Claire Franks, Founder, Intimate Apparel Consultancy

I recently had the honour of attending and presenting at the Lingerie Industry Forum in Latvia! The two-day event offered a sneak peek into the lingerie manufacturing industry. It was a pleasure to be invited and have the opportunity to speak about my lingerie consultancy business. Here are some of the topics that were covered during the event…

Lingerie manufacturing

Manufacturing is a challenge for lingerie start-ups and small brands. Lingerie production in the UK is extremely limited and most of the production facilities are often working at full capacity on premium brands. Of course, there are cheaper production alternatives in the Far East, but they can become challenging for small businesses to manage due to the high ‘minimum quantity’ allowances and long lead times.

Large manufacturing plants in China boast huge capacities and are highly skilled in producing quality, well-fitting lingerie. China offer highly mechanised factories built for high volumes and fast turnarounds. However, with very competitive prices, China is simply not suitable for start-up lingerie businesses, so is Europe the answer? Latvian manufacturing certainly won me over!

The Lingerie Industry Forum’s dazzling runway!

We flew into Riga after a day of networking and listened to presentations from the UK, Germany, Italy, France, Russia and Ukraine. We were then invited to watch a fabulous fashion show featuring some of Latvia’s biggest brands.

Factory Fascination!

On the second day of the Lingerie Industry Forum, we visited the lingerie factories in an industrial area called Liepaja – home to numerous lingerie, lace and fabric manufacturers, as well as production units.

I was particularly interested in seeing the capabilities of the Lingerie factories regarding quality, skill and experience, especially in the large cup size and small back market. I was not disappointed… Minimums were quoted at only 5 per size, they could source and transport selected European components and fabrics to coordinate all production if required, as well as simple production only.

Lead times were impressive too, only 4 weeks normally from receipt of components. Some larger units had minimum requirements of 10 per size and 2000 units over a collection. It’s unclear how Brexit will affect our continental trades, although one thing is for sure… Latvia offers quality manufacturing. Could this be the way forward for lingerie businesses?

Lauma Fabrics, Liepaja, Latvia.

In Need Of Expert Advice?

We didn’t get invited to the Lingerie Industry Forum in Latvia for nothing, you know! Intimate Apparel Consultancy can provide your company with retail and business solutions, designed to suit your budget and needs! Whether you’re an established or a start-up lingerie brand, we specialise in the following areas to help you:

  • Management – Recruitment, bra fitting courses, branding.
  • Analysis – Financial, budget or market research.
  • Planning – Advertising, shop design and range planning.
  • Buying – Pricing, products and fashion trends.
  • Merchandising – Stock turn, promotions… and much more!

Call our friendly team today on 01702 291 524 and take a step towards becoming a better lingerie business!  Find out more about the Lingerie Industry Forum here! Or, if you enjoyed this blog, click here for more top tips and industry insights!