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Park Avenue shop launches effort to take sales national

Rochester Business Journal
February 1, 2013

Park Avenue lingerie boutique Devil May Care doubled its revenue in 2012. This year will have an even loftier goal.
 
Co-owners and sisters Anastasia Cerankosky and Jennifer Mahoney will celebrate Devil May Care's second anniversary today with a party at their boutique and the announcement of Devil May Care Lingerie Co.'s national launch.
 
Devil May Care sells different styles of lingerie, ranging from $10 to $175, along with intimate men's wear, cologne and a custom line of vintage lingerie. The company also plays host to bachelorette parties, which Cerankosky said has been increasingly beneficial for the business, both from a promotional standpoint and financially.
 
A national launch means a new website and a more eye-catching logo in the coming months.
 
The company still will be based in Rochester, but it will push its online presence to take the intimate environment of its boutique and put it up against major companies such as Victoria's Secret, owned by Limited Brands Inc.
 
"Because of how popular online shopping has become, you can really reach out to everyone, so why not do that?" said Cerankosky. "We've gotten a big following via social media, so we'd like to capitalize on that."
 
Still, Cerankosky said, online sales now make up a small percentage of Devil May Care's business. To help with the national launch, the company has hired new Rochester branding and design company Rising NY LLC.
 
The company is owned by Barry Strauber, who previously spent 12 years as a vice president of creative services for marketing and branding firm Partners + Napier Inc.
 
"The vision is to create a fresh brand that can not only compete with something like Victoria's Secret, but also a major fashion brand like Dolce & Gabbana," he said. "We want to create a brand that you could send out as an ambitious company that can compete with anyone, while still based in Rochester."
 
Cerankosky said customers outside Rochester will get an intimate shopping experience similar to that of people who come to the Park Avenue location. The new website will allow customers to create unique profiles that store their purchase history and measurements and will provide recommendations for new products.
 
She sees Devil May Care operating online like Anthropologie, which also does not create the trendy items its sells, Cerankosky said.
 
"I think that people are over the whole mass-marketing, everything-is-made-in-China era," she said. "I think people are really loving authenticity. A store like Anthropologie doesn't make the things they sell. They curate them. They've curated this whole brand and lifestyle that comes off as authentic. That's what we want to do."
 
One thing that could aid Devil May Care in its national launch is its social media following. The company has more than 1,800 likes on its Facebook page and nearly 1,200 followers on Instagram to go with a strong presence on sites like Twitter and Pinterest.
 
Devil May Care's social media following is greater than that of other local boutiques such as Thread and Dado, which have been around longer.
 
"We went to a trade show in New York in August, and some of the vendors were recognizing us," co-owner Mahoney said. "They saw us on Instagram or Twitter. Social media allows you to reach people on a personal level where you feel like you know them."
 
Cerankosky said another key to Devil May Care's success over the past two years has been the relationship between the two sisters and the personal approach they take with customers.
 
Strauber said Mahoney and Cerankosky will be a big part of the branding campaign on the website and in advertisements.
 
"If it was anonymous and there wasn't a face to the brand, it would be more of a commodity to do it on a national level," Strauber said. "But it's really these two sisters who represent the brand, and we can focus on who they are. That's what differentiates Devil May Care from other, bigger retailers."

2/1/13 (c) 2013 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.


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