(Filed Under wholesale Lingerie News). BODY publisher Nick Monjo interviewed Starline owner Rob Fitzgerald about various successes, changes and plans at the costume and lingerie producer.
MONJO: I understand you are changing the name of the company.
FITZGERALD: We aren’t actually changing the name of the company at this time but we are evolving the names of our Starline product lines. Our website has always been located at Starline.la and our Instagram is starlinela. The light bulb went off when one of our new models mentioned that she “loved Starlinela (pronounced star-lin-ella).” We have been struggling with try to keep counterfeiters from using our name and images to sell their products on Amazon. And Amazon refused to do anything unless we owned a trademark. So we got the Starlinela (pronouncing it Starline LA is O.K., too!) trademark so that we can better enforce our intellectual property rights.
MONJO: When will the name change take place?
FITZGERALD: The process is ongoing. We plan on somewhat slow rolling the introduction so as to not confuse our customers or the end-customers that choose to purchase Starline by name. In addition, we don’t want to create inventory obsolescence/repackaging issues. So at this time we will be offering both the Starline and Starlinela products, but the evolution will be ultimately to Starlinela.
MONJO: What are the other brands at the company and what products do they represent?
FITZGERALD: Starline has recently closed on the purchase of the remaining interest of LRS Apparel Ltd. that it did not already own. In addition to LRS’s significant private label business, Starline now has complete ownership of the Party King line of sexy women’s costumes as well as the Raveware line of lingerie. We think that Party King is really the best in the industry in combining fun and flirty premium costumes without being too overtly sexy. And we plan on continuing to drive in the direction as the response has been fantastic.
In addition, both Starline and Party King continue to roll out a great number of plus size costumes as we are seeing phenomenal growth in that area. If you just look at the Starline and Party King plus size costumes, you will see that they are specifically designed as plus size, exhibit superior quality material and workmanship and still exhibit very real sexiness. On a combined basis, Starline and Party King offer more premium quality sexy plus size costumes than anyone else, by a large margin.
MONJO: Are you discontinuing any of the brand names?
FITZGERALD: Actually, I think so! We have been struggling with the Raveware brand for some time. We have been using it for LRS’s lingerie line, but few of the styles under the line would even be considered Rave type products. Over the last couple of years we have been marketing the new Raveware styles under their own collection name such as Privé this year and Ambrosia last year, so we should be able to able to transition fairly smoothly to where we ultimately decide things should go. Frolic, our new line leaning towards fetish and role playing, will be shipping to our wholesale customers by the end of the year.
MONJO: You mentioned in a recent conversation that your lingerie collections have been doing well lately. Can you elaborate? What was the reason?
FITZGERALD: Yes! Amazingly so! Our primary focus has always been sexy Halloween costumes, and frankly we were scared, very scared, in the April-July time frame last year. Some of our biggest customers canceled significant orders as it was questionable if there would even be a Halloween in 2020. As it turned out, demand outstripped supply and we ended up having one of our best Halloweens ever!
In the meantime, we saw our lingerie sales explode! I would like to find some way to take credit for this but I think that our success was driven by the macro event of the COVID quarantine. People stayed home, got bored and bought lingerie. Why not? Both Starline and Raveware offer really sexy lingerie and bedroom costumes. We really strive to be a leader in originality and flaunt our desirability. So if someone is just buying lingerie to wear to work, we usually don’t see that customer. But, if a woman wants to be a wizard, devil, angel, schoolgirl, unicorn, or even a Lederhosen Madam (oh yes, it’s real and it rocks), then our retailers are seeing that buyer!
I guess the other big change is that we have rapidly involved new materials into our designs. We have greatly increased our fetish offerings and our latex/wet look designs have seen demand explode.
Our biggest mistake in lingerie has been our failure to rapidly introduce plus size lingerie. Considering our dominance in the plus size costume market, you would think that we should have been all over this. But we weren’t. Its too late for 2021 at this point, but rest assured that we will be rolling out the biggest and baddest line of plus size lingerie that you will ever see next year!!!
MONJO: Who is your sales contact for costumes? Who is the contact for wholesale lingerie?
FITZGERALD: Since the combining of LRS, we don’t have a distinction between brands or types of products so anyone at either company is delighted to help out in any way we can.
Our brand ambassador is Gabby McGowan. She is in charge of opening new accounts, making sure that our wholesale customers get all of the information and forms that are required and onboarding new customers. Gabby also does a fantastic job of following up with customers and keeping them up to date on new styles and delivery dates. Gabby can be reached at (949) 209-8804 or at email@example.com.
Wan Hidajat (aka Obi Wan) runs our operations and provides a direct interface for our larger customers and private label customers. Because of Wan’s extensive knowledge of our industry and our products she can quickly assist large volume customers in determining the best ways for us to work together. Wan can be reached at (949) 748-8819 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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