to get started? What displays do you offer?
Sava: We sell Soak by the case pack. A store can get started with as little as 6 bottles. We recommend our introductory package, which comes with free fragrance testers, postcards, minisoaks (single use samples to give away) as well as a counter top display. This costs $340. Essentially, it’s a few of each fragrance and size, plus a handful of free merchandising tools, and access to our online back-end with editorial images, marketing copy and product support. When stores pick and choose products on their own, they typically come up with the introductory assortment.
Vayos: What is the potential earnings of each display at your recommended retail price points? How much have stores made in 2012 by introducing their customers to Soak Wash?
Sava: An average Soak retailer purchases $3,000-$7,000 in Soak products each year. So, if they are selling keystone, they are making the same in additional revenue. A strong Soak retailer earns between $15,000 and $30,000 per year by selling Soak. And these aren’t huge shops, or multiple locations. These are single, independently owned bra fitting boutiques with great stores and exceptional staff.
Vayos: Why is your packaging and displays a very important part of the sell? How does it stack up to the competition? What direct feedback have you heard from your retail customers?
Sava: Soak customers are passionate about our products. They don’t just use them, they brag about them. We get tweets, FB posts and emails daily from consumers and retailers alike who love and trust Soak. We’ve got superior packaging, more stylish branding and accessible product knowledge and images ready for stores to use. Our process from order to sale is more fluid than our competitors. Stores can be up and running with Soak product descriptions, editorial content, images and fragrance descriptions in minutes. Retailers really appreciate how easy it is to open a Soak account especially at busy trade shows and in busy stores. Stores choose Soak because our branding suits the upscale aesthetic of most fashion forward lingerie boutiques. They are proud to display Soak bottles on their limited counter space and staff enjoys using Soak and promoting the fresh fragrances.
Vayos: How does the retailer go about introducing the customer to Soak Wash? What is the process? How do they answer the normal questions like “what is wrong with my regular laundry detergent?”
Sava: Sampling is the key to introducing Soak . We give staff and top customers many minisoaks so they can use Soak, love it and in turn recommend it to customers. Soak cares for fine lingerie better than leading washes. It’s no-rinse formula, skin grade quality ingredients and fresh feel makes it like skin care for your clothing. We often ask customers if they’d take a bath in the competitor’s wash? If not, why would they wash their super delicate lingerie (that wears close to the body in intimate spots) in it? Soak is so gentle and high quality you can take a bath in it. Also, if the no-rinse aspect is unfamiliar, customers can always rinse Soak out, it just removes the last bit of fragrance.
Vayos: How does the retailer instruct the consumer in the fitting room or at the register on using the product at home?
Sava: Retailers should recommend Soak in both spots. We provide free fitting room and store window decals to help customers educate themselves.
Here is the best advice from our top retailers: Steps to selling SOAK: The best time to talk about SOAK is in the change room, especially if you are busy or short staffed. This way, when you get up to the cash you can say, ‘Are you interested in trying SOAK today? Here are the scents. Would you like the value size or the travel size?’
When in the fitting room:
• How are you washing your bras?
• We recommend hand washing or SOAKING in SOAK. Your bra will stay in great shape and offer better support for a longer period of time.
• Bras like to be washed every 1-3 wears to keep them fresh and to keep the elastic rejuvenated. The more often you wash them, the longer they will last. — Try washing the matching knickers at the same time in case the colour fades.
• Using SOAK makes hand washing easy. Just add a few drops to a bowl/sink of water and let the bra ‘soak’ for 15 minutes. Take the bra and run cool water over it. Lining your fist with a towel, push into the cup of the bra. Take your opposite hand and using the balance of the towel press out the moisture from the bra. Alternatively, press the bra between two sides of a towel (only when the bra has no lining or form). Hang from the centre to dry or lay flat.
• Don’t have enough time? Try these times:
— When you are in the shower.
— When you are bathing your kids.
— When you are cleaning your bathroom.
— When you are watching your favorite TV show.
— Skip the rinse, The product is biodegradable.
What else can I use Soak for?
— Removing stains, even wine, ink and breast milk.
— Cleaning your yoga mat.
— Cleaning your kids toys.
— Cleaning all your laundry.
— Mopping the floor.
Vayos: What percentage of your retailers are buying more product in 2012 over 2011?
Sava: Our top customers are ordering more regularly. It’s about regular consistent sales, rather than one-time high purchases. We aim to keep shelves replenished and to help our retailers manage their cash flow. It’s not about buying a lot (well, it is) but more importantly it is about buying Soak regularly.
The more inventory on hand, the higher the sales. Fabulous Foundations By Nancy keeps a minimum of 72 Soak bottles on hand for display, so customers always know they can get Soak. She orders biweekly replenishment, to keep cash flow in check and shelves stocked. When customers run out, they’re super busy, so they lose revenue by having empty shelves and being too busy to call. We strive to contact all our retailers regularly, to help them manage their inventory and sales. Since holiday, we’ve had several retailers ask to be on a more regular call cycle, so they don’t run out of Soak. They know that no Soak means lost revenue. We’ve implemented a ‘good to great’ program by which we help our new and smaller retailers become high-income earners with Soak. We work one on one with staff for training, sampling and product knowledge. We also feature customers on our blog, connect with them through social media and support their events and achievements.
Over 50% of our customers sold more in 2012 than 2011. Of those, 75% more than doubled their sales. This kind of growth is really important to the longevity of Soak. 5% of our customers are up 150-300% year over year in sales. That’s amazing for small boutiques across North America.
Vayos: Last year you expanded the line into other areas. Please recap all the new products the company offered in 2012 and what new products will you be offering in 2013?
Sava: In 2012 we launched our luxury hand crème Handmaid, in matching Soak scents. Our lingerie retailers are using Handmaid as a gift with purchase, staff treat and additional point of sale upsell item. This year, we’re launching a new fragrance called Yuzu. It’s a sophisticated citrus with sweet scents of crushed eucalyptus. It also features a trendy and captivating orange label, once again, reinforcing the fact that the Soak brand is not only about high quality lingerie wash but also about the retail environment, trends and fashion.
Vayos: What new key accounts have begun to carry Soak?
Sava: We’ve recently launched Soak on TSC, The Shopping Channel in Canada. We’re moving into our second wave of shows with great on-tv demos and new product offerings. We’re creating custom gift sets and unique offerings for the audience. This national exposure has been great for Soak this year.
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