Over a decade ago, friends Noah Wurbel and Bill Richardson had the idea to create a lingerie store offering the same care and knowledge of a local boutique. But their retail store wouldn't be an ordinary boutique of the 90's; it would launch online, and would satisfy the intimate apparel needs of women worldwide. By 1998, the Carnegie Mellon University graduates surpassed their widest dreams and birthed Barenecessities.com, a lingerie boutique offering real time stock updates and searches for intimates that would soon survive and thrive long past the dot-com bust.
Ten years later, Bare Necessities still isn't offering every brand of lingerie, but only the best styles in the industry. Bare Necessities carries over 125 of the top intimate apparel brands, spanning the gamut from everyday favorites like Bali, Wacoal and Jockey; to designer lingerie by Betsey Johnson, Roberto Cavalli and La Perla; to men's designer brands such as 2(x)ist, Calvin Klein and Hugo Boss. Bare Necessities' selection of bras ranges from size 30AA to 54H-a range of sizes and styles to fit the full range of real women's bodies.
"We not only offer the right selection, but we are able to have a wide assortment of bras that we are continuously replenishing," said Dan Sackrowitz, vice president of marketing for Bare Necessities.
In fact, during an interview with BODY magazine, Sackrowitz confirmed that 200 42DD bras were ready to ship...and that's just one size. Most recently, in March, the online boutique picked up Yummie Tummie, a New York-based company offering modern body contouring shapers that slim midsections, because of Yummie Tummie's "great products that have a unique point of view," said Sackrowitz.
And when it comes to lingerie, more and more women are seeking all things unique.
The company reports a 35 percent increase in women shoppers from 2001, stating that women are aware that bras don't have to be uncomfortable and unattractive. And with manufacturers becoming more intelligent in incorporating technologies into garments, women are following the upward trend and willing to spend top dollars-the average ticket for the Bare Necessities customer is about $100. The New Jersey-based company gathers and maintains its customers through online marketing tools including search engine ads, banners and its in-house emailing list.
Thus far, over 400,000 shoppers have requested the Bare Necessities newsletter and over a million women and men have purchased from the site.
"We've invested time in defining who we are," said Jessica Jackson, vice president of e-commerce for the company. "Sure you can't try it [the lingerie] on, or feel it with our website, but we mitigate that by providing information on what works. We offer tips, a size chart and detailed information on the construction of bras. We photograph almost every product at least four ways and our customer service experts are great."
In providing "great customer service," Bare Necessities asks for feedback on every order, asking simply, "How are we doing? How can we better serve you?" Moreover, Jackson reads every email sent from customers and often listens in on phone conversations (with customer service representatives) to further examine how things are performing.
Aside from the fantastic success of Bare Necessities' 10-year online boutique, the company is entering the direct mail business, and launched its first print catalog last month. The 32-page full-color catalog features an assortment of bras and lingerie from intimate apparel designers, including Wacoal, Chantelle, Panache, Spanx and more.
"The launch of a print catalog is the next logical extension of our brand," said Noah Wrubel, chief executive of Bare Necessities. "Our catalog features all the latest styles from the most sought-after lingerie designers, and provides an exciting new option for our customers. The print catalog will enable us develop and maintain relationships with our customers in new ways."
In other news, Bare Necessities has opened its second distribution center in Raritan Center in New Jersey to further accommodate its customers.
"We're always evolving. In the next five to 10 years, I expect to be the number one destination people think of when shopping for lingerie," said Jackson.