An Update on Adore Me Lingerie, Part 1: Why We’re Revisiting the Brand

Editor’s Note: This article is a follow-up on our review of Adore Me Lingerie from 2013.

Disclosure: Adore Me flew me to New York to view their new collections. All opinions are my own.



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The articles I’m writing on Adore Me for the next couple of days will represent a bit of a departure from what you usually see on the site. First of all, they’re a team collaboration between myself and two of my writers — Laura Mehlinger and Krista Purnell. Second, we’re revisiting a brand that’s already been reviewed on the site, a fairly rare occurrence for The Lingerie Addict. Third (and the subject of this post, actually), I’m giving you a ton of background on the unique circumstances and situation surrounding this series. I won’t lie; all this context is a bit long. But I also feel that it’s incredibly important… not just for understanding this particular blog series about Adore Me but also for understanding a bit of what goes on behind the scenes all the time at TLA.

However, I want to start things off by being perfectly clear: we are not reviewing Adore Me Lingerie in these articles. Let me explain…

We take reviews very seriously on The Lingerie Addict. Reader trust — the faith you put in us to share our honest and accurate impressions of the garments we’re reviewing — is priceless to me. When we say we like a piece or don’t like a piece or have mixed feelings about a piece, I want you to know that those are our genuine opinions. They haven’t been bought or bartered or traded away. That is why companies cannot pay us for product reviews, and why every brand interested in having a product reviewed on The Lingerie Addict must first receive and agree to our review policies… review policies which state, among other things, that all reviews are editorial content and are not subject to any form of approval, review, or editing by the brand.

While most companies are fine with that (after all, what’s better than genuine praise about your product?), we have had several encounters with brands who thought a $50 bra was enough to buy off our integrity. Of course, it’s not. Both I and my writers are constantly committed to giving you the very best lingerie reviews we can, so you can make the best lingerie purchasing decisions you can.

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Unfortunately, our commitment to trustworthy reviews sometimes results in a negative article about a brand. While we never take pleasure in writing a bad review, we also believe it’s important to share with our readers the reasons why a company may deserve one. Whether a negative review is due to poor fit, poor quality, poor customer service, or some other issue all together, we’ll never just “trash” a brand. We’ll always explain exactly why we’ve come to those conclusions.

Last year’s review of Adore Me Lingerie was one of our most read and most controversial blog posts of 2013. Almost a year since its publication, it still receives about one new comment per week. While I stand by the statements made in that review, the company Adore Me has since made significant changes to their business model. After speaking with the CEO and visiting the company’s headquarters, I believe it makes sense, in the interests of both accuracy and fairness, to write an updated piece on the brand.

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This was not a decision I made lightly. Adore Me has made multiple requests for both a new article or an updated version to last year’s article. Yet it was only recently that I felt enough changes had happened in the company to make such an update appropriate. However, as the information I published in the original review was accurate at the time of writing, I have declined (and will continue to decline) any and all requests to make edits, deletions, or changes to that other article.

In case you’re not familiar with that piece, one of my primary critiques of Adore Me at that time was their business model. It involved purchasing garments from other lingerie brands (like Rene Rofe, Parfait by Affinitas, Leg Avenue, and Seven ’til Midnight) and replacing the brand’s own label with the Adore Me nametag. While I have very strong feelings about relabeling, my blog post focused on the company’s marketing campaign at the time, with its heavy focus on “designer lingerie sourced from Europe,” a statement I found to be both misleading and inaccurate to consumers. When repeated requests for clarification from Adore Me only resulted in the exact same PR pitch, I shared my findings on TLA.

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Since then, Adore Me has sent me updates on their company, along with requests for a new article on TLA, every couple of months or so. In July 2013, I met their new head of design, Helen Mears, while in NYC for Curve. In October 2013, I received a set of teaser images of the new Spring/Summer 2014 collection (published here). In November 2013, I sent the company a list of interview questions, and in December 2013, I received a response to these questions from Adore Me’s CEO, Morgan Hermand-Waiche. His response marked a turning point in my conversations with the company. For the first time, I felt as though I’d received honest answers as opposed to yet more PR spin. Around the same time, Hermand-Waiche extended an invitation for me and my NYC-based columnists to visit Adore Me’s headquarters in Manhattan. After clarifying that, as per usual, the final content of any article would be up to TLA’s staff, I accepted.

I give you all that background because I want you to understand the context of this new piece and to know that this was not a spur of the moment decision. I genuinely feel that there’s interesting stuff happening with Adore Me that’s worth sharing now. And while I was explicit with Adore Me that this was an editorial trip (i.e. I was not paid a fee) I’m also well aware that accepting a flight and hotel accommodations may compromise my opinion to some of you… which is why I also asked my columnists to attend.

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Krista and Laura were able to visit Adore Me’s headquarters with me, and I see this piece as a joint collaborative effort between the three of us. Not only are Krista and Laura lingerie experts and specialists in their own right, as residents of NYC, they didn’t need to be flown in to see the company. In other words, if the three of us are in agreement (or disagreement) about a particular point, I think that’s a much stronger perspective than if it’s just me alone.

Please note: as I said before, this article is not a review of Adore Me’s new lingerie. Neither I nor any of my columnists have tried the new pieces (at least in any official capacity; I can’t speak for their personal purchases), so we are not remarking on the fit of the garments. Nor is this article a review of Adore’s Me customer service. When I’m interacting with companies as The Lingerie Addict, I simply can’t get an accurate impression of how they treat their everyday customers. I assume everyone is on their best behavior because of the platform I represent. This updated article focuses solely on what we saw during a tour of Adore Me’s offices.

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While at Adore Me, we were able to meet with the CEO: Morgan Hermand-Waiche, the VP of Brand Marketing: Stephanie Falcon, the Design Team: Helen Mears and Kristin Anderson, as well as representatives from the Customer Service and Social Media teams. Krista was in attendance for all meetings except the last one with Customer Service. Laura was in attendance for our meeting with the Design Team only. This article series will focus heavily on what the three of us saw during the Design Team meeting.

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***”It’s Hard to Break Into the Lingerie Industry:” Why Adore Me Initially Relabeled Their Garments

One of the things I really wanted to address in a follow-up article is not only why Adore Me relabeled their pieces (even going so far as to cut out one tag and replace it with another), but also why their brand story was so focused on the designer lingerie angle when the actual products were anything but. I received almost no headway on this with the PR/Marketing team, but in his email, the CEO Hermand-Waiche gave more insight into the beginnings of Adore Me and why they started off as a relabeling company before transitioning into their own in-house designs.

As we all know, Victoria’s Secret has a virtual monopoly on the American lingerie market. In general, the intimates industry in the U.S. is dominated by a few (as in, a literal handful) of major players, which makes it incredibly difficult for anyone else to break into the lingerie industry… particularly in the volume required to threaten one of the key brands or manufacturers. This de facto oligopoly affects everything in the U.S. lingerie market, from prices to sizes to silhouettes. In short, customer expectations are being set by a very narrow slice of the market in terms of style, but a huge swathe in terms of volume.

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It’s also true that making a bra is complicated. Fit is particular. Pattern grading is complex. And construction requires both specialized materials and specialized labor (in fact, there’s only a small number of factories that manufacture most of the world’s lingerie as well). That sets the lingerie industry apart from the rest of the garment industry; making bras is not at all like making dresses. Despite all these factors, however, customers still want a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and styles… which makes meeting the demands of the market very difficult (and can drive a new company out of business).

Because of all those factors, Hermand-Waiche says, the plan was to start with products manufactured by other companies, and then, as they grew, to move to in-house manufacturing. When I was asked why Adore Me was not more transparent about this practice, especially once others began to notice, he responded by emphasizing that Adore Me was not ashamed of relabeling before saying, “… it is counterproductive to readily discuss this practice, especially since it is actually contradictory to our long term strategy. Building a new brand is difficult enough as it is, and part of doing so requires you focus on a consistent message, which in our case truly is designing and manufacturing quality products in house. The more we grow the less we are forced to relabel. We’ve made great progress on our sourcing roadmap, which should enable us to completely phase out privately labeled items in the first semester of 2014. This is not just a PR effort—this is the only way for a lingerie company to build a sustainable, long term, mass market brand that makes significant revenue.

So it seems the initial relabeling venture was a “proof of concept” for Adore Me’s subscription-based model… a way of establishing viability for the next phase which, as we’ll discuss in detail in the next installment, is their in-house designed line.

What do you think of the preview of Adore Me’s new pieces shown here? How do you feel about TLA revisiting the brand and what are your thoughts on Hermand-Waiche’s explanation for Adore Me’s beginnings? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Cora Harrington

Founder and Editor in Chief of The Lingerie Addict. I started TLA in a small studio apartment in 2008. Since then, it's become the leading lingerie blog in the world, and has been featured on the websites for Forbes, CNN, Time, Today, and Fox News. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that every who wants it deserves gorgeous lingerie.

22 Comments on this post

  1. […] recommend that you read the Lingerie Addict’s Review and her interview with the company Part 1, Part 2a, 2b, and Part 3. I had 1 experience with the company in 2012. I did not have multiple […]

  2. Lea says:

    I had the worst experience with Adore Me Lingerie in 2016. After seeing their commercials touting great lingerie at affordable prices, I decided to try them out. Believing a commercial for a product I have never seen in person is almost never a good move. Anyway, I subscribed and ordered some items off their site. The company continued to charge me every month because I was a member but never sent my order. In the ensuing months, I got a litany of excuses as to the items I ordered were back ordered, etc., to the point where I could not believe that I was the only customer who hated their service. So, I started digging through online information to find credible information about what actual customers experienced. In many cases, the customer complaints were identical to my experience. Given that the company was continuing to sell subscriptions promising lingerie while failing to timely ship items as it had done with so many other customers, I didn’t see any chance that the service would improve, so I cancelled. That was mid-2016. (I have exact dates, if you need the information.) I wasn’t expecting a $500 bra for $50, but I did expect the items I ordered to be shipped on time. The fact that the company makes or relabels lackluster product but then fails to ship timely is utterly unforgivable. It’s even worse that the company is now pushing men to buy their lingerie for Valentine’s Day. Can you imagine ordering a Valentine’s gift only to have it no show? I truly hope that Adore Me has shaped up its act in the past six months, but I doubt it.

  3. Jill says:

    I am very skeptical of this brand. On their tv ad, they say they carry petites, but I haven’t seen any AA cup bras there at all.

  4. Sabrina Ramos says:

    It’s easy to be angry with them for ‘misleading’ their customers, but the point made about Victoria’s Secret having a monopoly on the U.S. lingerie market is all too true. As a woman who wears a 30I(US)/30G(UK), I didn’t know it was possible to find cute lingerie in my true size for less that $80. Adore Me has given me that. After literal YEARS of being let down every time I walked into a lingerie store, and being pissed off every time a Victoria’s Secret “fitter” tried to shove me into a 38DD just so they could sell me something, I finally feel like I get to have pretty things for a fair price. (Yeah, the selection is limited, but at least it exists!)

    So fine, you A-D cups, be angry. But just realize that not all of us have other affordable options.

    • 42H says:

      “So fine, you A-D cups, be angry. But just realize that not all of us have other affordable options.”
      Oh my god someone said it. Thank you.

    • Brenna Johnson says:

      I’m a 28G so I completely understand! My best experiences have been with eBay and the Lingerie Outlet Store in the UK. While AdoreMe only has close to my size, I’d be tempted if it weren’t for the subscription and bad customer service. $40 is getting off easy!

  5. Zhenni Lin says:

    Sorry for bombarding you with messages. I’ve made few changes to my previous reply to this blog. Can you read this one instead?

    It is very shocking to me that the above response is used as their reasons for—despite my reluctance to use a harsh word against a start-up that has been working hard, I felt a need to state the fact—lying to their customers. First of all, when the CEO said “it is counterproductive to readily discuss this practice, especially since it is actually contradictory to our long term strategy”, he was only thinking from their business’s perspective rather than that of their customer. This sentence is saying that discussing such practice would be counterproductive for their business. However, instead of directly stating it, he started the sentence with “it is counterproductive”, which act de-emphasizes the egocentric nature of his reasoning and possibly gives his audience a sense that it could be counterproductive for the customers as well, when in fact, no thoughts of the customer’s perspective was considered. Specifically, no where in the sentence did they answer the questions of how would a customer feel when she found out that she paid $40+ for a re-labeled bra that she could’ve spent $20 for, or is it fair for her to be lied to in such way when she had put trust in AdoreMe’s words that all the bra sets come from in-house designers. Unfortunately, such egocentric rhetoric is used throughout his response as well.
    In the next sentences, he said, “building a new brand is difficult enough as it is, and part of doing so requires you focus on a consistent massage, which in our case truly is designing and manufacturing quality products in house. The more we grow the less we are forced to relabel”. To make his words clear, I will again reword her sentences: Because building a new brand is difficult enough as it is for us, we need to tell our customer what we aim to do instead of what we really are doing in order to give them the incentive to invest in us; additionally, we cannot possibly tell them what really is happening because doing so will cause us to lose credibility in the eyes of the customers due to the lack of consistency from our part, which in turn, will cause us to lose the current and possible customers; lastly, our plan is working according to our initial vision, and thus we are able to do more in-house design as we promised and less re-labeling as we are “forced”.
    Analyzing the CEO’s words from a literary perspective, I see that he’s employing two speech techniques, pathos and logos. One uses pathos when he aims to invoke pity and empathy from the audience, and one uses logos to convince his audience that his argument is logical. I don’t have issues with him using these techniques, as many of respected public figures such as Martin Luther King have employed them for the sake of achieving a greater good. What I’m not okay with is the fact that he used these techniques in an egocentric manner—as, again, nothing he mentioned was considered from the customer’s perspective—so that he could manipulate his audience into empathizing with him and possibly letting go of advocating against AdoreMe’s unethical practice. Meanwhile on their website, they claimed that “we [are] committed to creating fashionable, high quality, perfectly fitting intimates at such an affordable price that you can match and wear them every day” (http://www.adoreme.com/our_story.html, as of the midnight of November 24, 2014). How can they really be thinking in the interest of their customers by creating perfect “intimates” when 1) they are not doing so but are telling their customers that they are and 2) they have shown no empathy for the customer in any parts of their response? This is not to mention their unprofessionalism in leaving a grammatical error in the first highlighted box, titled “Our Promise” under their “our story” page, specifically “we committed to” should be “we are committed to” since to say someone committed something usually means that he has “carry out or perpetrate (a mistake, crime, or immoral act” instead of meaning that he is “dedicated to (something)”, according to dictionary. Such unprofessionalism shows AdoreMe’s lack of a drive towards perfection that they’ve claimed, which further calling their claim of making the “perfectly fitting intimates” for customers in doubt. Of course, I understand that everyone makes mistakes, but such mistake was made in a too obvious place on their official page to be ignored.
    In AdoreMe CEO’s fourth sentence, he said, “We’ve made great progress on our sourcing roadmap, which should enable us to completely phase out privately labeled items in the first semester of 2014”. I’m glad that they can finally start keeping their promise to their customers since the first semester of 2014, but this also highlights that they’ve been lying to their customers for at least a year. (I could not find any information on when the business started operating, but on their website, they do show their achievements in 2013. This allows us to posit that it has been at least a year since they started to send a “consistent message” to their customers).
    Lastly, he said, “This is not just a PR effort—this is the only way for a lingerie company to build a sustainable, long term, mass market brand that makes significant revenue”. Again, let me state his words in a clearer manner: lying to customers is the only way that we can survive in the market of lingerie and make money as a result. So again, it’s about them staying in business and making profits.
    I apologize for my lengthy, perhaps unnecessarily academic, close analysis of his words. I did so out of my respect for his rhetorical techniques, which in my eyes, were technically wonderful but used for the wrong reason—excusing AdoreMe for its unethical business practice. I myself have been working with my friends in a start-up endeavor as well, and I understand his difficulties, for we have experienced similar ones too. However, I, along with my friends, have always believed that if our idea and product are valuable to people, then we can eventually find a good way to attract interested customers. And indeed, we have, by tirelessly explaining to our customers our specialty and constantly striving to create the best product as we know it and as we’ve promised to our customers. AdoreMe’s practice has been a disappointment to me as a fellow entrepreneur. I hope they can examine their mistakes honestly and act upon their examination. Nevertheless, I do believe that, as long as they have great products, customers will come to them and grow to love them.

  6. Dee Lushious says:

    And this experienve was in August/Sept of this year – since the part 3 article came out. Yes I received the email prior to the subscription being charged, but I assumed that it was related to my one purchase– and does everyone open and read every single email that Amazon or ebay sends you when you’ve ordered something, confirming every single step of your order? Sending out an email (that they MUST know is pretty darn likely to be overlooked or to go into a spam filter) is still crappy scammy service — Just make it much clearer when I make the first purchase so that we can opt out then and there!! And the whole “giving a month to get the refund” thing sounds like it’s meant to be a nice customer service thing, but it’s in AM’s OWN interest to not have me call VISA to have them remove the charge for fraud, because they’ll get dinged by VISA. If I catch someone taking my wallet out of my purse, I’m not gonna think that they’re a nice person for putting my wallet back when they could have just ran off.

  7. Dee Lushious says:

    I totally agree with Rita here. The automatic opt-in for their “subscription” seems to try to target people who don’t pay close attention to thier credit card bills. I ordered a cute set from them because I won it, so I wasn’t supposed to pay ANYTHING, but after the inital free purchase from them, I started getting the “subscription” fee. I don’t recall realizing that I was signing up to be charge $40 a month!! I might have signed up for what I THOUGHT was a subscription to an email newsletter, but I did NOT think that I was signing up for a monthly bra purchase!! And then I had to call them to confirm that I wanted to be removed, which is frankly BS because I didn’t have to call to get added! They claim that it’s for “security reasons,” but I seriously wonder whether it’s just to deter people from calling (because if thier site is secure enough to SEND my credit card info through, why isn’t it secure enough to cancel a subscription on?). Overall, thier stuff is kinda cute and I like the lace and colour combinations, and I might have occassionally bought a set, but there’s no way in heck that I’m going to ever buy from them after their borderline-scam subscription sign-up stuff for what was supposed to be a prize and no cost or hassel!!

  8. Angel says:

    Well, I know Zara did start relabelling and back in the day their textiles and overall quality was really poor. As of today Zara offers mostly really good quality 100% of their own for extraordinary prices (one can argue they get too much inspiration from other designers ;)). Why is that? Their purchase capacity is massive.

  9. Rita says:

    My husband ordered several items from Adore me and now we get billed $39.95 a month even though a considerable amount of time has passed since he’s ordered (5 months?). He called and asked the phone operator to be released and she told him he’d get a call from someone higher up but she lacked the authority to do so. Two months later the charges keep coming in and no call back. I feel like this company has run a scam on us, not only in their false story but in their overall operation.

  10. Lynn B says:

    I was just on their web site as I subscribed a long time ago although never purchased. Nowhere on their site did I see a brand name. I recognize a number of brands (being an ever searching big bra wearer I know brands & styles) but nowhere do I find a brand name mentioned. What was the point of having you visit them if their business model has not changed? Surely they didn’t need to fly you to New York to explain why they continue mislead customers? What am I missing?

  11. Christine says:

    Cora, I appreciate that you are revisiting this topic. However, as an actual consumer of fine lingerie, I would never shop with Adore Me. I support a lot of upcoming designers but Adore Me has absolutely no appeal to me whatsoever. The relabeling scandal was only the icing on the cake. Adore Me doesn’t look nor feel luxurious. The lingerie itself is cheap and the marketing is cheap. They’re also targeting a low-range market that is not actually interested in “European lingerie.” I saw that they have kiosks at the mall in Brooklyn…far from luxurious marketing. It’s like buying lingerie off a kiosk on Canal street (ask a New Yorker and they will tell you Canal street is where tourists buy poorly made knock offs!).

  12. Pat says:

    I have been an AM customer since initial rollout. I was invited to join through some other site at the time (do not recall) and I gave them the CC info, and joined. Back then they were only subscription. While I bought a couple of sets, I never let them auto-charge being diligent about opting out each month. I am still a subscriber and still opt out. Why? Because of everything that was said in the original review. The pieces I received were immediately recognizable to me as someone else’s products. I new I had seen them before. The quality was okay, but over priced for what I received. Things started fraying after only a few uses and hand washing. BUT I have noticed what appears to be an improvement in the range and offerings. As a result, I have stuck around with them. Like TLC I have been keeping an eye on them. THANK YOU for this updated article. This makes me want to keep my AM membership to see if the newer pieces are better and if the selection grows. Looking forward to part 2.

  13. Maggie says:

    I don’t agree with what they did or their current justifications of what they did (who exactly was “forcing” them to relabel?) but I am glad that you’re revisiting this topic. I think part of what this shows is how hard it is to break into the lingerie market and what lengths people are willing to go to do so. I’m eagerly waiting for the next part of this story.

  14. Bonnie M says:

    So wait – they take someone else’s product and relabel it as their own? How is that not theft?

    Or am I misunderstanding relabeling?

    • Ms. Pris says:

      It isn’t theft because they have agreements with those lingerie makers that allow them to do it. It’s weird and misleading though.

    • Evija says:

      The way I see it it’s a bit like private store brands. Let’s say a factory makes cereal for brand X. Store Y orders them to start making Cereal Brand Y, a private label cereal. Essentially they outsource their production. With brands that don’t have a distinctive image, I don’t think it’s much of an issue.

  15. Victoria says:

    I still think that Relabeling is one of the most in-ethical thing you can do to a brand who give you a wholesale. One of the reasons why is positive for a brand to do wholesales to other shops is because that way, they can get their name out to other places in people, relabeling makes that impossible.

  16. Evija says:

    Relabeling happens. And a non-specialist, who is the most likely customer of AM, wouldn’t even know. They buy it, AM grows and can come up with something original, I see nothing wrong in that.
    Yet calling Leg Avenue “designer” is a serious faux pas, and this doesn’t make me want to buy anything from them. Nor do tacktastic “corsets”.
    It’s nice that they offer DD+ sizes, it shows interest in the entire range of potential customers, but tbh, the site left an impression of [pardon, this will come across strong] of a stripper who now wants to run for public health specialist (nothing wrong with that – but the early stages of the process could be a tad silly). They have tried really hard, but personally their “our story” page gives me toothache.
    Wanted to say I’d still give their fuller bust collection a go, but a model whose band rides up, pretty as is… nuh-uh. You people still have to learn, lots, and better do it quick.
    Sorry if this came across a bit harsh, well, that’s just me. I’m sure there’s somebody who’ll still buy the pretty colourful stuff, it’s a good price after all, and the designs are okay (minus the band.. brrr).

    • Ms. Pris says:

      I don’t *like* it, but I don’t hold it against a retailer when a model’s band rides up. The reason for this is that I see with just about *every* retailer. I think it must just be one of the things that retailers have to deal with.

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