By  on March 18, 2013

Retailers wanting to build online buzz for the brands they sell are getting some help from savvy wholesalers who are out pushing their fashions and developing more direct relationships with customers.

Take Ivy & Blu Maggy Boutique, a reboot of the Suzi Chin for Maggy Boutique dress business that this month will roll out to stores such as Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor and Belk as well as ModCloth, Amazon and Zappos.

The traditionally wholesale business will begin the relaunch in earnest today online with a new e-commerce site. There will also be a Pininterest page and a marketing campaign featured on Facebook, as well as an online competition that will prompt consumers to engage with the brand by taking pictures of themselves in an Ivy & Blu dress.

Gone are the days when wholesale brands relied on retailers and their orders to tell them what resonated with shoppers and what didn’t.

“Now, you have to go to the consumer,” said Lisa Leavy-Fisher, president of Maggy Boutique. “Consumer engagement is really what it’s all about.”

And Leavy-Fisher said the business’ has benefited from having its own connection to consumers through an e-commerce site.

“It gives us complete insight into the consumer, what she needs, what she’s looking for,” she said. “When you start to read customer feedback, you get a tremendous amount of information that can help you merchandise your collection.”

Leavy-Fisher said online comments from consumers have prompted her to add more dresses with sleeves to the line and help her better understand what plus-size consumers want.

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