E Naked Brands: An Interview With CEO Carole Hochman

Naked Brand Group, Inc. (NAKD) has shown a lot of volatility lately, mostly to the upside and mostly news-related. This little niche company specializing in luxury underwear and sleepwear -- which debuted in 2010, IPO'd OTC in 2012, then moved to the Nasdaq in 2015 -- has a market cap under $25M. What seems to have put it on the momentum lists and driven the recent average volume of more than 900,000 shares a day (in a company with fewer than 10 million shares outstanding) is the idea that it was a prime acquisition target - and indeed, it looks like a merger is coming to pass.

Bendon Ltd., a 70-year-old New Zealand-based privately held company, has established an Australian holding company of which Naked Brands will become a subsidiary. The combined entity hopes to continue to trade on Nasdaq under the NAKD ticker. The synergies are clear: Bendon is not only a producer of multiple lines of underwear and sleepwear, but has a solid retail presence in Australia, New Zealand and Europe. Naked gets to avoid the pitfalls that face small companies making niche products, i.e., how to expand and sell without diluting their original emphasis.

I recently got the chance to interview Carole Hochman, CEO of Naked Brands, and didn't know what to expect, since her role in the new company will change. Fortunately for me, she seemed genuinely happy about the turn of events, not just financially but creatively. Here's what she had to say.

Q: The company was started by Joel Primus, and you came onboard in 2014, correct? 

Carole Hochman (CH): Yes, as CEO and Chief Creative Officer. My background is coming from luxury sleepwear. My whole mission as a designer, I grew up designing expensive lingerie for Christian Dior, and then I took the whole Heavenly Soft sleepwear concept to the public on QVC. To me sleepwear and underwear - it has to give you back a lot more than you spend. I was one of the first to do the whole cotton jersey premise, when you feel it you 'get' it. 

Q: What drew you to a startup?

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Disclosure: This article is part of a new “UnderCovered” series of exclusive articles featuring companies with limited coverage. Authors are compensated by TalkMarkets for their time, and ...

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Jane Walker 2 months ago Member's comment

I was told that the Carole Hochman underwear isn't being made by Carole Hochman only the sleepwear. I have a problem with whoever is manufacturing them now. The elastic around the legs have been altered so it's no longer about 1/4 inch. It's now a rounded type of hem that rolls. The xl size is irregular and not consistent. I've bought 4 boxes of 5 pair over the last few months from Costco and Amazon and all of them are different sizes. Please go back to whoever made them before. Thanks!

Anne Barry 2 months ago Member's comment

I hate it when companies change the way a product is made. They often do it to save money. If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

Carole Hochman 3 years ago Member's comment

Thanks for the interview. I'm happy to answer readers' questions about $NAKD.

Carl Aamodt 3 years ago Member's comment

Enjoyed this, thanks.

Cynthia Decker 3 years ago Member's comment

Yes $NAKD looks like it can really benefit from the merger.

Danielle Rogers 3 years ago Member's comment

With Bendon being privately held, I guess the research on valuation is going to be difficult; but this is very interesting.