The Daily Feeling of Luxury

Interview with Frederick Franz, General Manager of Simone Pérèle Corsetry Fashion GmbH

Simone Pérèle Wish Blanc Cristal from the Iconic Wish Line
Ideal for summer: Wish Blanc Cristal from the Iconic Wish Line

"Liberating and supporting the female body" – that was the mantra of corset maker Simone Pérèle, who founded her own company over 75 years ago. In doing so, she met and still meets today the demands of quality-conscious women for their lingerie. The traditional company is now transforming itself into a modern provider with a wider range of products – but remains true to its principle of combining aesthetics and functional comfort.

Wirtschaftsforum: Mr. Franz, the company has grown big with classic lingerie and has been on the market for over 75 years. What are your core products today?

Frederick Franz: Lingerie, and especially bras, are still one of our strengths. In addition, we cover nightwear, sportswear, swimwear, loungewear, and knickers, as well as specials such as for Valentine's Day. Our swimwear, loungewear, and sportswear collections are currently still under development. We will launch the sportswear line in time for the Olympics in France. Basically, due to our premium claim, silk and satin are important subjects for us.

Frederick Franz, General Manager of Simone Pérèle Corsetry Fashions GmbH
Frederick Franz, General Manager of Simone Pérèle Corsetry Fashions GmbH

Wirtschaftsforum: Speaking of 'important topics': Does the issue of sustainability also play a role in your new developments?

Frederick Franz: We have established our own program. This includes, among other things, reusing our materials, such as lace. Our customers can also send their bras back to us for repair. We want to involve our dealers and suppliers in this program, which is why we are in constant exchange with them. Our summer collection, which we present in the spring, is equipped with QR codes that allow one to track the entire supply chain from A to Z.

Wirtschaftsforum: What trends and topics do you observe in the market, with your customers?

Frederick Franz: In the last few years, since Coronavirus, price has become an increasingly important issue. Buyers are becoming more price-conscious. That's why we have only minimally increased the prices of our products in the past years, even though our costs have significantly risen. To send a signal that we stand by our customers, we have reduced our strongest series by ten EUR.

Wirtschaftsforum: Simone Pérèle is positioned in the high-priced segment. Why do customers choose your products?

Frederick Franz: It's about our tradition, our quality, and the craftsmanship in our products. We have a story to tell. That's why it's very important for us that our products are sold by professional saleswomen. We offer premium products, therefore, we are only present in stores with our own saleswomen. Unfortunately, the shortage of skilled workers also affects our industry. There is an increasing loss of know-how in lingerie sales. Assistants are being used more frequently. It's a to-do for the industry to improve this situation. Lingerie products must not only look good, but they must also fit well, especially bras. This is particularly important for young girls for health reasons. We are working together with a cosmetic surgeon from Düsseldorf on a concept, also involving the press, such as COSMOPOLITAN magazine.

Wirtschaftsforum: How important are digital channels in your field?

Frederick Franz: We are active in e-commerce, but bras need to be tried on. This is why the return rate is extremely high. Lingerie products also have to be handled differently in returns compared to, for example, T-shirts. A simple ozone cleaning is not sufficient. So, a return is cost-intensive. That's why many market participants rely on NOS as an additional sales counter. In the marketing area, digital channels are very important, especially to reach young people, to educate them, for example, about healthy fits. We want to rejuvenate and become more modern. Here, for example, social media is an important marketing tool.

Simone Pérèle Mystic Noir
A complete set from the Mystic Noir line

Wirtschaftsforum: Does this mean you are set for growth in the coming months?

Frederick Franz: We will talk more about ourselves. Our goal is visibility, both online and offline, in B2B as well as B2C sectors. With this in mind, we are open to marketing cooperations. Of course, we will involve our field service in this development. In addition, we will set up a dedicated online shop for German-speaking countries in Europe.

Wirtschaftsforum: What is your long-term goal with Simone Pérèle?

Frederick Franz: Through visibility on all channels, we aim to at least double our customer base. The market potential is definitely there. That's why we look to the future with confidence.