IN THE PINK: Belgian underwear brand Marie Jo turned 30 this year, and to mark the occasion, took a runway show on the road in Germany, its second largest market after Benelux. “Marie Jo was launched 30 years ago at CPD in Dusseldorf, which is one of the reasons why we decided to come to Germany to celebrate,” explained Dirk de Vosk, sales director for Van de Velde n.v., Marie Jo’s parent company which also produces the Andres Sarda and Prima Donna lingerie ranges.
The tour culminated in Berlin October 13, where Marie Jo let loose a mass of pink balloons which the brand’s German end consumers had purchased to raise money for Pink Ribbon Deutschland. Marie Jo is a co-sponsor of the breast cancer awareness campaign this year, which de Vosk suggested is in keeping with the brand’s objectives. “No pun intended, but our mission is to support women – in a technical, aesthetic and mental way. And regarding the latter, we thought it appropriate to work with an organization like Pink Ribbon to help raise awareness about a problem that’s so typically female.”
As for Marie Jo, “she’s alive and kicking. But she’s matured and travelled to a lot of places in 30 years,” he quipped. The premium brand, which is carried almost exclusively by specialty stores, sells about 1.8 million units globally a year. There are about 1,000 Marie Jo POS in Germany, whereas in the U.S., Marie Jo more at the fledgling stage. Distributed via an agent till a few years ago, the brand set up an office and showroom in New York where business has grown from 80 to about 250 north American doors.