How does an almost 30-year-old intimate apparel brand remain relevant?
Blush has been able to sustain and grow by doubling down on what the brand is known for — affordable, trend-driven lingerie — but by also tweaking the assortment to include core items that customers can depend on each season, said Tiffany Ajmo, the brand’s vice president of marketing and sales, whose father, Edward Ajmo, launched the business in 1988.
“When we initially launched, 100 percent of the collections were seasonal,” said Ajmo, who runs the family-owned business with her brother Justin Ajmo, who serves as president. “But we decided that part of these collections needed to have a longer shelf life. So now, 50 percent of the line is core product in new colorways and 50 percent is seasonal.”
Blush has also shifted from focusing on the sleep and lounge categories to the bra and underwear business. Ajmo told WWD that Blush found a strong following for its retro long line bras and high-waist briefs, which she calls a niche market, but a category that’s seeing high imported sales.
“People are looking for something trendy that doesn’t sacrifice comfort,” said Ajmo, who added that the consumer’s desire for comfort is pushing Blush’s increasing bralette business.
On the manufacturing side, in 2011 Blush moved its production from outside of Montreal and into Asia. The brand is also prioritizing its brick-and-mortar business. Blush, which retails from $24 for a bralette to $94 for a corset, is sold globally at retailers including House of Fraser, Marks and Spencer, Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, Anthropologie and Journelle. But Ajmo said she wants to increase the business the brand does with hotels and spas.
Ajmo said while the wholesale business is still important, the company is seeing more growth from its online business, with a relaunch of its web site this week. The new site is mobile responsive — 40 percent of its sales come from mobile — and ships product globally.
Another means of growth is its private-label licensing business, which makes up 10 percent of the company’s revenue. Ajmo told WWD that Blush is working with brands in the U.S. and Canada and hopes to expand that business.