Sunday, 13 May 2012

Spotlight on Astral Legxperience

Astral Legxperience is a web store based in Belgium that sells a wide range of tights for men, including leading brands such as Comfilon (Activskin), Doyeah and Adrian.

I have been been publishing a series of features and interviews with retailers and designers of men's and unisex tights.

I am really pleased to publish this interview with Mike Silver, the owner of Astral Legxperience web store, and hope readers will find it of interest.

Can you provide Hosiery for Men readers with some background information about the Astral Legxperience store?
Well the store was started about a year and a half ago. I have always had an interest in hosiery and was at a point in my life where I felt comfortable talking openly about it.

I know that most men wear hosiery in secret and thought it was time to show them that it is okay to wear what you find comfortable. So I made it a little easier for men to feel comfortable with themselves by offering a site that sells exactly what they are looking for.

Do you feel that tights for men are becoming more popular?

I personally have not been convinced that mainstream society has been converted. While the mainstream may be more aware that this product does exits, I believe few have been persuaded to start wearing hose.

I am of the opinion that guys who wear tights and pantyhose start doing so at a young age. It comes naturally and in my experience if you have not been wearing hose from an early age, it is rare that you start later in life.

It is always an uphill battle to convince anyone in my personal circle of friends to even entertain the idea of wearing hosiery!

How do you choose which brands of men's tights to stock?
I contacted all manufacturers that were making tights for men at the time I started this venture. I stocked what I thought to be a broad range of products. Over the year I have experienced good quality hose and the not so good.

Soon I will be adding more products while eliminating some. For instance the Bulgarian brand, Tim Legwear. I decided to phase out all sales due to the lack of customer service I receive on my end. Plus their product consistency is very poor. Yarns and colours change without any notice and I found this to be unprofessional. So we are offering a huge discount of all Tim Legwear products now.

Have you considered selling any brands and styles of women's tights also?
Recently I have. I originally was against it because I really wanted it to be male products made exclusively for males. I find that most men buy women's hosiery and are happy doing so. If they fit, I don't see why not. So including some women's hosiery may appeal to a wider audience.

Many men continue to buy tights that are designed and made for women. What do you feel are the advantages of tights that are made specifically for men?
Certainly that they are made in larger sizes is the biggest advantage. For bigger guys, most regular hosiery will not fit. Some tights are made with a fly opening and this is great for guys who normally utilize this option while going to the restroom.

They are also buying a product made for a man, because some guys just can't face the fact that they are wearing 'women's clothing'.

Which brands are particularly popular and sell well? 

Doyeah seem to sell the best. They are not too expensive and the product is of nice material that will hold up. They offer many sheer to waist products and that seems to be a favorite style of men. Adrian from Poland comes in second.

Do you feel that the market for men's tights is a growing one? Is that reflected in your sales?
I believe the market has peaked and has now levelled out. If we are basing this assessment on sales alone then the trend has maintained its course. Basically there are good months and bad months like many businesses.

What developments can we expect in the future at Astral Legxperience? Are you planning to market any new styles?
Well actually in a major way. As of next month the store will be relocating to the United States. This will make shipping within the US cheaper while European shipments will remain around the same price.

Also a much larger selection of Comfilon hosiery will be available. Here in Belgium the customs duty on items from the USA made ordering from them very difficult and the price prohibitive. I will be offering a full range of Comfilon products and will be proud to sell the original brands of tights for men.

I also hope to add a new manufacturer from Austria, Ufash. I have tested their range of tights and pantyhose and they are of the highest quality and appearance. Can't wait!

Mike, thanks for speaking to Hosiery For Men. I am sure readers will find this this feature of interest and I hope they check out the Astral Legxperience store. Good luck with the relocation of the store and do keep Hosiery For Men readers informed about future developments.

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