Innovation metrics from the leading edge of lingerie

petitjeanWhat does it take to innovate in underwear, a business driven by style, brand, and, of course, comfort? DBApparel Group, based in the western suburbs of Paris, has been at it since the middle of the 20th century, manufacturing and marketing globally-recognized names like Playtex, Fila, Lovable, and Wonderbra.

Nicolas Petitjean is the company’s Chief Innovation Officer at DBApparel, one of the largest intimate apparel makers in the world. The privately-held company has about 7,500 employees in 20 countries. (It is owned by Sun European Partners, a buyout firm that acquired it in 2006.)

DBApparel emphasizes its rich history of innovation, including its Elbeo brand nylon stockings (1948), and its Dim brand seamless stockings (1953). But, according to Nicolas, a history of innovation doesn’t guarantee an innovative culture. Petitjean has been at the company since 2011; he reports to DBApparel’s Chief Marketing Officer, Fabio Luxi. We spoke with Petitjean in July 2013.

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