La Vie en Rose
La Vie en Rose, Canada’s leading specialty lingerie retailer, is a retail success story, supporting the garment industry for almost 20 years.
The Montreal-based company was started in 1985 by the Algo Group, and acquired in 1996 by President and CEO Francois Roberge. Under Roberge’s guidance, La Vie en Rose focused on its in-house private label, creating a line that manifests the company’s motto of “it’s all about natural beauty, confident sophistication and sensual passion.”
In the years that have followed, Roberge grew the brand to 168 domestic stores, including three boutiques: La Vie en Rose, La Vie en Rose Aqua, and La Vie en Rose Outlet.
John Izzo, Vice-President of Design and Development, says La Vie en Rose distinguishes itself with “exceptional lingerie, sleepwear, loungewear and swimwear to the woman who appreciates sophisticated design, quality, make and fit.”
Izzo and his team are constantly thinking of the La Vie en Rose woman, and what she wants. His team is on the front lines of fashion, going to fashion shows, analyzing trend reports, and visiting manufacturers to produce fashionable lingerie for the La Vie en Rose customer.
La Vie en Rose is always innovating but always offering its regular bestselling, well-fitting bras and specialty lingerie selections in new colours or prints, designed for every look and every silhouette.
“We always keep in mind who this customer is. We always look at the new styles from her perspective. Will she like it, will she wear it? For example, La Vie en Rose officially launched two new bra styles made with innovative memory foam, bras that will offer a personalized fit for every woman.
“Two key qualities drove us to use memory foam in the bra cups of our new styles. First, this foam is thermo-sensitive, allowing it to react to body heat and ensuring that the bra cups mold to each woman’s natural curves while offering comfortable support,” explains Izzo. “Second, the fabric’s viscoelasticity allows the foam to return to its initial shape and thickness after having been handled, hence its name ‘memory foam’. This feature makes our Discreet and Fantastic bras ideal for travelling or cluttered drawers.”
La Vie en Rose is also gaining international market share, after a highly anticipated 2004 expansion into the Middle East, with boutiques in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Egypt, Kuwait, Algeria, Kazakhstan, and another pilot store in Australia this year.
La Vie en Rose is a competitor in the global lingerie market. And while it has gone international, other companies have also entered the Canadian territory.
“So many different retailers now coming in from the U.S. and Europe who look to Canada as an area for growth, it is true,” says Izzo, “but we have been selling and buying for the Canadian woman for the past 17 years and we know her more than any newcomer and I think our customers realize that.”
With the global market seeing international brands coming into Canada, La Vie en Rose discreetly distinguishes itself from the loud, flashy international brands. “We don’t have models flying in on helicopters. But what we have found is the La Vie en Rose boutiques that are close to larger chains actually start to do better,” continues Izzo. “And we know the Canadian customer demands sharper prices, and the customer realizes that $100 at La Vie en Rose goes so much farther and for the same value.”
La Vie en Rose Aqua, the company’s swimwear division, is also highly successful based on the same formula of fit and quality as the lingerie side. “We have an expertise in the production of bra fitting and have applied it to swimwear,” says Izzo. Immediately recognized by the Canadian consumer, La Vie en Rose offered an alternative to what was offered in stores: a break from the limited selection in general. With the mix and match selection, customers can create their own looks by mixing solids and prints.
“All this contributes to the woman who can create her own look, different from everyone else shopping in department stores.”