In October 2014, Lovehoney responded to the rapidly growing demand for lingerie by launching their own product line in this segment, simply titled Lovehoney Lingerie. Now, they bring us the new fall/winter collection, called “Enchant Me”, and they also have a new brand ambassador to create awareness for these products: Marnie Simpson, the star of the MTV reality show Goerdie Show. EAN spoke with Gemma Pester, Lovehoney’s Apparel Category Manager, and Heather Mercer, the company’s Lingerie Designer, asking them about the new face of the brand, the new collection, and the expanding lingerie market.
Marnie Simpson is the new face of Lovehoney Lingerie. For everyone who is hearing this name for the first time: Who is Marnie Simpson and how did she become famous?
Gemma Pestel: Marnie Simpson is a star of the MTV reality show Geordie Shore. She has 1 million followers on Instagram and 588,000 followers on Twitter. Her TV show is broadcast around the world every week and she has international appeal. Geordie Shore follows the lives of young people living in the North East of England. They are known for their outrageous partying. Marnie is one of the best-known stars of the show.
Why was she suited to be a spokesperson for Lovehoney Lingerie?
Heather Mercer: Marnie was the perfect choice because of her fun, likeable personality, her lovely curves and body confidence, and her cheeky, flirty side. She also looked absolutely gorgeous wearing our lingerie. We were so pleased with the studio shoot and video we shot with her which got a fantastic response in the British media.
Heather Mercer and Marnie Simpson at the Lovehoney Lingerie Party
How important is it for you to work with a brand ambassador? Which advantages does a famous spokesperson have?
Heather: We know how great our lingerie is, and so do our current customers, but Marnie brings a whole new audience who listen to her and watch what she wears and likes. Marnie absolutely loved our lingerie, and now her fans will want to try it, too.
Which promotional activities have you planned with Marnie?
Gemma: She did a fantastic shoot and video for us and came along to the press day, which was fantastic. She was absolutely brilliant and very enthusiastic about Lovehoney Lingerie. She did interviews with all the big consumer media in the UK. We had a crew from MTV filming her and paparazzi sending pictures all over the world. We are scheduling lots of social media to the vast audience which follows Marnie through Instagram and Twitter. We’ve got a few offers lined up for her favourite styles – watch this space!
The new autumn/winter collection bears the name „Enchant Me“ – which products does it include, and how does this collection enchant the consumers?
Heather: All of our collections are about how the lingerie makes you feel; Love Me, Spoil Me, Adore Me, and Enchant Me brings a touch of winter wonderland magic, making the wearer feel totally enchanting. Here’s a quote from one of our customers, about the balcony bra; ‘Feeling like a Princess in this Royal Blue Beauty’. Enchant Me was inspired by the romance, opulence and passion of old Imperial Russia, evoking long forgotten love stories. In softest chiffon, reminiscent of the Bolshoi Ballet, and luxurious eyelash lace. In richest black with midnight blue trims, and the hint of gold in our signature heart charm. The range consists of: balcony bra, suspender knicker, open crotch suspender thong, balcony babydoll and basque. And don’t forget how Marnie said she loved crotchless knickers!
Gemma Pestel (right) and guests at the Lovehoney Lingerie Party
Who is your targeted audience for „Enchant Me“ or Lovehoney Lingerie in general?
Heather: Our target customer is anyone who wants to feel special in lingerie, know all sizes are beautiful so our lingerie is offered in sizes 6 – 24. When designing we always consider what will make our customers feel sexy, and how the lingerie will be used.
Are your lingerie-customers sex toy customers as well or is there no connection in this regard?
Gemma: There’s a certain about of crossover between sex toy and lingerie, but there are also customers who only buy lingerie from us. Lingerie is a fantastic way to spice up your sex life, so lots of people who are new to Lovehoney start out with a sexy chemise or babydoll, and might look to a sex toy or bondage item as they become more confident.
Which contemporary trends have influenced the collection?
Heather: There’s been a return to true lingerie lately, balcony shapes and a real ‘hourglass’ figure. So our Enchant Me collection offers just this, old world glamour in beautiful eyelash lace. There has been a buzz for all things royal too, and what could be more opulent than Imperial Russia.
How quickly are the trends in the lingerie market changing?
Heather: In the past, lingerie has always been a lot slower on the uptake of catwalk trends, but recently lingerie has become a lot more fashion forward, actually influencing catwalk trends. As you can see with the ‘underwear as outerwear’ trend, and the 90’s influenced strappy chemises over trousers look. Lingerie has become the basis of the overall look.
Marnie Simpson in an MTV interview
Since when have you been offering your own lingerie line? Why did you decide to create your own brand when there are so many well-known brands in this market already?
Heather: There are many other brands out there, but we felt we could really improve the ‘sexy bedroom’ category. Feeling sexy means feeling comfortable too, if a garment makes you feel good then you’re halfway there! We have so much knowledge of lingerie construction and fitting, which we use for every style, so it’s no wonder we’re becoming known for our quality and fit.
Gemma: We’ve always stocked lingerie, but we launched Lovehoney Lingerie in October 2014 for to address the feedback from our thousands of customer reviews, mainly fit, quality, price and style. We also wanted guarantees with stock, and to be able to take our own direction with design to expand on areas of continued growth. It was important business step for Lovehoney, and we’re learning every day!
Which channels are you using to promote your range? Are you exclusively selling to consumers or are you supplying retailers as well?
Gemma: At the moment, we’re concentrating on selling directly to consumers via the Lovehoney websites.
Has demand for lingerie increased in recent times? If so, what are the reasons for this trend?
Gemma: Demand for lingerie has increased significantly over the last few years, which is fantastic news for us and other retailers. The reasons are varied, but I’d suggest the main factor is people feeling more confident in the bedroom, and willing to try new things. So that’s something else to thank Fifty Shades of Grey for!
How important is the lingerie market for Lovehoney?
Gemma: Lingerie is a significant portion of Lovehoney’s business, and it’s growing quickly. The category currently makes up approximately 20% of overall turnover and is up 40% based on last year’s sales.
Are you worried that mainstream lingerie companies from the mainstream might start making inroads into the erotic market?
Gemma: I don’t think so – we consider healthy competition a good thing! It helps keep us on our toes and makes sure that we’re constantly adapting and improving. We’re very optimistic about the future.