Are you passionate about fashion and lingerie and have a passion for entrepreneurship, and want to start your own lingerie business?
Want to start building your empire in the burgeoning lingerie industry but need to know how?
This article will be your one-stop resource for starting a women’s lingerie online business, we will let you understand the landscape of the lingerie industry, the niches that still exist in the lingerie industry, choose your business model, and what to look for for your business The right supplier, and finally, we will introduce you to the online platforms you can choose. We will also introduce you to some ways to promote your business.
Ready to make your mark on lingerie and build your empire? Let’s start!!
Understanding the Lingerie Market
Lingerie market size and growth trends
The lingerie market is a dynamic, highly competitive, and fast-growing industry. Let’s take a look at several recent reports on the lingerie market size and growth trends:
- Mordor Intelligence: The lingerie market size is expected to be US$82.27894 billion in 2023 and is expected to reach US$121.00674 billion by 2028, with a compound annual growth rate of 8.02% during the forecast period (2023-2028).
- Bonafidere Search: The global lingerie market is expected to be worth $113.97 billion by 2028 as the fashion industry grows. Online sales of lingerie products are becoming increasingly important, with a revenue share of 30%, which is expected to continue rising to 8.32%.
- Market: The lingerie market size is expected to grow from USD 36.7 billion in 2022 to around USD 72.9 billion by 2032, growing at a CAGR of 7.1% during the forecast period 2022 to 2032
Professional reporting companies have expressed an optimistic attitude toward the global lingerie industry. Why? There are several reasons:
- Global trade, especially the rapid development of online e-commerce. The result of international business enables consumers to have more choices, and more niche designs can quickly become popular worldwide.
- There has been a significant change in people’s perception of lingerie. Consumers no longer see lingerie as a necessity but increasingly as a fashion product.
- Expansion of lingerie categories. With the development of science and technology and human society, lingerie has changed from a single necessity for women to a tool for maintaining body shape, the perfect equipment for honeymoon time, and so on.
Is lingerie a profitable niche?
Lingerie is undoubtedly a profitable niche. From the above data, we can find that lingerie has been in a rapidly developing industry. And the lingerie market is comprehensive, with solid flexibility and unlimited imagination, and almost every tiny field can get rich returns. And lingerie, one of the must-haves for nearly every woman, has a high repurchase rate. If you can find a suitable niche in the lingerie field and stick to it, making money is a no-brainer.
Types of lingerie
As we all know, Lingerie is a rich world. The lingerie industry has grown extensively and continues to evolve, catering to different body parts, body types, scenarios, and personal tastes and purposes. Here are some common lingerie types:
Brassieres (Bras): This is a lingerie especially designed for women’s breasts, which can support women’s breasts and various other functions.
Briefs (Panties): This Lingerie provides protection and modification for women’s private parts, usually divided into bikinis, boxer lingerie, thong panties, etc.
- Body sculpting lingerie: This is designed to change the user’s body shape or modify it. Common ones are control panties, tights, and waist controllers.
- Sleepwear and Loungewear: This is Lingerie designed for home or sleeping, usually with comfortable and healthy fabrics and a loose design.
- Sexy Lingerie: This is specially designed for sweet moments; the purpose is to make the user more sexy and charming, usually very provocative. Examples include baby dolls, dresses, corsets, and teddy bears. But now, more and more people use sexy Lingerie as part of their daily clothing collocation.
- Sports lingerie: This is Lingerie specially designed for sports. It is usually made of comfortable and breathable fabric with good air permeability and elasticity and generally made of seamless technology.
- Formal/Special Occasion Clothing: This type of Lingerie is used on traditional clothing or special occasions, such as under a gown. These Lingerie are usually strapless or sheer, have a smooth silhouette, and often have seamless technology.
- Maternity/Nursing Clothes: Lingerie specially designed for pregnant or nursing mothers. Maternity lingerie supports the abdomen and is usually designed with open cups to facilitate breastfeeding by the user.
- Therapeutic/Medical Apparel: This includes Lingerie designed for post-surgery or medical conditions, such as mastectomy bras, compression lingerie, or postpartum Lingerie.
Finding Your Lingerie Niche
Is the lingerie market highly competitive? According to a report by bonafide research, due to the large number of players and intense competition in the industry, pricing pressure and profit margins are declining. And because lingerie belongs to the fashion industry, consumers’ preferences are constantly changing frequently and not easy to predict, which leads to the challenges of the women’s lingerie industry investing much money in research and development, marketing, and production. And the lingerie industry is governed by a range of regulations, including safety and quality standards, labor laws, and environmental regulations.
This is terrible news, but is it impossible to make money cheaply? The answer is negative. In fact, according to a research report on the dropshipping market by Grand View Search, the fashion field is the field with the most significant growth in the dropshipping market and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 24.8%. What does this mean? Many newbies in this space are making enough money. What are the facts? You can find many success stories on this page.
So what did they do right?
How to find a lingerie niche?
If you still choose the lingerie that can be seen everywhere as your entry, then there is no doubt that you will fail with a high probability because the competition in this field is too fierce.
But the good news is that the lingerie market is extensive, with niches for all needs. So how do we find them? Here are some ways:
- Use Google Trends or Google Keyword Planner. Take Google Trends as an example; we can enter lingerie or other more precise words in Google Trends. If you engage in domestic trade, you can select the corresponding country; if you want to sell to the world, you can choose global data. Then we can see the two sections, “Related Topics” and “Related Queries,” at the bottom. We can explore the data separately to find some popular categories. Next only need to verify step by step.
- Use professional keyword research tools, such as Semrush, afresh, etc. In these tools, you can see the competition and popularity of related keywords and other associated words. Take Semrush as an example. For the niche-finding phase, we can type in “lingerie” and find some areas in the Keyword Magic Tool with relatively low competition and enough pageviews.
- Follow some bloggers who teach dropshipping lingerie and online business. They usually share some of the newest niches regularly. However, double-check the niche they introduce because some of their content is just for eyeballs.
- Pay attention to popular events or groups, like LGBTQ. When we Google for LGBTQ Lingerie, you’ll find some news and websites. Yes, there are already lingerie brands dedicated to them.
- Find a blue ocean field from a highly competitive niche or find a unique service you can provide, such as the lingerie field is a field with solid demand but fierce competition. But what if you could give personal customization services?
- Focus on niche groups or groups or fields with apparent characteristics. For example, lingerie is specially designed for women with small breasts, large-size lingerie, etc. These fields have substantial potential demand, but more brand choices must be made.
What other lingerie niches are there currently?
Finding lingerie niches is a challenging and knowledgeable job, but as an insider, here are some proven lingerie niches.
- Sexy lingerie: According to relevant reports, the global sexy lingerie market is worth US$19.3 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow from 2023 to 2031, reaching US$32 billion by 2031. This is a vibrant field. Sexy lingerie has a certain degree of privacy, the return rate is lower than other types of lingerie, and it has a high repurchase rate. The purchase cost of ordinary sexy lingerie is about 10 US dollars, but the general price will be 30-40 US dollars, and the profit is enormous!!
- Lingerie focuses on particular groups: For example, lingerie is designed for people who need to sit in a wheelchair for a long time, underwear is intended for people who have undergone a mastectomy, lingerie is specially designed for pregnant women, etc. These have gigantic groups, few style options, and unimaginable profits. The characteristics of these niches are low popularity, relatively strong professionalism, high transaction rate, high repurchase rate, and huge profits.
- Provide customized services: The gift industry has always been very hot and lucrative, so what if you combine the two?
- Blue ocean market in some popular fields: daily wear lingerie is very competitive, but if you focus on specific groups of people, such as small breasts, full breasts, obesity, etc., wait. These are fields of infinite possibility and lucrative profits.
Choosing Your Business Model
After identifying the niche in which you will be involved, the next important thing to do is to choose your business model. Your chosen model will affect your operating method, marketing, pricing, and more. In general, you have the following modes to choose from
Every entrepreneur’s dream is to have a global brand of their own. In this mode, you need to think about the brand concept (why create this brand? What problem does your brand convey or solve?) and choose a good name for the brand, design an attractive logo, and be consistent with the brand concept Matching slogan.
In general, creating your brand has the following advantages:
Long-term business relationship: You will gradually gain loyal fans by promoting unique product designs and brand concepts.
- Pricing control: With free branding, you can freely decide the price of your products. There is no need to compete excessively with other peers regarding price but to focus on product quality and promotion of brand concepts.
- Retail and Wholesale Opportunities: Once your brand has a certain degree of popularity. You can sell directly to consumers or provide it to other retailers in a B2B model, thus providing additional revenue streams.
- But at the same time, free branding also has the following disadvantages:
- Upfront cost: Free branding usually requires much investment in the initial stage because you need to hire experts to design your brand, design products yourself, or have someone else create products, find high-quality factories, etc. Make a request.
- Inventory management: Private brands generally require a certain amount of inventory. Because you need to meet a certain quantity to have a supplier make it for you, and you also need to meet quality control.
- Professional knowledge: If you want to design a product according to the idea you remember, you need specific professional understanding instead of relying simply on experts. At the same time, you also need to be very good at branding.
In conclusion, a private label can give you more control over your business and more lucrative profits. But it also requires more investment and more professional knowledge from you.
At the same time, in the initial stage of entrepreneurship. Suppliers are also crucial to your support, and their private label customization service needs can provide lower MOQ, better quality control, and professional service.
Dropshipping has been the most popular entrepreneurial model in recent years. In this model, the seller does not need to keep inventory for the product, and the third-party supplier will handle the order delivery. According to relevant statistics, in 2023, the market value of drop shipping is about 287.36 billion U.S. dollars, and it is expected to increase to 1,253.79 billion U.S. dollars by 2030.
The reason why Dropshipping is so popular is because of the following advantages:
Low start-up costs: Since you don’t need to buy inventory upfront and manage storage, you can save much initial capital and focus on marketing.
Wide selection of products: In the lingerie industry, more styles usually mean higher inventory, and if there is a style that is no longer selling well, it will be a headache. But in the dropshipping model, you can get zero-cost added styles from your suppliers without adding inventory.
Easy to start: In the dropshipping model, you only need to select a niche and a supplier to get started. Your supplier will solve your product problems: inventory, data, and related services.
Of course, the dropshipping model is not perfect; it also has several disadvantages:
Dependence on suppliers: Suppliers can almost determine your life and death in the dropshipping model. They have almost absolute control over product style, quality, and price.
Low-profit margin: The supplier needs to process your order. Usually, their price will be higher than the wholesale price and may charge additional fees, eventually leading to a lower profit on your order.
Longer shipping time: Since your suppliers are usually abroad, you will spend more shipping costs and time, which may cause some of your customers to be dissatisfied.
All in all, dropshipping lingerie is a business model that is very suitable for beginners, and finding a supplier that can provide professional dropshipping lingerie services in this model is an important issue.
If you have contacts in your country’s lingerie field, have a thorough understanding of the lingerie industry, or are keen on opening up the local market and have a certain amount of capital, opening a lingerie wholesale store is a good choice. Especially with the development of the Dropshipping model, more and more people hope to have suppliers locally.
Joining the wholesale lingerie industry has the following advantages:
- Higher profit margin: You can buy from your supplier at wholesale price, and the more quantity you have, the lower the price.
- Brand customization: Even if you don’t manufacture or design products, you add brand elements, such as logos and labels, or create brand packaging.
- Stronger control ability: Since you have a sufficient number of orders, you can have many suppliers to choose from and have a certain degree of control over suppliers. At the same time, the inventory and quality of products can be better controlled.
Of course, while the wholesale model brings excellent returns, it also comes with some risks:
- Inventory risk: Bigger order means you need to prepare more inventory for it. It would help if you bore the inventory risk caused by unsalable products.
- Limited flexibility: Once you buy a batch of products in bulk, it isn’t easy to quickly adjust to market trends and customer preferences.
- Potential loss: Besides facing the risk of slow sales, there may also be the risk of damage, theft, or upset when holding a large amount of inventory. At the same time, since wholesale business is usually a significant transaction, transaction risk is also an issue you must pay attention to.
In conclusion, becoming a local online wholesaler is also a decision to respond to market demand. You must prepare an extensive product inventory and have stable sales channels in this mode. At the same time, for your suppliers, being able to provide professional lingerie wholesale services will also make your business more advanced.
Here is a simple summary table of the three modes:
It is important to note that business model design is a flexible and specialized field. Through professional business model design, you can find a business model that is more suitable for you.
Picking the Right Supplier
Undoubtedly, having the perfect lingerie supplier is a critical factor in the success of your lingerie business. A good supplier can keep you from worrying about product quality and help you avoid many unexpected problems.
Where can I find lingerie suppliers?
The good news is that with the continuous development of trade and technology, it has become straightforward for us to find suppliers. You can expand your short list of suppliers as long as you want. Here are some common channels for finding suppliers:
1. Trade shows and fairs: This is the most primitive way of finding suppliers, ancient but still very effective today. You can find hundreds or even thousands of suppliers in one exhibition. They have all been officially verified, and they all have good strength.
2. Online B2B marketplaces: There are already many B2B online marketplaces where you can safely contact and trade, such as Alibaba, Global Sources, TomasNet, etc.
3. Yellow Pages website or industry directory: each industry has its industry association, and its members are verified wholesalers and manufacturers.
4. Google search: Google is currently the largest search engine in the world. You only need to use keywords to search on it, and you will find many supplier websites and their contact information.
5. Social media: Many suppliers and manufacturers have their official accounts, and you can find potential suppliers through LinkedIn, Facebook, Tiktok, and other platforms. You can find their contact information on these platforms and quickly learn about their development history.
6. Local businesses: Pay attention to local manufacturers and suppliers. They can provide you with faster and easier service, although the advantage price may be higher. You can check your local wholesale market or ask a retail store.
How to identify a good lingerie supplier?
Getting a lingerie supplier is effortless these days. You can sort through hundreds or thousands of lingerie suppliers in a few days. But the critical question is, who should you work with?
The following are steps and methods to screen suppliers that meet your needs. Follow the steps, and you will easily find your lingerie business partner.
1. Think about what kind of supplier you need?
Each supplier has its characteristics and advantages; no supplier is perfect! Before screening suppliers, think about what capabilities you need most from suppliers.
Is it a meager price, high-quality products, timely service response, or delivery speed? Make a list of your needs. For example, if what you need is that the supplier has abundant inventory, then you should delete the supplier who only accepts custom orders.
2. Get in touch with the supplier.
Contact the supplier by email or telephone, and explain your status and required services. At the same time, you can understand the actual situation of the enterprise through communication. If your time and funds allow, going directly to the supplier’s company is a good choice.
Note: You can exaggerate your strength slightly, but please don’t overdo it. For example, selling only 50 pieces per month but boasting 5,000 pieces will be a disaster for both parties.
3. Ask for samples.
Before formal cooperation, you should obtain samples from preliminary suppliers. You can screen out some suppliers bragging through sample communication and check the instances’ quality. So this is a necessary step before formal cooperation; even though some suppliers will not provide samples for free, this money is a reasonable expenditure.
4. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
Even if you have selected outstanding suppliers through the previous steps, giving the second and third suppliers a chance is the correct choice. Because you can find alternatives right away when your leading supplier has a problem, and let the first supplier know that you have more than one supplier, and they will be more active in serving you.
5. Constant updates.
Through the above steps, you already have a stable supplier and some alternatives. But you should still be able to keep updating your supplier list. You can also divide some small orders to alternative suppliers and find the best way for you to cooperate with them. Slowly you will have very diverse suppliers, and you will always find the most suitable supplier for your order.
Three Misunderstandings in Selecting Suppliers
Choosing and constantly updating the supplier list is a tough choice for novices. The following are some common mistakes made by novice players and even some veterans:
1. Think manufacturers are better than traders.
Often the first question asked of a supplier by multiple people is: Are you a manufacturer or a trader?
Why? Because most people think that manufacturers have more price and service advantages than traders. Is this real? This is not true. Many giant supermarkets will choose to cooperate with traders instead of factories.
Manufacturers may offer lower prices, but you may not be able to enjoy them. Because if the manufacturer can sell it for 8 dollars, why do you want the factory to sell it to you for 7 dollars
Second, traders can act as your bridge. They can provide you with product quality inspection, production process monitoring, and complete delivery of goods, and will solve many problems for you.
Therefore, you will only know which meets your requirements after contacting the supplier. Please don’t ignore the power of traders; they will surprise you sometimes.
2. Price is king.
Going to a lower-priced supplier is a common choice, but it can also cause problems with follow-up orders. Many suppliers deliberately give you a low price to get an order and then increase profits by cutting corners or charging extra fees later.
So, be wary of offers far below market price; this can be a terrible trap!
3. Refrain from approaching new suppliers.
Many people will only update the supplier list when there is a stable supplier. It will do you good to reach out to more suppliers. You can learn more market information by contacting suppliers. After all, how do you know when your supplier tells you they’ve given you the lowest price?
Selecting Your E-commerce Platform
When you have your products and suppliers, the next thing to consider is how to sell your products online!
Today’s online sales channels are complete; rich resources can be found in every sales channel and method.
I divide online sales channels into the following three:
Build your website
With the increasing accessibility and competition among e-commerce platforms, more people than ever before are turning to website creation to showcase themselves online.
Professional platforms exist for creating websites, with Shopify being one of the most favored platforms. According to recent estimates, Shopify holds the largest market share among US eCommerce platforms, with 29% of businesses using it.
Furthermore, various website-building technologies or platforms, such as Woocommerce and Wix, can create your site yourself. Should you decide to go this route? However, some understanding of website technology will likely be required of you; alternatively, you could hire professionals.
Although creating an e-commerce website can bring additional profits and control, you must promote it regularly to gain users. To do this successfully, you must understand Internet marketing and search engine optimization and promote your site accordingly.
E-commerce platforms have grown tremendously over the years and remain incredibly popular today, including Amazon, Esty, etc. Recent years have also witnessed many other emerging e-commerce platforms emerging into prominence.
E-commerce platforms have an advantage in that they don’t need to worry too much about traffic; their audience will take care of itself. Orders can usually be obtained with straightforward operations; however, gaining many orders could prove more challenging.
However, competition on an e-commerce platform can be fierce: users may quickly locate multiple suppliers for any one product – making it hard to increase the prices of the said product while simultaneously abiding by all rules set forth by the platform to avoid being punished by its administration.
Yes, many social media platforms have launched their e-commerce functions. Such as Facebook Shop,
You can promote your products and platforms more easily through social media, such as by joining relevant groups or advertising. You have many ways to reach your target customers. At the same time, this channel currently belongs to the blue ocean in many aspects, the pressure of competition could be higher, and good profits can be obtained. Secondly, the store setting of the social media platform is simple, there are almost no thresholds, and it is more friendly to novices.
But the simple setting also means that you can only do so much customization to the brand, which may limit your ability to express your brand image. Second, social platforms have less control over search engine optimization than other channels, so you may need to rely on traffic from the forum.
Here is a comparison of the three channels:
|Website||E-commerce platform||Social Media|
|Difficulty in Obtaining Traffic||High||Low||Medium|
|Marketing Channel||SEO/ SEM||Ads||Post, Group, Ads, etc.|
|Profit Rate||High||Medium Or Low||High|
In short, if you open an online lingerie store, the process is more straightforward than you think. Almost every step has complete learning resources and expert support. But, most importantly, you need to thoroughly understand the lingerie market before starting, find a suitable niche, clearly plan your business model and find qualified suppliers, and finally, get orders through diversified sales channels, Finally get a profit.
Finally, congratulations on the success of your online store!