By Paul Pannone
Since signing the Situation in July interest in the collaboration between the premier formal wear manufacturing company, FLOW, and the TV celebrity star has made headlines and brought tuxedos to a new generation of users in a fresh, new way. eWedNewz has been following the progress tracking the sales figures and interviewing industry members that admit the collaboration has created attention.
In the industry independent formal wear stores say they’ve been watching the promotion of the products, encouraging them to place orders in anticipation of demand created now that will translate into sales (rentals) when tuxedos are in the greatest demand between February and June. Sources like Mike Pantano of Tuxedo Junction in New Jersey told eWedNewz he’s playing it safe by adding the Situation brand for next season because of the marketing and created demand. Pantano and others say they’re betting on the promotion and marketing that’s relentlessly beating the tar out of the rest of the tuxedo manufacturers that still rely on “B” rated, fictitious brands and traditional advertising.
Since July Paul Morrell says they’ve been watching all activity surrounding the FLOW-Situation collaboration. Their decision to support the line is based on input from sources all over the United States.
Polling the industry are major wholesalers like Paul Morrell in Little Rock, Arkansas. When the collaboration between FLOW formal and The Situation was first announced, the highly respected supplier issued a statement that kept an open mind to the new direction saying:
“We admit our initial reaction to the press release from FLOW was a bit less than enthusiastic, but, we always work to make the best of whatever we are faced with. With that in mind, we can see where the new spokesperson for FLOW can have a significant positive impact on the formal market of 2011 and beyond.
With some guidance, and a willingness to do what needs to be done, the teens and twenty-somethings of today will witness his moving from his current market look of edgy coolness to the trendsetting transformation of his appearance in the best of Black Tie. They will see the incredible reality of how any man dressing formally receives an improved sense of his own masculinity, and a desire to remember the special, fleeting moments in his life.
Although our mindset is to desire a traditional ‘leading man’ image whom all can look at and see themselves in a tuxedo, that persona is perhaps no longer the singular best way to capture the attention of the 18 to 35-year-old male, or female. The culture is always changing and part of our role as an industry is to be part of that change and in some way lead our potential customers in a healthy way. Mike Sorrentino has already stated (in a recent interview) he is “working hard to change the perceptions people have”… perhaps FLOW and our industry can help him do this successfully, and at the same time draw others into marriage, formal weddings, prom, and other events.
We will do our best to support FLOW and the industry in this hopeful effort of seeing large numbers of ‘turning heads’ as they are blown away by something they did not expect to see…. an “improving Situation”.
Imagine the impact when Mike finds the woman of his dreams, and has a Jersey Shore Formal Destination Wedding….Black Tie Required. That could indeed help promote Marriage, and Dressing Formally.”
eWedNewz spoke to Dean Hughen, owner of the company for an update. Paul Morrell ordered two styles of the Situation; the Asbury and the front-runner, Avalon. eWNz asked how and why they arrived at supporting the line and whether they feel good about their decision.
“We consult with many different sources throughout the country. The reaction has been mostly positive with some negativity towards some of his personal behavior. But taking everything into account there has been huge collective awareness and feedback,” according to Hughen.
In a 40 minute discussion Hughen talked about the positive aspects of the product and why the assurance of a company like FLOW greatly increases the probability of success at all levels, including in-store rentals. Hughen told eWedNewz the buzz around the Situation and the input gathered by accounts all over the country was a factor in ordering products.
“We listen, therefore we hear what people are saying. We have a buying committee that takes all the available information and determines the best, most efficient way to allocate company resources and what products to invest in,” according to Mr. Hughen.
Throughout the discussion Mr. Hughen stresses the importance of promoting weddings.
“It’s important that we do not lose sight of the fact that weddings are the foundation of our business. We will really be looking closely at what happens when public figures like Mr. Sorrentino get married and what will they’ll be wearing on their special day,” says Hughen.
eWedNewz has interviews scheduled with other major formal wear wholesalers and will be bringing you the stories in the weeks a head. So far they all agree that tuxedo rentals are at a crossroad and face some very difficult questions regarding their future.
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