(Filed Under wholesale Loungewear News). The ongoing pandemic has affected apparel businesses in a variety of ways. Claudel Lingerie, a Canadian producer, shared some of its experiences with BODY Magazine. In this interview publisher Nick Monjo spoke with Claudel’s Anny-Claude Lapierre.
MONJO: How has Claudel handled this crisis?
LAPIERRE: In the beginning of the pandemic we quickly reacted to the situation by revisiting our buying plan. As most orders were canceled by our accounts, we had to be creative on how we were going to make room for the upcoming orders. Knowing very little on the outcomes of this pandemic, we first started by cutting in the number of offered groups for Fall 2020. Production was put on hold for a short period, which freed up some time in our factories in China. While stores and malls were closed, we have been using the time to manufacture non-surgical uniforms for healthcare workers.
MONJO: Can you elaborate on the opportunity provided by the lock down?
LAPIERRE: The pandemic has pushed the work force to work from home. The work attire was quickly replaced by comfortable sweatpants and crew necks. Since then, we have noticed a higher demand for loungewear and sleepwear. Consumers are now looking for versatile clothing, something that can easily transition from lounging on the couch to going out for running errands.
MONJO: How has the pandemic provided an opportunity for the Claudel product line?
LAPIERRE: We have adapted our collection to the consumers’ new standards. As most are still working from home, loungewear has suddenly become an important category. We notice our accounts requesting these items and we will be adding more focus to this. Furthermore, we are fortunate to have access to a variety of relief programs from our government. We have taken advantage of some these in order to boost our online presence and update our ERP system. We plan to have a fully operational transactional website by the end of October.
MONJO: Can you describe the Claudel line in general? What is the price range?
LAPIERRE: We offer our collection under three labels: Claudel, Comfort & Co and Midnight Maddie. When drawing a new collection, we get inspired by dominant trends, such as bold flower prints, vintage colors and geometrical prints. This spring season, we can expect neon colors, tie dyes and a bigger loungewear collection. Each of our labels targets a different demographic. The Claudel collection aims for a traditional and more conservative consumer with its classic silhouettes and flower prints. Comfort & Co will offer looser fit garments, mix-n-match separates and basics. These two brands are offered at moderate prices, between $49 and $89. Finally, Midnight Maddie answers to a younger consumer and is mostly offered as a promotional collection on HBC’s [The Hudson’s Bay Company] floor. Retail prices will vary between $39 and $59.
MONJO: Can you describe two or three of the best selling items in the line currently?
LAPIERRE: Our basic plush robes have been selling well and our accounts are very happy with the quality and the softness of the garment. Currently wholesaled at $18.50-$22.50, it’s a basic item which we produce every season. More from the Fall collection would be our green and red plaid flannel group, “Cotton Stripes” (group # LI1006), as well as the “Warm Winter” holiday group.
MONJO: Do you see any other current trends?
LAPIERRE: Loungewear is quickly becoming an important item of the home worker‘s wardrobe. Comfort and versatility will be key when shopping for new garments. Remote working and video-conference calls are also becoming part of a new normal. Part of the new normal is also putting half the effort when dressing up. We see trends were the choice of top will trump in importance rather than pants or shoes. We are noticing bold prints, bright colors and positive quotes printed on shirts. These quotes can vary from body image positivity to self love and empowerment.
MONJO: I understand the line is currently selling to a number of stores in Canada and the U.S. Can you name a few examples?
LAPIERRE: We currently distribute our collection to over 80 accounts in the province of Quebec and about 20 across the rest of the country. We also occupy an important floorspace in the sleepwear section at Hudson’s Bay. In the U.S., the Claudel/Comfort and Co collection ca be found in over 130 stores, including Lace Silhouette Lingerie stores (PA), McCalou’s (CA), Trousseau (VA) and Vickie’s (VA).
MONJO: What else would you like to say about the collection?
LAPIERRE: The pandemic brought many challenges over the past months for business owners and consumers. Some were not as fortunate as others and found themselves having to make due in difficult decisions. However, as change is in the air, a new normal is well on it’s way. People from different communities in North America are finally speaking out and having their voices heard. We hope to see more fashion brands take actions and support these communities. During these harder times, we have reached out to different organizations who help and support women victims of conjugal abuse. We believe the victims and understand that a safe environment isn’t a given for everyone. By collaborating with these organizations, we hope to bring a little bit of joy and comfort to the victim, and hopefully contribute to a more positive and safe future.
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