(Filed Under wholesale Lingerie News). Rhonda Shear may be best known as the sexy, comedic hostess of USA's "Up All Night" show, but in recent years her career has been intimates.
Since 2004, Shear and her husband Van Fagan have run the shapewear and lingerie wholesale company Shear Enterprises, LLC, and she has sold her intimates on the Home Shopping Network (HSN). She can also be seen in Canada on The Home Shopping Channel, and, starting in July, she will be appearing on the United Kingdom shopping channel Ideal World.
In 2007 she also opened the 2,300-square-foot lingerie boutique Maison Rouge in downtown Saint Petersburg, Fl. Shears' merchandise retails from $7 to $100, with lingerie and sleepwear averaging from $29 to $59 and shapewear from $29 to $49. Sizes range from XS to 4X for bottoms, and 32 to 46, A through DDD for bras.
"This is my second career, and I never thought anything could grab my attention as much as acting, but I love this as much, maybe more," Shear commented in a recent conversation with BODY.
This second career was launched soon after her marriage in 2001 to her high school sweetheart, Van Fagan, who she reconnected with on Classmates.com and married just 15 days later. At that time, Fagan was running a web business in Louisiana where Shear felt she had "nothing to do." To keep her busy, he set up a lingerie and shapewear website for her, which she stocked with styles bought in downtown Los Angeles and found she had a knack for selling intimates. According to Shear, she drew from her experience in show business, and her creative know-how to build her own successful line through Shear Enterprises, LLC.
"I just love to play dress up and I'm a bit of a shopaholic," Shear said of her attraction to intimate apparel. "I love textures, I love fabrics, I have that sense." In 2004, Shear appeared for the first time on the Home Shopping Network, and proved an immediate success, said Fagan. Today, approximately 75 percent of the company's multi-million dollar retail sales are conducted through HSN, both on-air and through the network's website. According to the company, sales doubled during Shear's first few years on HSN, and have continued to "grow exponentially" in recent years. Shear described her typical customer on the network as a woman between 35 and 55-years-old, sized M through 1X.
"For more than 6 years, the Rhonda Shear collection has been sold exclusively at HSN," Chuck Anderson, senior vice president of ready-to-wear and accessories merchandising at HSN, commented. "This multi-million dollar business has grown to be the retailer's largest shapewear business."
Shear's passion for comfortable-yet-sexy intimates dates back to her career in show business, during which: "stylists were always stuffing me into girdles to give me an hourglass shape, even though I wasn't big." Now, she aims to develop "comfortable, seamless and sexy undergarments for women of any size and age." As a self-described curvy woman of baby boomer age, Shear said she designs based on what she likes to wear.
Shear said that manufacturers who limit their size-offerings are "missing out on a huge sector of the market," particularly the large population of aging baby boomers. "If you're on vacation, look around you: America is size 10 and up these days," she said. "The money out there is in the hands of the baby boomers, but a lot of places don't have our sizes."
In addition to basic nude and black shades, she offers garments in "fun, seasonal fashion colors" including burgundy, scarlet red, ice blue and soft lavender coming this fall in select styles. In partnership with Hollywood-based fashion designer Warden Neil, Shear Enterprises will be launching the new line, Platinum Shapewear, which will be shown on HSN and in her boutique later this year.
Shear believes that winning the trust of women, and keeping it, has been the key to her success, not her celebrity status. "I think women feel like they can trust me the way they would a girlfriend because my line is real and I add some humor to selling it. I'm not afraid to talk about boobs or butts and I build their confidence."
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