I recently met with the lovely Sara of DevilPlus during which she told me all about the exciting upcoming website, collections and products her business is releasing over the coming weeks. To celebrate the upcoming release of her new website www.devilplus.com and the exciting new ‘Slinky Dip’ swimwear range, I asked her some questions about the founding of DevilPlus and what we can expect from her in the future!
Have you always wanted to be a business entrepreneur? Have you always been interested in and passionate about the lingerie industry?
Not really, before founding Devil Plus I was a bit of a drifter – I’d get excited about a job, learn the ropes then lose all attention span, however I now know that this was because I was never supposed to be an employee, I am utterly unemployable! I always had a casual interest in business, I watched Dragon’s Den and the Apprentice and I always thought perhaps I’d be a sole trader but owning a group of brands was never something I had expected. If I’m honest up until starting the company I could be found wearing a $3 pair of grey Tesco knickers and a 5 year old $6.99 bra with one wire missing – although this was probably as product of my upbringing where we would often have ‘hand me downs’ for most things and lingerie was akin to socks, nothing to really get excited about. It wasn’t until I started Devil Plus that I became aware of the fantastic lingerie products on offer, and at that point I realised how amazingly stunning they looked, and a penny somewhere dropped that started my lingerie obsession!
What made you decide to create the brand DevilPlus? How has this brand filled a gap in the market?
Well we started purely with the idea to create blouses and dresses for the large cup market and initially had no intention of going into lingerie, but the enquiries from our website asking for lingerie became too large to ignore. I looked into it, but saw there were already tonnes of successful D+ brands – Curvy Kate, Freya, Panache, Bravissimo, Allegro… that I didn’t want to create something that just tried to imitate what was already out there, so I wanted to identify a niche within a niche – and from my experience in buying brands for my site I knew that small back/big bust ratios were increasing whilst brands were slow to catch up, often only starting in a 30″ or 32″ back. Also, there was a lot of focus on ‘real women, real curves’ which I felt alienated the young, glamour loving busty girl who may have had her breasts augmented, who may be a pole dancer, or a glamour model etc. So I endeavoured to create something that wasn’t typically functional, that wasn’t intended for superior support to bolster the boobs whilst hoovering the house – I wanted something that was like a pair of Kurt Geiger 6 inch heels – admittedly not the most practical staple in your wardrobe, but the damn sexy! Something to team with suspenders and heels under a LBD on a Friday night, and that’s what I felt was missing from the lingerie market.
You seem to use a lot of social media for your advertising and marketing, do you find this a valuable medium for spreading the word?
It is a known fact that any form of niche product finds its best success online – because modern human behaviour suggests when we can’t find what we are looking for, we immediately turn to the internet. Therefore traditional forms of marketing are less relevant – if your customers are looking for you online, online is where you need to be. Facebook and Twitter are great for us, but it works because we engage – we all have iPhone and Blackberries, our customers knows a reply is only a couple of hours if not minutes away, and we’re human – we have a laugh, we swear sometimes, we eat cake, we drink too much and get a hangover – we’re a down to earth gang and people seem to like talking to us and hearing what we have to say.
What is your level of input into the designs of your products? Do you have a design team, where are the products manufactured etc.?
When the business started I did all the design work, and not having a creative bone in my body was something of a limitation – if we look at our early clothing designs we do cringe a little bit. As we’ve grown we have a design team, but I still provide a spec and I always choose the colours and fabric, and a brief of what I want them to create using pictures from shows or magazines. We do all our sampling and design in the USA, and then once we have a perfect fit the patterns are graded and the whole tech-pack is sent to China for manufacturing and then freighted into us 12 weeks later.
What are your favourite products from DevilPlus ? Which are your best sellers?
My personal favourite is the high waisted bikini launching this summer – I loved it so much I ended up modelling it myself on location in Morocco last year and you can see my in the brand pics for this product! I wouldn’t take it off! It gives amazing support and I love the boy-shorts because I’m pretty active on holiday and I hate that feeling of your bum showing as you’re walking back from the pool-bar trying to negotiate two gin and tonics and a tile floor that’s 100 degrees hot! With this you can have amazing cleavage which being assured you bottom is covered! However the best sellers have been the black babydoll dress (I love mine with flat knee-high black boots) and the polka dot bikini which despite our website having not launched, received 15 pre-orders in 2 hours by phone and email today once the word got out!
What made you create The Big Bra Bar? When is it’s launch date? How is website going? What will you be stocking?
When Devil Plus life began the plan was to manufacture a few blouses and dresses, and sell them online. Three years down the line, and we’ve become a wholesaler of our brands to large high street names, but also a white-label manufacturer of ladies fashions and lingerie. At this point it became necessary to separate wholesale and retail, as online retail only accounted for 10% of our turnover it made sense to separate and focus on them as individual ventures with their own individual finances and accounts. The website will officially launch 1st May, although actually it will be live and trading from Monday 18th April. We will have our own brands, but also others that include Allegro, Krisline, Ewa Michelak, HotMilk, Royce, Curvy Kate… as well as some accessories that are very exciting as they are relatively unknown! In the coming months we also have a few new clothing brands joining us who are virtually unknown in the USA! Christmas shopping will be FAB I assure you!
A full list of Sara’s products can be seen on the DevilPlus website.
Visit Sara’s new website www.devilplus.com
For more updates of exciting releases follow Sara on Twitter @DevilPlus