PROFILE: 25 Years of Savvy, Sexy Success

You can expect several things from Dreamgirl International: an annual full-color, coffee-table-sized catalog teeming with affordable sexy lingerie and adult costumes (that will make every woman thinking about getting within an inch of sexy go the full mile), extreme professionalism, innovation and sensitivity to a continually expanding marketplace.


In its 25 years, Dreamgirl has transformed from a home-party business specializing in body oils and lotions to one of the fastest-growing lingerie manufacturers in the country. The company was founded by Patricia A. Fischer in 1982 as Lovin' Enterprises. In 1987, when the company began to manufacture lingerie, club wear and costumes, sales expanded rapidly. Fischer became terminally ill with cancer in 2003 and turned the company over to current CEO Christopher C. Scharff, formerly VP International for St. John Knits Inc.


Since this transition, Dreamgirl has expanded its merchandise offerings, moved the production and sourcing offshore, increased sales tenfold, doubled the number of its sales representatives, increased U.S. distribution to more than 3,000 retail accounts and expanded operations into more than 20 countries.


So what's the secret to the company's success? "I think that, as a company, the way we are able to thrive is to go above and beyond the current trends to offer quality garments in a variety of price points, from our hanging lingerie and dance wear to our packaged collection," says Lar Hovsepian, the company's marketing manager. "Keeping your finger on the pulse of society is not the only thing you need to achieve success: You must deliver. You must understand that your brand name and how you're perceived in the industry is your word, and people will never forget how you make them feel." Hovsepian's statement describes the previously mentioned "extreme professionalism."


One new way Dreamgirl delivers is with, its new B2B ordering system through CenterStone Technologies. With this service, retailers can log into their accounts, check inventory, place orders and track purchases online 24 hours a day, seven days a week. "We really feel this is going to take the way we do business to a whole new automated level," Hovsepian says.


The 2008/2009 collection certainly will keep the sales phones ringing and retailers logging on. "We've expanded our offerings of hanging lingerie," Hovsepian notes. "We have about 16 new groups (48 SKUs), expanded the ‘nuptials' section of our catalog (about 65 SKUs) and our packaged collection (more than 165 SKUs in all lines).

Our designers work around the clock to source unique trims and fabrics to keep up with the trends of the runway, and I think we have our best collection yet."


In this collection, plus-sizes are showcased, and the packaged Blue, Red, Black and White Diamond intimates stand out, as does Dreamgirl's approach to nuptials (the company's fastest-growing category).


This year, Dreamgirl has added a Blue Diamond line of men's intimates. "They'll range from more basic boxers and briefs to playful bedroom costumes that are merchandised as a couple's set (but sold separately)," Hovsepian explains. "They're packed in a Blue Diamond box and fit nicely on any of the in-store Dreamgirl fixtures or on walls. We are offering them in M/L and L/XL sizes."


This also is the first year Dreamgirl is offering couples' costumes for the bedroom. Merchandized together in the catalog, the costumes are sold separately in their internationally best-selling women's Red and men's Blue Diamond boxes. As part of the full costume line, reversible costumes for women will be available this spring.


Just like men won't have to look elsewhere to match their darlings for costumed occasions, ladies can stick with Dreamgirl to garnish their gams. The expanded Black Diamond hosiery line includes red, white and pink variations of classic black styles, new body stockings and thigh-highs with a pinup flair.


Regarding nuptials, Hovsepian attributes the category's growth to the wide variety of styles and marketing. "We also like to pay special attention to our lovely brides and offer them a special section in our catalog," she says. "So instead of flipping around a catalog to find styles in white, you can flip to the nuptials or White Diamond portion to find exactly what you want rather quickly."


Dreamgirl's reigning highest-volume category is the corset. "What woman doesn't love a good corset or a bustier?" Hovsepian says with a laugh, noting that women wear them in and out of the bedroom. But Dreamgirl is taking this classic item to next level. The company is premiering a fully reversible corset this spring, addressing a growing desire for versatile garments. In a sense, this approach to the corset sums up Dreamgirl: Lingerie for the sexy woman who is as savvy in the bedroom as she is with her lifestyle.