(Filed Under wholesale Lingerie News). BODY publisher Nick Monjo conducted this interview with Rodrigo Cano, president of the Cano Group, the firm that produces EuroSkins shapewear and intimates as well as Eurotard dancewear.
Cano had worked for the firm for over 30 years, most recently as general manager, before purchsing the company from former owner. Tolbert Yilmaz. last September.
MONJO: You recently moved from being a manager at Eurotard to owner. What gave you the confidence to make such a bold move at a time when the industry is so challenging?
CANO: Managing this great company of two globally reputable brands (Eurotard dancewear and EuroSkins luxury intimates and shapewear) for over 35 years gave me the skill, knowledge, expertise, and most importantly, the vision, to continue shaping its success. As such, it was not confidence that drove this move but an insatiable hunger to continue the Eurotard and EuroSkins mission to fill the markets with exceptional products that consumers trust, while supporting the local retail system.
Yes, the industry right now is challenging, which is exactly the reason brands like EuroSkins and Eurotard need to prevail. As owner, this concept of preserving the livelihood of local retailers is at the forefront of every business decision.
MONJO: Now that you are in charge, what changes have you made?
CANO: My intention is not to change the company, but simply reinforce the existing framework and then grow from there. My focus is to preserve and enhance the core values, missions and strategies of EuroSkins and Eurotard. To do this, a huge shift towards digitalizing the brands’ operations, processes and marketing initiatives is my first order of business.
MONJO: What new things can we expect from Cano Group in 2018 and beyond? For example, I understand you have recently launched an activewear collection. Can you tell us about that?
CANO: EuroSkins new activewear collection, which we are calling ‘Athleisure’ due to the variety of uses and markets of these products, is an example of our extensive background in dance and ballet which distinguishes us from other brands. The knowledge that we have on how the body moves and how to design garments to complement this movement lends itself nicely to the active market. The beauty of our Athleisure Collection is the blend of shapewear and sportswear. EuroSkins Active Leggings feature stylish colors, patterns and designs with the added bonus of wide tummy control waistbands. The shaping waistbands are disguised as a trendy high-waist design, and onlookers would have no idea that the waistband is actually flattening the tummy and cinching the waist.
MONJO: I know you believe strongly that wholesalers should not be selling direct to consumers. Can you summarize the key components of your commitment to helping retailers remain strong?
CANO: The belief that wholesalers or manufacturers should not sell directly to consumers is so engrained in EuroSkins and Eurotard’s company culture that literally every move we make is done with this concept in mind. For instance, we understand that in order for any business (wholesale or retail) to survive the shift to online, digital presence must be made. We, just like any other company, have made that shift with our websites, social media and digital catalogs. However, unlike any other company, we have made the transition with retail stores by our side. Our Consumer Order Referral Program allows us to promote our products and brands online while automatically routing online consumer orders to the nearest participating retail store. With this program, we have effectively turned the most daunting and formidable retail store competitors, online direct-to-consumer brands, into an ally. Over the years, EuroSkins and Eurotard has funneled thousands upon thousands of dollars BACK into the local retail system.
MONJO: Why are retailers so important to the process?
CANO: There are two very simple answers to this question.
The first answer is business-oriented; retailers are the reason for manufacturer’s success. Traditionally, brands relied on local retailers to promote their products and help them achieve market entry. Over the years this symbiotic relationship has turned into a competitive one. In some ways, EuroSkins and Eurotard’s commitment to retail stores is somewhat of an homage-an acknowledgement and appreciation-of everything the stores have done for our brands.
The second answer is a little more personal: without retailers, our communities would lack enrichment, variety, uniqueness and culture. Small brick-and-mortar stores are the backbone of our neighborhoods. They play a vital role in funneling money back into the communities in which we live, work and play.
MONJO: I know you have been skeptical about the long term survival of some retailers in the face of all this direct selling. Do you see some signs of hope, as we do?
CANO: I am very glad to see more and more retailers embracing technology. This adoption of the digital world is imperative to retail success. We are seeing retailers making the move to having an online store site to help sell their products and promote their ‘brand’. We are getting more and more requests for digital catalogs, social media content, and product material for their websites. All of this brings hope for retail survival.
MONJO: Your company started in the ballet dance category. How did that impact your approach to intimate apparel, shapewear and activewear?
CANO: EuroSkins foundations in dancewear give the brand a unique edge in the intimate apparel industry. Our garments are intentionally designed to fit and move with the body during movement. Our materials and fabrics are of the highest quality, and the shape and recovery properties are exceptional. Even in our shapewear collections, users find it to be incredibly comfortable and breathable yet it still shapes their silhouette. It is our background in dancewear and our kinesthetic knowledge that allows us to make apparel that effectively shapes the body without restricting movement.
MONJO: Can you give a quick summary of all the categories in which your company is involved today?
CANO: We are involved in a number of categories of apparel ranging from our flagship of shapewear and intimates to figure enhancing gel products and legwear. Currently on our website, euroskins.com, we have the Power Collection of super strong shapewear, Noir Collection of lingerie-inspired shapewear, EuroSkins Seamless Collection of lightweight yet firm shapewear, Enhance Collection of silicone figure boosting products, Activewear and every day Intimates and liners.
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