It's no surprise that there are plenty of men involved in the intimate apparel business, as they are in all industries.
After all, it was a man who came up with the idea for Victoria's Secret. And he sold his fledgling business to another guy who turned it into the success it is today.
One of those men is Luis Paredes of The Lingerie Journal. He's both quiet and reserved, which to me seemed at odds with someone reporting on lingerie trends and perusing photographs of scantily clad women for a living. But those same thoughtful qualities are what make his online magazine a great read. So I was curious to know more about his background.
Whether you're a consumer or a retailer, there's plenty to learn about the industry at The Lingerie Journal. It features helpful resources, news and trend analysis, expert advice, and even a career job board. Find out more in my interview with Luis, below.
Tell us a little about your background in the lingerie industry? Why did you launch The Lingerie Journal?
Ten years ago, I found myself at the entrance of Lingerie Americas with a simple assignment: write about the exhibitors. I had no experience in the lingerie world. It was intimidating wading through a forest of booths and unfamiliar faces.
Luckily, everyone I interviewed walked me through their brands and helped me understand what the market was all about.
That was my introduction to the Lingerie world.
It was such a positive experience. I was hooked. At the time (10 years ago), I found that there wasn’t a publication dedicated to showcasing what was going on in the industry with high-quality editorial and imagery.
There were a few trade publications, yes, but the majority of them were focused on churning out press releases.
From my experience at the trade shows, I knew that there were some great stories to tell.
I had met some incredible designers with amazing stories about how and why they launched their brands. I also talked to retailers who had riveting backgrounds that led them to their dream of running a boutique.
Their stories inspired me to create the Lingerie Journal, an online publication that could do two things: inform and inspire.
What do readers learn when visiting your website? What’s the value you offer both to readers and to retailers?
A first time visitor is going to see a huge selection of features and multimedia tailored to what they need as a brand, retailer or consumer. They’ll be able to see what’s going on in the Lingerie World pretty easily.
We’ve structured the site so that Feature Editorial pieces take center stage with Trends, News and Expert Advice rounding out the bulk of the site.
Anyone who wants to dive deeper or find more industry-specific information and resources are going to find it all pretty easily. With a model directory to a job board, we have some great tools for the industry.
Retailers also have free access to all of our Business Advice features going back 10 years — all designed to help them enhance and improve their lingerie business (online and off).
How have you seen the industry change over the past ten years? What new technologies have had the biggest impact?
The Internet, social media and online shopping are the biggest developments that have had and continue to have a huge impact on lingerie.
The ability to instantly connect with your customer (retail or trade) online or on social media is impacting the way everyone does business. It’s changing retailers’, brands’ and consumers’ behaviors in an ongoing and unpredictable way.
What’s it like for a man to cover lingerie industry events and products? What’s one surprising thing you’ve learned about intimate apparel?
Occasionally, at a retail event, I might get a funny look from the staff or guests that just says, “Why is this guy in a lingerie boutique.” But it’s rare.
My background is rooted in the arts. I was artist before I was a writer. At my first trade show, I felt that the majority of the people I talked to were artists. So I approached the industry as an artist and writer. I still do.
The biggest compliment that I get is when someone tells me that they always assumed that I was a woman.
For products, there are aspects of lingerie that I will never fully understand or appreciate. That’s why I’m thankful the Lingerie Journal has an amazing team of writers like Michelle Broomes, Kathryn Kemp-Griffin, Manoela Marandino, Kim “Kimmay” Caldwell and many more. They’re able to honestly and accurately report on aspects of products I can’t.
Moving into the future, what do you think are the biggest challenges for the intimate apparel industry? What are the greatest professional challenges for you?
Communication is going to be a huge challenge because the platforms we’re all communicating on are changing so fast. It’s hard to keep up and even harder to use things like social media effectively.
One of my professional challenges is staying on top of changes in online publishing. The Lingerie Journal invests a lot in how we reach out to our readership. My goal is to inform and inspire even more readers here in the US and around the world.
If you could change one aspect of the industry, what would it be?
I find that brands are too cautious when it comes to trying something new with their marketing and PR outreach. It’s always disappointing when you can’t distinguish one brand from another because their campaigns all look and sound the same.
Do you have any predictions about the industry?
That’s a hard one. I’d say that we’ll see even more consolidation amongst the bigger, more “corporate” type of brands.
Image credits: Photos by Jan Klier for The Lingerie Journal