Hauer tailors new compression line for bariatric market
NEW YORK - With 129 million Americans overweight and about 10 million considered obese, it comes as no surprise that Hauer Corp. would expand its line of chic compression hosiery to accommodate America's expanding waistline.
In September, the company released its new Personality line of hosiery, which is intended for women over 250 pounds who often have to squeeze themselves into products designed for smaller women. The medically correct graduated compression line comes in sheer with a firming control top, and in 12/15 mmHg (equivilent to 8/15 mmHg) and 18/21 mmHg (equivalent to 15/20 mmHg) compression.
"All of our dealers are telling us that they are not able to treat a segment of their customers and now they are," said President Max Hauer.
One of those dealers, Linda Molinix, said that prior to Personality coming on the market, she had to turn away a lot of large women who came in looking for graduated compression hosiery.
"We've had the larger sizes--but not made this way," said Molinix, administrative manager of Buckeye Home Medical in Huntsville, Tenn. "Before, the larger woman had to settle, and if it cut into the back of her leg, she had to live with the discomfort."
Plus-sized consumers represent a significant share of the women's apparel market. NPD Shoppers Panel data found that the plus-sized woman (size 14 or larger) accounted for 27% of the apparel market in 2001, following growth of 11% between 1999 and 2000.
"Even someone who is required medically to wear a compressed level of 20/30 mmHg or 30/40 mmHg, a person that size will never find a product they are going to be comfortable with," Hauer said. "So you would rather get the lower compression that fits comfortably and that they wear all day."
Custom hosiery can be made for large women, but they are often expensive (up to $150) and not always attractive or comfortable, he said.
The Personality line comes in six colors--from black to different shades of beige--and retails for less than $40, Hauer said.