Move over, Victoria's Secret

Lingerie retailer Bare Necessities spiced up sales by making it easier for women to find undergarments that fit online.

(FSB Magazine) -- When we last met Bare Necessities, the lingerie seller, based in Avenel, N.J., was profitable but battling a personality problem: It lacked one ("Taking On Victoria's Secret," June 2006). Enter FSB's Makeover artists - five experts from Frog Design, the product design and branding firm known for its work with Apple. The Frog team led company employees in creative exercises that sparked fixes, which CEO Noah Wrubel says boosted growth.

"Business is unbelievable," he says. The family-owned firm won't give figures, but an industry magazine pegged its 2006 web sales - now about 90% of revenue - at $26.2 million, bringing total sales for that year to around $29 million. In 2005, Bare Necessities had total sales of $21 million (the source of our Makeover estimate of $15 million miscalculated). This year sales should hit $35 million.

Bare Necessities CEO Noah Wrubel (center), with president and COO Bill Richardson and a model at their Avenel, N.J. office.

The Makeover revealed that many women find buying underwear tedious and ego-deflating. Guided by the Frog session, the company revamped its branding and website ( to change that. Now the site gives advice on fashion, quality, and, most important, fit. To execute this work, the company set up a new web-focused creative department and hired Victoria's Secret veteran Jessica Jackson as vice president of E-commerce, a new post.

"The new branding didn't automatically improve our marketing," Wrubel says. He also invested in new keywords and is making better use of e-mail. The experience "reenergized" the company, he says. "Life is much more exciting."

To give feedback, please write to Top of page

To write a note to the editor about this article, click here.