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Meet Laurie McMordie and CJ Hersch of Activ Intimates in North Scottsdale

Today we’d like to introduce you to Laurie McMordie and CJ Hersch.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Laurie and CJ. So, let’s start at the beginning, and we can move on from there.
We started Activ Intimates when we discovered something was missing from the lingerie market.  When shopping for lingerie, we found it increasingly difficult to find styles that flattered us in the way they did when we were younger. We began talking to other women to see if they had similar experiences and most of them did – we weren’t alone.

So we set out to fill this gap. We sketched the first version of our signature lingerie, the Playlette, and next created a prototype. It was exciting to see our vision coming to life, but we quickly realized we had a lot to learn about the fashion industry. Wow, was thereever a lot to learn!  We got to work and educated ourselves about product development – everything from pattern making to production.

We networked with experts from around the country which sometimes worked out and sometimes led us down the wrong path, but ultimately we found resources and manufacturing partners in Los Angeles and completed our first lingerie production in September this year. In the future, we look forward to also partnering with Arizona businesses for development and production. In fact, we found a wonderful local resource at F.A.B.R.I.C. Tempe, an incubator for emerging fashion designers.

Earlier this year, we were accepted into Phoenix Fashion Week’s Emerging Designer Bootcamp. We spent the summer and fall learning more about the business of fashion and competing with 11 emerging designer brands for Designer of the Year. It was an intense, focused program that culminated on the Phoenix Fashion Week runway on October 18. We showcased 12 new looks and are so honored to be the 2019 Lifestyle Designer of the Year.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The road hasn’t always been smooth. Being new to the fashion industry we learned the ropes the hard way through trial and error. Our first trip to Los Angeles could have been the end of our brand.

We had completed the Playlette prototype, so we scheduled appointments with production managers and factory owners and took our first road trip to L.A.  We were so excited to see our first apparel factory and were definitely anticipating a positive reaction to our prototype.  But the factory owner held up our prototype, shook his head and said, “this garment is too complicated for production”.

Concerned, but still optimistic, we moved on to our next appointments.  We received similar feedback at every stop and at the end of the day we probably should have been discouraged, but we weren’t. We got back in our studio, consulted with experts, talked to women about what makes them feel good and confident in their lingerie and just kept moving forward until we got it right.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Activ Intimates is about empowering women through innovative design and sexual wellness awareness. We understand that it’s not always easy to let go of inhibitions in the bedroom. This is why we design lingerie for a woman to feel comfortable and confident from the moment she puts it on, knowing she doesn’t have to take it off.

Our signature lingerie, the Playlette, is uniquely designed to be worn before, during and after intimate moments using fabrics that provide a gentle hug where needed and discreet garters to keep everything in place.

We take empowerment beyond our designs with resources, information and straight-forward discussions to enhance women’s experiences in and out of the bedroom. We’re starting the conversation through our Activ Intimates Blog and planning fun and informative events for 2019.

We launched our Playful Collection loungewear earlier this year as a complement to our lingerie line. Like our lingerie, it’s designed with comfort and confidence in mind. For this collection, we chose siro micro modal and knit suede for a luxuriously soft feel and effortlessly sexy fit. Designed in Scottsdale and made in Los Angeles, our lingerie and loungewear collections are available on our website and in select, local boutiques – Belle Lacet Lingerie in Chandler and Kettey’s International Fashion in Scottsdale.

What were you like growing up?
Growing up Laurie wore red, and CJ wore blue. But mostly we were like-minded. We always wanted to be entrepreneurs. In fact, we started working together when we were five and four years old in Seattle, Washington. It was the 60s, and we thought nothing of going door to door offering to help neighbors with jobs like making beds and taking out the trash.

We were paid mostly in candy, but back then a profit margin measured in sugar was fine with us. I (Laurie) learned to sew because that way my school clothes budget was unlimited. I fell in love with the process of selecting fabrics and patterns and creating beautiful clothing. When I was 19, I made my own wedding gown with little pearls hand sewn along the hem of the train. It was challenging and rewarding, and it sparked my love of fashion design. To this day, I love the process of bringing designs to life.

I (CJ) was the girl who liked to play outside, go fishing with my Dad and compete in sports. I’ve also always loved shopping and finding clothes with fashionable flair to fit my sporty chic style. I love distinctive details and unique fabrics, and I have fun styling new looks. While I never imagined I would be in the industry, it was a perfect progression to bring my passion for fashion into our business.

As sisters, we have always been close, and we work well together. One of the keys is that we are not exactly the same. Our strengths, skills, and perspectives are different – and when combined it’s powerful. We balance each other. We don’t always agree but that generally makes for better business decisions. One characteristic we share – and this is critical, is our work ethic. Our parents raised us to be independent and to work hard to achieve our dreams and goals. So that’s what we do – put our minds to it, no matter the challenge.

Pricing:

  • Lingerie – $100 to $198
  • Cover Ups – $95 to $110
  • Playful Collection Loungewear – $45 to $80

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
James Deak Photography
Steven Fellheimer Photography

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