In the world of intimate apparel and romantic gifts, few have had a front-row seat to the industry’s evolution like Michael Allmond, the Co-Founder and Vice President of Lover’s Lane. Over three decades, he has observed the transformation of the lingerie industry from a niche market to a billion-dollar business. From the days of corsets and bloomers to the era of thongs, push-ups, and bralettes, the industry has continually adapted to reflect societal changes and consumer preferences.
In this exclusive interview, Michael Allmond shares his unique insights into the dramatic shifts in the lingerie industry, discussing everything from the rise of body positivity and inclusivity to the impact of online shopping and technology on design and sales, and the future of the industry. Join us as we delve into the fascinating world of lingerie, exploring its past, present, and future through the eyes of an industry veteran.
1. Michael, as the Co-Founder and Vice President of Lover’s Lane, you’ve witnessed significant changes in the romantic gifts and lingerie industry over the past 30 years. Can you share some insights on how the industry has evolved during this period?
“The biggest changes in the industry have come from the widespread use of the web and the proliferation of direct-to-consumer brands and retail outlets. When we opened our first store in 1992, there were only a handful of companies in the romantic gift industry. Now, there are hundreds of players, both big and small. The ability to sell nationally or even globally with an internet shopping experience has helped companies like Lover’s Lane to grow and expand tremendously.”
2. Lover’s Lane is known for its commitment to providing an excellent shopping experience. Could you elaborate on some of the innovative strategies you’ve implemented to enhance customer experience both in-store and online?
“One major initiative for us was to empower our in-store team members as Romance Specialists to better serve and educate customers. In our industry, there is a lot of innovation, new technology is constantly helping companies manufacture new and better toys. Because of this, many customers don’t even know what is available to them. Our specialists are able to make them feel comfortable to discuss what they want and then recommend products based on that.”
“Additionally, we have worked to make our web shopping experience more dynamic and inclusive of customer feedback. This has helped us collect data and insights into products that customers love so we can bring them exactly what they want.”
3. How have societal attitudes towards intimate wear changed over the years, and how has this impacted the way Lover’s Lane operates?
“Years ago, the only stores that sold the products we sell were on dark streets in big cities. They weren’t looked upon favorably. Over time, we as a society have become more open about romance and intimacy, so a business like Lover’s Lane can set up shop on any Main Street in the country. There is still a long way to go in terms of acceptance of others, particularly in the LGBTQAI+ community. At Lover’s Lane, we work to promote the truth that love knows no color, creed, gender, size, shape or orientation, and everyone has the right to romance.”
4. You mentioned that Lover’s Lane focuses on love for everyone, and your products and messaging are built around those themes. Can you elaborate on how this focus has impacted the experiences of your customers?
“I can tell you that there seems to be a line in retail these days. On one side, you have brands that are inclusive and positive and attempt to give everyone a positive experience. On the other side, you have brands that tiptoe around issues of importance to society because they are afraid of backlash. Not too long ago, Target was sued by shareholders using some right-wing legal fund because of their “Pride’ line. The backwards mentality of these types of things is exactly the opposite of what Lover’s Lane stands for. We want everyone to feel confident, sexy and loved, and we select our products to ensure that our brand is as inclusive as possible.”
5. Finally, looking ahead, could you share some insights on what products are trending this year at Lover’s Lane and what do you envision for the future of the lingerie industry as a whole?
“Some of the bigger sellers are high-tech toys. These are controlled via an app on a smartphone and allow for partners to play long distance, which is a nice feature. As for the future of lingerie, I firmly believe that inclusivity and body positivity are winning the day, even if there are elements in society working against these notions. I believe brands will embrace these principles and you will see more and better variety in lingerie stores.”
Learn more about Lover’s Lane and shop at www.loverslane.com