Thursday, December 24, 2009

Hot Pink Success In Intimate Apparel

A handful of women-owned small businesses are redefining undergarments, from shapewear to nipple concealers.

Kerry O'Brien, founder of Her Look

Your back fat is showing.

So are your panty lines and your unsightly "toe scrunch." Also, your cleavage is subpar.

Don't worry, ladies. There's a fix for each of these female troubles, plus others you might not have known you had. The fixes are the brainchildren of a small companies owned by women--many of them accidental entrepreneurs who started out trying to address their own fashion and beauty crises. The solutions are front and center at your favorite boutique or upscale department store, with chic packaging and witty names.

There's the Slim Cognito Shape-Suit, a suck-you-in bodysuit from Spanx. Tip Toes, flower-shaped insoles from Foot Petals, keep little piggies from hanging over the fronts of sky-high sandals. Low Beams, adhesive nipple concealers from Her Look Enterprises, guard against "the glaring side effects of blasts of cold air," the company says. There's even a remedy for humdrum pubic hair: Specially formulated dye in hues including Auburn Betty, Blond Betty and Fun Betty--that would be hot pink.

"Sophisticated women who spent time and lots of money getting their hair color just right, had no solution for coloring the hair down there. They were totally overlooking this crucial beauty area," says the Web site for Betty Beauty, a New York company.

These firms aren't all new. Spanx, the modern girdle maker, has been in business since 2000, Foot Petals since 2001. But now remedial products have reached a critical mass and are big business. Shapewear, the term of art for flab-compressing undergarments, is a $750 million industry, according to NPD Group, a market research firm.

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