Byline: Rusty Williamson

DALLAS — Shopping for intimate apparel just got a lot more intimate.
Herroom.com, a new e-commerce innerwear site that was launched earlier this month, aims to banish the fear and dread that many women associate with buying innerwear.
Like a cyber-fitting room, the site enables consumers to try on foundations via 3D models, then layer over the looks with various fashion tops.
The site takes a purist approach to intimate apparel, and neither offers hosiery or sleepwear.
An exhaustive compendium of information is available for each featured product, including comments from a bra fitter regarding the attributes and benefits of specific bras, a biography of vendors and, more importantly, a guide for purchasing coordinating items.
Herroom.com was launched by Tomima Edmark, an entrepreneur here best known for inventing the Topsy Tail hair tool that makes weaving and braiding elaborate hairstyles a snap. A former executive at IBM, Edmark invented the Topsy Tail in 1989, received a patent in 1991 and has since sold around seven million units.
With her Web site, Edmark said she is going after a piece of the highly lucrative innerwear business, which rang up sales of $11.7 billion in 1999.
Herroom.com offers over 7,000 styles — in stock — from nearly 40 vendors. Bra cup sizes start at 32A and go up to 52F; bottoms are available in sizes S, M, L, XL and plus sizes 1X, 2X and 3X.
Prices are competitive with those of traditional retailers, starting at around $19 for a multipack of Maidenform panties to $129 for a bra by French maker Simone Perell. Other brands include Rigby & Peller from England, Schiesser from Germany, Helene des Champs from Belgium, Swiss label Hanro and U.S. brands Wonderbra and Barely There.
“Very few women enjoy the lingerie-shopping process,” Edmark said. “They compromise all the time because they don’t get what they really want. It’s not a pleasant experience. You have to take off your clothes, and finding the right fit can be a problem. Then, when you find a style that works, stores often don’t have the proper inventory if you want more than one of the item.”
Edmark also plans to add a bulletin board to the site, where consumers can post comments about their innerwear purchases. She said she believes it will be a magnet for makers monitoring trends. She also plans to market Herroom.com with co-op advertisements in magazines this fall, as well as through mailers to consumers.
“I think manufacturers will look at us for new ideas and maybe change or take certain items off the market if consumers have negative comments,” said Edmark.

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