Moira Nelson is the founder of Bra La Mode and The Lingerie Alliance. She’s a seasoned intimate apparel professional working primarily with independent, start-up brands that are looking to break into the industry.
What’s your background?
I worked in the intimate apparel industry and still do, full time, for about 12 years. I’ve always worked on the mass wholesale of the business but in launching my website, Bra la Mode, and getting involved via social media primarily on Facebook, Twitter, and so on, I was able to realize there’s this whole another world there.
Why did you want to start your own website?
Well I was working for a company and they needed some help in terms of the marketing and what not. So I volunteered and said sure I will work on getting the website up and running and why don’t we try Facebook. So I kind of put myself out there on Facebook as I was interacting with people in the industry. Primarily the small, independent brands and other intimate apparel professionals like lace suppliers, retail boutique owners and bloggers.
It was this whole world that I’ve never been exposure to before. I noticed there’s a disconnect between the two worlds. I thought that now having a foot in each side I could bridge that gap. I noticed people were really lacking information primarily in small, independent brands. They didn’t know where to start. They don’t know the first thing about mark up or any open buy plan and all those sort of things. They know how to make pretty panties but then what? So initially I was trying to figure how I can help these people because they are so passionate about what they do.
Do you share their passion?
I didn’t set out to be in the lingerie business. I fell into it and at the time I needed a job. So, I got a job and it happened to be for a lingerie company. It was a small company so I had the opportunity to get my hands in everything. I really fell in love with it for a variety of reasons. I love that its very female oriented industry, I love supporting smaller, independent brands and entrepreneurs. There’s something about the passion in someone’s eyes when they come to you with an idea but they don’t know where to start. I like feeling like I’m making a difference in women’s lives.
You have two websites right?
Well it’s the lingerie alliance and my website, Bra la Mode, which is really just the main plate. It’s just a blog but I don’t get to post as regularly as I like.
I co-founded The Lingerie Alliance with Louis Puritias who is also founder of The Lingerie Journal, a leader in online and business publication, and we share the same passion for supporting independent brands and start-ups.
We also have, The Business of Pleasure, which crosses over to the sexier side of the business. We’re very careful about keeping that separate.
Why do you separate them?
In terms of branding and marketing, it’s very important to keep them distinct and different. My feeling is once you go into that sexier side you can’t come back.
There will be some crossover especially because of the Fifty Shades of Grey so, on that I think today’s woman is becoming a little more comfortable in her skin and comfortable talking about her sensuality and sexuality. A lot of small retail stores don’t carry the sex toy type things or, pleasure massagers.
Even Walgreens sells them.
Ha! I know! We can have a little crossover but, we certainly won’t post hardcore bondage products on The Lingerie Journal. It’s a clear definition between the two.
There’s still a slight stigma about the sex toys. People still keep it a little behind closed doors. I’m certain in our parent’s time you didn’t talk about that stuff at all. There was a lot of judgment but nowadays people are a lot more open about it. Is she going to Walgreens buying her paper towel and toilet paper and throwing her vibrator on top of it? I don’t know. I still think she would prefer a little discretion when purchasing those types of products. The key is that today she is purchasing them whereas twenty years ago you wouldn’t consider it but she still wants to be a little more personal and private about it.
Where do you think the lingerie industry is going?
Well, in the last 5-10 years there has been a lot more education and information about a proper bra fit because that wasn’t always there. Twenty years ago a woman would go into Macy’s or any other department and just take whatever was there. Today’s consumer, in general, purchasing whatever it maybe, is much savvier because of the internet. She is educated and knows what she should be getting and how she wants it to fit.
The concept of frivolous shopping has changed. If she needs a new bra she wants something that will fit well, and last. The demand for a better fit and a proper fit has led to frustration. Women are really frustrated because they’re not finding what they want in the marketplace.