Interview with Micha S. Siebenhandl

Face2Face
Micha S. Siebenhandl
Micha S. Siebenhandl
CEO
Huber Holding
Huber Holding

How receptive are the Asian markets to luxury lingerie? Are the people there willing to spend a good amount on a nice piece of lingerie?

In Japan, the most mature market in Asia, consumers are willing to spend money for good lingerie and are also asking about the origin of the fabrics and the production. In general, I would say that the Asian market is achieving the next level of maturity for luxury brands.

How has the increasing vertical integration of businesses affected the textile industry?

It has affected the number of orders for smaller volumes as a result of the automation of replenishment for our customers’ retail spaces. This requires an adjustment of the entire logistics chain, high IT integration with our customers and ensuring a high level of availability of goods at the POS (it’s not the big that eat the small, it’s the fast that eat the slow). Fashion goods have to hit retail stores in shorter and shorter cycles.

How is the lingerie market in the US different from that of the UK?

The US market is still very focused on basic styles – bras and underwear styles are very reduced and have a clean design. Whereas in the UK, consumers strongly follow the trends, such as all-over-lace bras and colours. In general, sophisticated bras sell better on the UK market than in the US.

How important is social media in promoting a brand? How can it influence consumers’ shopping behaviour?

No brand – especially no luxury brand – can afford to do without social media nowadays. It is where the customers are. A huge amount of time is spent on social media. Already one out of four people worldwide uses social media, with users spending about 15 minutes per hour on their social media accounts. That’s a fair amount of “promotion time” for any brand! Social media offers the advantage of allowing a brand to create and steer exactly the message it wants to send out to its target group. It is an easy way to position a brand exactly the way you want. Social media enables us to communicate with our target customers easily, daily and on a personal level. This way we not only gain valuable market insights from their comments and reactions, but we are also able to turn them into loyal fans who buy our products regularly, share our messages with their friends and tell the social media world how much they like our brand. It helps increase exposure to the brand. And finally, presenting luxury products on social media accounts awakens desire and helps direct people towards online and offline stores – and therefore improves sales. The situation in the US demonstrates that it really works: 47 per cent of Americans say that Facebook is the number one influencer of their purchases!

What are the latest innovations in fabrics used in lingerie?

New fibre blend are Tencel/cotton – a natural connection: This blend is new to the market. The special thing about it is that there are different types of Tencel: standard and LF A100. The standard type is the best but also the most difficult when it comes to finishing. Arula – our fabric manufacturer – can do it! This is thanks on one hand to the knowledge of our long-standing employees and on the other to our existing machinery (Biancalani for fibrillation/defibrillation). Tencel is generally very popular on the market and has made a name for itself as a sustainable fibre – and the new fibre blend with cotton gives it a special cottony feel. The pros are : + A unique quality product with optimal pilling resistance + Focus on our strengths in Arula: finishing (Biancalani) + Sustainability – thanks to Tencel fibre + Cotton touch – due to blending + Marketing support from Lenzing: hang tags Wool/silk blends - Cocooning is a growing trend that is constantly being encouraged by Web 2.0. It is all about retreating from the public eye and focusing on being at home. About getting comfortable, enjoying, relaxing and unwinding. In terms of fabrics, the focus is on everything that is comfortable to wear. Arula produces tubular fabrics in fine wool/silk blends. Since there are no irritating seams, these fabrics are perfect for this trend. In addition, the ribbed structure lets the fabric mould to the body perfectly and allows unlimited movement. The fine fibre blend of warming wool and premium silk adds the final touch of perfection. + Comfortable to wear + No irritating seams + Freedom of movement + Very resilient (thanks to the ribbed structure) + Fine fibre blend: wool/silk
Published on: 17/07/2014

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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