LONDON — British lingerie brand Coco de Mer is shifting gears following a management buyout spearheaded by its managing director Lucy Litwack.
Litwack, who bought the brand from Lovehoney Group with help from a silent partner, told WWD she wants to execute her vision of Coco de Mer as a global, luxury brand.
“Over time, we started realizing that Coco de Mer was on a very different path to Lovehoney group, which is a different business focusing on much lower prices and more mass market online-only product,” said Litwack.
She joined the company as managing director in 2014 after holding director positions at La Perla, Victoria’s Secret and David Beckham Bodywear.
“Lovehoney and myself jointly came to a realization that the businesses were very different and that for Coco de Mer to flourish and develop in the luxury end of retail, it made sense to separate the businesses.”
The purchase price was 5 million pounds, at current exchange.
Litwack said she is looking to refine the brand’s image through a number of collaborations with the likes of Pamela Anderson and the British photographer Rankin. She also wants to explore wholesale opportunities in key international markets, particularly in the U.S.
“I think Coco de Mer has yet to realize its full potential. It’s always been considered as a niche brand, but there is an opportunity to grow it into a global luxury brand with a much more commercial scale,” added Litwack.
She pointed to the fact that since its inception in 2001, the brand has always sold direct-to-consumer through its own web site and boutiques. In the last 12 months, the company has scaled down its retail business to focus on its Covent Garden flagship on Monmouth Street, which it describes as a “destination boutique.”
It has also relaunched its own e-commerce, with a new, more upscale design to reflect the brand’s new direction.
Litwack has begun wholesaling in the U.K. through a small number of accounts including Selfridges, Harrods and Matchesfashion.com. She said she sees wholesale as the best way to enter new markets.
“Wholesale for me presents an opportunity to grow the brand and the first step to launching it to new international markets. In the future, it would be great to get flagship boutiques in key markets, but that’s a much more long-term vision, and I wouldn’t aim for multiple boutiques.”
The brand seeks to expand internationally, first in the U.S. and then in Europe and Asia. “We need to find the right mix of luxury boutiques for our main line and department store partners.”
She said so far the core collection, Icons, has been the most popular among buyers so far.
The company has also created a lower-priced, cobranded collection in collaboration with brand ambassador Pamela Anderson. The line, which will drop in stores in December, takes its inspiration from the silhouettes for which Anderson is best known, including babydoll camisoles, off-the-shoulder styles and red bodysuits inspired by the Baywatch swimsuit she made famous.
Litwack believes the new range will expose the brand to a new, younger audience in a similar way its “Fifty Shades of Grey” collections, sold by high street retailers such as Asos and House of Fraser, did.
“Pamela appeals to so many different people that we really didn’t want to leave people out by keeping the range at that very high price point,” she said, adding that she believes the collection will appeal to women from 20 to 50 years old.
The core collections’ prices range from 80 pounds, or $102, for a bra to 500 pounds, or $637, for a robe, have a slightly older customer base, from 30 to 60 years old.
The range created with Anderson will be accompanied by video content and campaign images shot by Rankin, who forged a longterm partnership with the label and shoots all of its seasonal campaigns, following the success of the “X” and “Anti-Valentine’s Day” videos he previously produced for the brand.