New lingerie boss reveals all after customers, staff left in lurch
THE new owner of the Big Girls Don't Cry (Anymore) lingerie business plans an eventual US roll out of the brand that collapsed late last year with debts of more than $2m.
Sydney-based lingerie firm Curvy group said the US market held enormous potential for the plus-size business with current players in the market, including Victoria's Secret and JC Penney, not adequately serving the curvier customer.
Curvy chief executive Wes Blundy said the expansion into the US would initially be for the Curvy brand before extending to include Big Girls. "We undertook a pilot foray last year into the US, but it was put on the backburner during COVID," said Mr Blundy. "Despite not putting much effort into it, we still attracted $70,000 in sales in June alone."
He said warehouse sites in either Nevada or North Carolina were being sought as part of the expansion which also would include a localised US website.
The company operating Brisbane-based Big Girls went bust just before Christmas, leaving more than 50 people out of work and scores of customers chasing orders.
Mr Blundy said he was seeking to renew consumer trust in the brand and help customers impacted by the collapse of the old firm. Curvy would assist with refunds through credit card providers and PayPal as well as offering discounts on future purchases.
The warehouse operation, previously based in Brisbane, had now been shifted to Sydney with a small number of employees from the collapsed company now working remotely in Queensland for the new business.
Mr Blundy, the nephew of retail king Brett Blundy, said he understood people were still chasing products and refunds from the previous business.
"The whole situation is incredibly unfortunate and has left many in the Big Girls' loyal customer base in a disappointing situation," Mr Blundy said.
"Sadly, and understandably, their trust has been broken and we want to do what we can to restore it. While the responsibility for this rests with the previous owner, we want to step up as proud Australian business owners and help impacted customers where possible."
Curvy purchased the intellectual property assets, including brand name, trademarks, logo, URL and social media accounts for an undisclosed amount last month.
Combined Curvy and Big Girls now have more bra styles than Myer, with sales doubling last year to $6m. He said the Big Girls' online store has been rebuilt, making it easy to navigate and better inform customers about shipment times. The virtual fitting service had been retained and there were plans for real-time virtual shopper service.
"Both Curvy and Big Girls have had explosive e-commerce growth over the past 12 months," Mr Blundy said. "We've seen COVID accelerating the shift away from traditional retailers. Technology has been critical to the shift with virtual fitting and virtual shopping replacing what would previously involve a trip by the woman to a store for a fitting."
Mr Blundy said many customers were based in rural or regional areas who previously would have had to make a long drive to a department or speciality store for a special fitting.
Originally published as New lingerie boss reveals all after customers, staff left in lurch