EXCLUSIVE: Playboy and Yandy Team Up to Grow

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Kellie Ell
·4 min read
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Playboy and Yandy are getting serious about their relationship.

The men’s lifestyle brand and the lingerie business are springing into the future with the launch of their latest collaboration, the “Choose Your Sexy” collection, filled with pastel-colored bras, underwear and bodysuits, among other things, adorned with the Playboy Bunny logo, bondage-style designs and sparkly chains.

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“We’re all coming out of the dark right now. We wanted to lighten it up and do a nice spring drop,” Pilar Quintana-Williams, vice president of merchandising at Yandy, told WWD. “The colors are really light, really free, really spring. And we wanted to make the collection fun; make it happy. Make it sweet and feminine, but also add a little sexy twist.”

This isn’t the duo’s first stab at a relationship. The brands teamed up twice last year for two mini-test collaborations, both of which Alicia Thompson, director of brand marketing at Yandy, said were successful.

“We’re in this position where we’re trying to keep doing these collaborations with Playboy in this collaborative space probably quarterly and continue to build on that relationship as we try to help Playboy expand to a more female demographic and shopping market and really play off of each of the brand’s strengths,” Thompson said.

The 16-piece, limited edition collection, which ranges in price from $14.95 to $49.95 and comes in multiple color options, launches April 8 exclusively at yandy.com. Shoppers can begin preordering on April 7. Select pieces will be available for sale at playboy.com and pleasureforall.com, a Playboy branded shop, later in the month.

Sizes for the collection range from small to XL. Quintana-Williams added that as early as the next collaboration (likely this summer), the collection will include plus-sizes. In addition, Yandy and Playboy are releasing a swimwear collection in May, which will also include plus-size options.

Meanwhile, both brands continue to grow at rapid rates. Yandy, like so many other innerwear and lingerie brands, enjoyed the benefits of the continued emphasis on comfortable work-from-home basics and sexual wellness during the pandemic. In fact, 2020 was the brand’s top-performing year in terms of revenues in its 15-year history, according to Thompson.

“People were clearly looking for a sense of escapism in the bedroom,” she said.

Quintana-Williams said the brand added men’s basics to the assortment and expanded its loungewear category.

“Loungewear was an OK category for us and then by the end of 2020 it was one of our top-selling new categories,” she said. “We’re going to continue to grow the loungewear category, of course. But, we know who we are. We know what space we play in. We are sexy. We are very kinky. Customers don’t come to us for modal pajama sets. They come to us for more of a sexy lounge piece. We do our own spin.”

Even the costume category traditionally one of Yandy’s top-performing categories fared well during the pandemic, despite the lack of costume-going events. Bedroom costumes increased 31 percent in 2020, year-over-year.

“We were nervous about 2020 and the Halloween season, thinking no one is going anywhere,” Quintana-Williams said. “Nobody is going to parties; there are going to be no festivals. There’s not going to be any of that. And we were taken aback by how well our season was. We were not able to keep bestsellers in stock.”

Playboy, which went public earlier this year under the Plby Group, is also in growth mode. The parent company logged $1.3 million in profits in its most recent quarter, compared to losses of more than $3.4 million a year earlier. Plby Group is also trying to create a portfolio of brands, including the acquisition of Yandy in Dec. 2019.

In addition, Playboy, perhaps the most recognizable brand, is trying to pivot away from its legacy as a man-centric magazine (Playboy’s print magazine ceased publication at the start of the pandemic after 66 years in circulation) rebranding itself, instead, as a consumer lifestyle business for men and women.

“Sales are fairly evenly split across genders, particularly with Gen Z and Millennial consumers,” said Anna Ondaatje, vice president of global brand and franchise strategy at Playboy.

The Yandy collaboration helps attract more female shoppers, she said. So does focusing on four key categories: sexual wellness; style and apparel; gaming and lifestyle, and beauty and grooming.

In 2007, WWD reported that retail including lingerie, swimwear and cosmetics accounted for about 60 percent of Playboy’s total sales. But Ondaatje said that number will be more than 95 percent in 2021.

“Similar to Yandy, we’ve seen a big growth in the sexual wellness space, across the board,” Ondaatje said. “People are at home and bored and looking to try new things and spice it up. And that goes for interest in sexy content, interest in education and learning, and interest in trying new things.”

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