To top
10 Sep

Rising Lingerie Brand ’Larrie London’ Gets Intimate

Founder of Larrie London Intimate Wear. Photo: supplied.

Global inclusivity movements in the retail industry deserve their proverbial flowers for being propellers of important conversations about the individual experience of clothing garments especially in the lingerie or intimate wear industries. One such conversation being that modern lingerie should not have to serve the two incongruent functions of either being for the bedroom or as a piece for women to protect their private parts.

Instead, lingerie can and SHOULD be about more than that – as a refuge for who you really feel you are inside, a personal reminder of your beautiful femininity, and even an extra boost for your confidence outside of external validations to name a few.

Larrie London, founder and designer for one of South Africa’s rising lingerie and intimate wear brands understands this well. Having worked in the retail industry (women’s wear) from the tender age of 16 as a Sales Assistant and later Supervisor Visual Merchandising, she had the perfect founding blocks to build her own business. A business centred around women feeling bold, sexy and confident in their intimates.

The Rio Set. Photo: supplied.

“Predominantly, I was working in women’s wear and I fell in love with it. During this time I was exposed to quite a lot in terms of how the retail space works, how clothing works, etc. Particularly being a visual merchandiser, I learned a lot in terms of product placement, consumer attraction, what a customer is looking for, how to draw customer interest, etc. So a lot of my experience came from that” she says.

The young businesswoman is no stranger to entrepreneurship, having grown up in a family of strong women who own and run successful businesses. The seed to also build a successful business of her own was already planted.

“When thinking about what to do, it only made sense to go into retail, because I had now formed a passion at this point. When starting the brand, I realised that the clothing and hair industry were very saturated, and lingerie always stuck out to me. It was something that I always particularly enjoyed, the patterns, the prints, the lace, etc.”

“I was never confident enough to wear lingerie myself, but I felt that I could get into this when I understood how it worked and understood what women needed. I started tapping into that and did my research and that’s how Larrie London was born,” she explains.

The St. Tropez Sets. Photo: supplied

Has intimate wear always been something you were interested in?

Not necessarily. I’ve always loved sexy things, but never really felt sexy enough to have, wear or shop for them. So I think that’s also something that influenced my decision to go into lingerie – to make women feel sexy about themselves. I wanted to play advocate in that industry.

There were a lot of loopholes and a lot of concerns that I had that I wanted to address and solutions that I wanted to solve. So that’s how I got into that space. I have always loved silk & sexy PJs, you know you don’t wear
an oversized t-shirt to sleep. You have to have great sleepwear, and great underwear, that’s just something my mother always taught me.

Take us through the vision for brand “Larrie London” and what it stands for.

Building a brand is very difficult but the vision has always been to create some sort of Victoria’s Secret for SA.  We don’t have something of our own of that nature and that’s how big my aspirations are for the brand. Our motto is very simple – It’s a bold, sexy, and confident woman as well as ensuring every woman of shape, size, and color feels sexy within themselves. In everything that we do, all our collections, and ideas in the brand, we always have that motto in mind.

The Ivy and Ava intimate Sets. Photo: supplied

The vision honestly, is to just keep on growing, keep expanding our product range, and to have an offering for every single woman, for every type, be it your intimates, your everyday sleepwear, etc. Everything related to intimate wear is where the goal is.

My dream has always been to build a Victoria’s Secret in South Africa. And I say Victoria’s Secret because it’s one of the most traditional lingerie lines that have existed and they’ve existed for so long despite their challenges, they are still very big in the space.

What inspires Larrie London designs? 

I do a lot of research. A lot of research in terms of what’s happening in other countries specifically internationally. Having lived abroad for three-quarters of my life, a lot of my fashion sense and styles are influenced from there. So it’s pretty much the same with lingerie – I look at what others are doing, and what’s trending internationally, particularly because our seasons are very different. It’s very easy for me to adopt and see what they’re really doing there and then get ahead of that and bring that alive here for our customers.

The Bella Set. Photo: supplied

Who do you cater to primarily?

Currently, our niche and focus has been the petite range. Our range goes from a size small to XL and that’s simply because of what’s worked for our buyers and customer percentages.  We have also catered for plus size, we had a plus size collection that sold out literally in a month.

Due to financial and budget constraints and manufacturing problems, we weren’t able to continue that collection but it’s definitely something that we aim to have as part of a permanent product offering for Larrie London. So primarily and at the moment, it is petite, just based on how the model of the business is structured. However, we do intend to expand and have a variety and that is plus-size women being included.

What are some of your favourite international intimate wear designers or brands?

Definitely Fenty! I love what Savage is doing and they are very diverse, and very out of the box. They have a combination of raunchy and subtle. They include every woman & every gender. Love them! 

The Crown Jewel Set. Photo: supplied

And then there’s a designer brand called Agent provocateur. Absolutely love them! I would describe them as the Gucci of underwear. That’s also something that I definitely aspire to get to. Their quality & designs are exceptional. Their colour palettes are out of this world. Those are definitely my favorite brands. 

Has the Larrie London experienced any milestones readers should know about?

Yes, we have recently partnered with EGG. EGG is a retail brand that houses brands, basically like your Edgars. They are opening their new flagship store in Rosebank the Zone. We will be one of the brands that will be dominating the intimate wear section in their store. I am super exciting for my team and I, because finally, our brand has been recognised to the level that we’ve been working towards.

How has your experience been in this industry as a woman?

In all honesty, it’s been very difficult, difficult because I’m young. I’m learning on the job and by that I mean, I am not a born and bred businesswoman but I’m learning as I go. There are a lot of restrictions and challenges as funding is concerned, that’s been one of my personal biggest challenges.

Self-funding a business is extremely difficult for growth it’s very difficult compared to some of our retail moguls who have incredible funding and are able to grow their business and make it exactly what they want overnight. But I would say in terms of accessing funding and having certain conversations for retail partnerships etc, a lot of the people that I deal with are a male and sometimes it’s a challenge cause I’m female, under 30 and trying to build. 

What would you say women struggle the most with when choosing intimate wear and how can they make better choices?

I think over the years and working with Larrie London, I’ve noticed women don’t know their size. I noticed the same issue whilst I was working in the retail space. The common struggle is that women think they are bigger than what they are.

Lingerie sits on the upper body which most are smaller than they think. In terms of in making better choices I would definitely recommend customers taking note of brand size guides, particularly when shopping online. As we grow and have our own physical stores – a bra fitting service is definitely something we will have.

Which sets are best-sellers?

1. The Caribbean Set

2. The FijiSet

3. Rio Set

These sets are part of our Nqobile Khwezi Collaboration. Our Nqobile Collection is a big favorite, followed by our Ivy set and our sleepwear!

The Fiji Sets. Photo: supplied

Anything we should look forward to in the future?

Definitely, more growth. We are really at a point now as a brand where we feel like we’ve established brand awareness and the aim is to grow. We want to grow in partnerships so you can expect more partnerships in the retail industry. You can also expect our own independent stores, which is something we’re working tirelessly towards. As we grow we’re able to cater to every woman, expand our product range, and expand our sizes.

No Comments

Leave a reply