Design of new product, website a statement about our commitment


Robin Maryland,  president, ActSensuous
Robin Maryland,
president, ActSensuous

This week was one of the most eventful in the 13 years ActSensuous has been in business.  On Wednesday, we launched a brand new website, coinciding with the introduction of an all-new product — Act IV.

Longtime readers know that I keep this blog separate from the business end of ActSensuous.   In other words, I write the blog for your (and my own) entertainment, and that’s its purpose.  It has always been for everyone, and it doesn’t matter whether you’re an ActSensuous customer or not.  (The vast majority of you aren’t, including those who are the most loyal readers and commenters.  And that’s perfectly OK.)

Many of you have written to me stating your respect and appreciation for my keeping the blog at arm’s length from the company.  (And I appreciate that you appreciate that.)  But, at least a couple of times, I’ve broke my own rule.  Always for a good cause though.

This is one of those cases.  I thought you might like to know the back story behind the launch of Act IV and the new website.

Inauspicious beginnings

I conceived and created ActSensuous in 2001 after discovering I could no longer find the kind of pantyhose I’d always loved.  I had been buying only 100 percent nylon, completely sheer-to-waist pantyhose for years, and all of a sudden this style was nowhere to be found.  I looked everywhere, even online, but at the time, they just weren’t around.  As this was 2001 — the very heyday of the “bear” legs movement (new readers, see explanation in the “About me” section here), it shouldn’t have been a surprise.

ActSensuous customer and friend, Sofie, wearing Act IV Black.
ActSensuous customer wearing Act IV Black.

I finally met the buyer at my favorite department store and asked her about this.  She told me the manufacturer her store was getting these pantyhose from was going out of business.  Just another casualty in what would become an all-too-frequent occurrence in this new era of women preferring to go bear- legged.

Long story short (you’re welcome), I and my partner contacted that manufacturer and offered to buy the last of their inventory.  ActSensuous was born.  My thinking:  If I was distraught about no longer being able to buy 100 percent nylon, completely sheer-to-waist pantyhose, maybe at least a handful of other women were feeling the same way.  I never imagined at that time that hundreds of thousands of women (and men) actually do love this style.

For the first few years, it looked as if I had grossly overestimated the love and desire for — not just this style — but for pantyhose of any kind … period.  Nevertheless, fully understanding the gamble (if not insanity) in starting a pantyhose business during the very height of the bear legs movement, I was determined to try to lead the cause to bring back all-nylon, all-sheer pantyhose — even if singlehandedly.

Somehow, the product I acquired from the manufacturer that was going under wasn’t exactly what I was used to buying.  (Still not sure how THAT happened.)  The quality just wasn’t there, but I was not going to be deterred.  I called our product simply ActSensuous after the name I chose for my company, and at that time, I never dreamed we’d have anything but this one product in three colors (Black, Nude and Suntan).

Enter Act II

But after two years of struggling with a pretty cheap product in a bad market, I created a new product to replace the original.  I called it Act II (thought that was pretty clever) .

Act II was a huge improvement over the original line.  And for the next 10 years, it served its purpose well.  Act II are 100 percent nylon, completely sheer-to-waist pantyhose.  What does that mean?  They are made of nothing but nylon (no Lycra/spandex), and have no gusset panel.  But even though they are sheer-to-waist, I never liked that reinforced area that sits just below the waistband.  It’s called the finger band, and its purpose is to prevent one from puncturing the fabric with the thumb when putting the pantyhose on.

Professional model, Kayla, wearing Act IV Suntan.
Professional model, Kayla, wearing Act IV Suntan.

Since they are all-nylon, we made Act II with a slightly tight knit to prevent sagging.  Act II were wildly popular, and even though I was living with the finger band, there was just one thing that I felt I hadn’t accomplished in Act II.

The reason I always loved 100 percent nylon pantyhose is because of the sensual feel of the fabric moving on the leg (and in the hand of the person touching the leg).  If you don’t know, or can’t imagine that feeling, you ought to investigate this.

To me, there is nothing sexier.  The ActSensuous style of pantyhose is decidedly delicate.  Wearing ActSensuous is like flirting with trouble.  There’s a sense of vulnerability — for the wearer, and for the one who wants the wearer.   The pantyhose have to be treated as the beautiful, delicate, delicious little number they are.  What could be more feminine?

Act II are like that, but that slightly tight knit we used was for more practical applications.  They are delicate and they move.  But not much.

Act III takes stage

So, in 2009, I invented Act III.  It had all the design features of Act II, except they were made in a slightly loose knit.  For a while, Act III captured the hearts of everyone.  Our customers from nearly every country in the world (even Bangladesh), told us that Act III were the softest, silkiest and most comfortable pantyhose they had every worn.  Oh yeah, and the sexiest.

Sofie in Act IV Light Taupe.
A customer models Act IV Light Taupe.

Voila!  I had done it.  Now, customers had a choice: Sexy but practical (Act II), or really, really sexy (Act III).  My work was done here.  Oh wait, not so fast.  Eventually, we experienced some issues.

First, the nylon fabric of Act III was so delicate, the pantyhose were not standing up to the production process.  They were being ripped to shreds.  The answer appeared to be making the panty area out of a slightly more durable nylon mesh fabric, which was supposed to blend with the rest of the product.  It’s pretty much invisible in Cinnamon, Nude and Suntan, but in Coffee and Pink, that mesh area stands out a little.  Black was something else altogether.  It just seems too grainy in places.

Act II changed too.  An unintended cross-stitch crept into the production line, causing a slight reinforcement where the panty and the legs join.  A couple of batches came out that way, but we didn’t know about the issue for a while because the new inventory was integrated into old inventory.  It wasn’t until a few customers asked what the deal was that I even learned about it.

A new door opens

For a while, I was depressed.  My dream pantyhose had flaws.  Under the circumstances, I felt I could no longer state that our pantyhose were “completely sheer-to-waist.”  Let me take a minute here and say that we must have the most loyal customers in the world.  Whenever someone alerted me to an issue in either product, of course, I immediately made adjustments, and our customers were amazingly understanding and supportive.  And loyal.

I vowed to fix the issues, but there was a bit of resistance within our plant in North Carolina surrounding how things were to be done.  Even after repeatedly emphasizing the changes in the production process I wanted, it was a hit-or-miss process in getting Act II and Act III fixed to my own satisfaction.

Ultimately, I saw this as an opportunity.  Since I couldn’t rely on the process for fixing Act II and Act III, I’d just ditch the two lines altogether and start over with a brand new product.   Really, it was the excuse I needed to create Act IV — my vision for the most beautiful, decidedly feminine and sexiest pantyhose available anywhere in the world.

After another missed opportunity for a special campaign honoring Valentine’s Day 2013, I sat down with my buddy, Deb R., Director of R&D, and her assistant, Salina D., and explained my dream of Act IV.

No way!

Both women were totally receptive, but both are also more experienced (and more realistic) than me, and they politely told me the last thing I wanted to hear:  “It can’t be done.”

Professional model Yesenia demonstrates the 100 percent nylon, completely sheer-to-waist  design of Act IV (here, in Nude).
Professional model Yesenia demonstrates the 100 percent nylon, completely sheer-to-waist design of Act IV (here, in Nude).

They said “We really just can’t (translation: ‘shouldn’t’) make 100 percent nylon pantyhose in a slightly loose knit and completely sheer-to-waist in an ultra delicate fabric.  But, if we added a little Lycra to the fabric … maybe.”

Were they kidding me?  They know how I feel about this.  But they said “Just a little spandex.  It’ll make them more durable.”

I might be a bit stubborn (who, me?), and I am the president after all, so we somehow agreed to try anyway.  We came close a few times, but I was never in love with the color, or the texture, or the knit, or the look, or the feel.  We kept trying.  And trying.

I can’t tell you how many times NC sent me samples (I’m in Florida).  When we finally all agreed on something that was close, I’d have a dozen or so pieces made and send them to a few loyal customers/guinea pigs.

I am so grateful to them (they know who they are) for their honest feedback.  I was wise enough to realize I was too close to the process.  I either liked everything or nothing.  I needed the feedback of other girls (some of them professional models).  Their input was so helpful because it gave me the conviction I needed to continue pushing R&D and Quality to go back to the drawing board.

Way!

There were times even I believed Act IV would never happen.  But thanks to the open-mindedness, dedication, hard work and positive attitudes of Deb and Salina, we finally did what we weren’t supposed to be able to do.  We made Act IV to the exacting standards of my longtime vision.

It ended up taking 13 months before we could launch Act IV.  Along the way, we missed Christmas 2013, Valentines Day 2014 and even a March 2014 Mrs. America beauty pageant.  But Act IV are here and all is right in the world (my world anyway).

Act IV are made in a 100 percent premier nylon fabric, and are completely sheer-to-waist.  There is no finger band:  Just a one-piece luxurious nylon yarn from waist to toe for complete evenness in fabric and shade.

We even improved the waistband, making it softer, flatter and more comfortable.

I fully realize that my vision for the perfect pantyhose may be worlds apart different than most people’s.  I know Act IV aren’t for everyone.

All I can say is Act IV are everything I always wanted them to be.  They are the product I dreamed of when I created ActSensuous 13 years ago, and I am proud to offer them to our devoted customers everywhere in the world.

Website

Whenever I need expertise in a support area, I reach out to our customers first.

A longtime customer, Bridget, a professional graphic designer who owns her own studio, has done many projects for ActSensuous.  She’s created some beautiful full-page ads for the program books that are handed out during the beauty pageants we sponsor.

Bridget also created the original artwork of various grizzly bears ripping up our pantyhose for my blog posts, “Why bears don’t wear pantyhose,” playing on my whole “bear” legs terminology.  Bridget also designed the Act III packaging.

Professional graphic design artist David Joseph's packaging cover for Act IV.
Professional graphic design artist David Joseph’s packaging cover for Act IV.

Another, relatively new customer, David, has contributed artwork to ActSensuous, too.  David, also a professional graphic artist who owns his own business, M28create, (dmjdesigner.com), designed the Act IV packaging.  It is the most beautiful and classy packaging we’ve ever used.

And, David gave me a great price — four pairs of Act IV for his wife, Sheri.

Then, he “volunteered” to design our new website.  I was so excited about launching Act IV, I wanted a brand new website to usher it in.

I’m so glad David started when he did because it ended up taking him three months to finish, timing it perfectly with the arrival of Act IV.

After seeing the beautiful packaging design David produced, my thinking was that David would improve the look of the original site.  I had no idea his thought was to create a full ecommerce website.  I couldn’t understand how it was taking him so long, but I knew he was doing this mostly as a favor, and figured he was simultaneously working on other projects for actual paying customers.

Professional model, Melissa, wearing Act IV Suntan.
Professional model, Melissa, wearing Act IV Suntan.

Have you seen the new website?  It is awesome.

I’m still learning how to use it.  Finally, it gives us some control, as in the case of if/when we temporarily run out of a size in a particular color.  Before, we had no way of alerting anyone in real time, meaning customers would order something we didn’t have, and then I’d have to tell them we were temporarily out, and make other arrangements or resolutions.

David is the total professional.  He is easy to talk with, very patient and completely devoted to his work, sometimes staying up until 3 a.m. working on several sites at a time, and making a bunch of little adjustments every time I think of something new I want for mine.  The guy is a saint.

My sincerest thanks to David for creating a website worthy of ushering in Act IV, and reflective of the commitment ActSensuous has to waging the good fight against the bear legs culture.

To our customers all over the world, I appreciate your positive and supportive comments about Act IV and our new website.

We’re all in this together, and together, we’ll bring pantyhose back to prominence.

35 thoughts on “Design of new product, website a statement about our commitment

  • Well Robin I guess I am to continue to keep this blog active. I am taking a break from my chores and home renovations and I just finished your March 2014 article which was very nice indeed.

    I was always curious how and why you started ActSensuous and your blog. I noticed I wrote a comment back in May about your model Kayla in your Act IV pantyhose. I guess I scanned through the article and saw the picture of her and know I commented on pure adrenaline alone. That there is one of the number one ways I love to see pantyhose on women. It just beautifully brings out their full femininity! That is as far as I will comment of my likes for this picture as this is a respectful blog. How wonderful your product is!

    I don’t know if you have stated much of your personal life in any more of your articles, and it is not for me to pry. I still have so many to read but was curious about when your liking for pantyhose started? No need for years here. Maybe what period in your life. I appreciate the passion that you went through to make the fantastic product of today. Can’t wait to see how they feel!

    Unfortunately I have not run into a single woman wearing any type of nylon here in Hawaii. It is like going from feast to famine! Japan had pantyhose on 2 out of 3 women and were worn in every way imaginable. The subways had everyone so packed in that it wasn’t hard at all to inadvertently feel the fabric on a leg, or advertantly for that matter.

    Every woman looked so good both professionally and casually. I really got spoiled. I had hoped my wife might catch the fever…but no much to my dismay.

    I shall continue to enjoy them through these blogs and great comments. Would love to read some female comments regarding love of pantyhose. After all, we men are under your power with them on.

    Thanks Robin!

    Tracy

    • Hi Tracy,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m glad you’re going back in time and reading every post I’ve written since 2009.

      Health Advisory: Warning — long-term reading of The ActSensuous Blog could cause serious health issues. Other followers of this blog who’ve attempted to read every post here have reported side effects, including trouble sleeping, frequent trips to the bathroom, difficulty concentrating, brain aneurisms, spontaneous combustion, complete renal failure, stroke and, in rare cases, death. If you die as a result of reading more than one ActSensuous blog post, stop reading them and notify your doctor immediately. Most people did not think that the side effects were serious enough to stop reading every post on The ActSensuous Blog.

      Fine print: The preceding warning has not been evaluated by anybody with half a brain, and does not necessarily reflect the views of Actsensuous.

      • All right!!! That makes it even more fascinating to read! Short circuits my pleasure part of the brain…which in itself controls ALL points! Can’t wait for the next masterpiece to read. After all, in the end it is worth while.

        Tracy

  • You know Robin, if there was ever an example of my philosophy about a woman’s body being a perfect artform, Kayla displays that without a doubt!! Just look at those curves accentuated by your Act IV pantyhose! That picture is definitely a 1000 words easy, but for me just one…WOW!!! You hit a home run with these hose!!

  • Robin ,

    Thank you for your supportive comments , you are a diamond nestling in a huge coal mine , also thanks to AKH for your input. If anything the USA & Canada are even worse than over here in the UK as there is a stronger man-hating Feminazi presence.

    Yet they complain about sloppy men , oh the irony ! Your Act IV hose would make fanatastic, sensuous , ” gift wrapping ” for any ( real ) ladies that REALLY want to land themselves a quality guy. ActSensuous deserves big time sucess , keep fighting the good fight , Robin !!

  • Great that you bravely launched your fantastic hose in the middle of the hard core Bear era. The disappearance of pantyhose ( or tights here in the UK ) seems to me to be a symptom of the destruction of both femininity& masculinity & the current rampant male bashing in the lamestream ” media ” ( haven’t watched TV for many years now ) The lamestream media views us males as disgusting ,expendable , worthless pieces of excreta & brainwashes women into hating men , hence the ” Why should I look attractive for guys ” attitude in todays women. Men have to bring a lot to the table just to get a date ,whilst even a mediocre woman can easily land a man. Would love to see your own views ,Robin , as you seem sympathetic towards us guys….rare in women nowadays , sadly !!!

    • Hi Kevin,

      Thank you for your latest comment. “Lamestream” media … I like that.

      You make a very interesting point. I hadn’t heard it put quite this way, nevertheless, I don’t disagree with anything you wrote. In many of my posts, I’ve made the point that today’s women just don’t seem to care what men like or want. Worse, most won’t make the tiniest and simplest (hate to call it effort or sacrifice) to wear the most beautiful, classiest and most feminine thing available to them to please (in most cases, thrill) their men.

      If I were a man, I’d be disgusted at how today’s women miss opportunities for (check that … intentionally turn away from) the virtues of good taste, glamour and sensuality. Rather, they seem to want to look, talk, act and carry themselves like men.

      I’ve written it many times: Men today should stop trying to please women who have no interest in pleasing them. If women love men in neckties, men should stop wearing them. If women want clean shaven men, men should grow beards.

      It’s time to turn the tables here. Men everywhere throughout the world are practically begging for women to wear pantyhose. But noooooooooooooooo. Most women today just don’t have the class or sense of femininity. That’s a shame.

      • I totally agree with both of you. And, I will add to what Kevin said. His point of the ‘lame stream media’ in the UK using those tactics are exactly what the ‘lame stream media’ here in the US do. I sympathize with Kevin and find my refuge here on this blog. Thank you Robin and keep up the good work.

  • Hello Robin! Hello Community! I would like to make it simple and plain, would there happen to be any women (not men) who are willing to sell or give away their worn hose?

  • Robin, I know and respect your wishes to keep the Actsensuous product website and this blog separate. However some of your recent or newer readers to the blog have, like me, expressed their love for their spouse, girlfriend or significant other in sheer pantyhose. So I thought they might want to hear about how wonderful your Act IV product is so loved by my wife. She was very happy I bought more pairs of your Actsensuous pantyhose for Mother’s Day. She could not wait to wear Act IV Nude.

    Even though it’s now warmer in the Upper Midwest, she was happy wearing. She loves them!. She has not loved wearing pantyhose this much since the 80’s. What’s more, she wore them today at church and later Sunday Brunch at a delightful upscale New Orleans style restaurant. What made my day, week and month was her wearing pantyhose with new footwear- open toe shoes!! I am in pantyhose heaven! She has the prettiest pedicure feet and toes, and they look even better in sheer toe nylons.

    She asked me if you needed someone to work for you. That’s how much she loves wearing again. It has surprised me how much she has gone from a casual wearer to more frequent patron. Maybe it’s her seeing me wear my compression medical hosiery daily {due to previous surgeries) and not complaining. I don’t know, but either way she is so happy to wear the softest pantyhose ever. She now knows more what pushes my buttons than she did 9 months ago. She has me “eating out of her hand” doing honey do errands without any complaints. If only more women knew how powerful they can be wearing this fabric. Also her wearing makes for great intimate time.

    I too tried on my Act IV pair and absolutely love them. Because I have to wear compression pantyhose most all the time now, it was a real treat wearing a lighter softer and yes I don’t mind saying feminine pair of pantyhose.

    Well many thanks again Robin for all you are doing. I think the trend is changing, albeit slowly. As stated, change women’s minds two legs at a time. Congratulations on the success of launching Act IV.

    • Thank you for your comment, Sheer Mike. I always enjoy hearing how much ActSensuous customers love our pantyhose.

      Also, thanks for your sensitivities, but to be clear, I make a concerted effort to keep the ActSensuous website separate from the ActSensuous Blog because I want readers to always feel comfortable here whether they are customers or not. But you (and anyone/everyone else) certainly are welcome to make comments that might link together the two sites.

      Thanks again for sharing your positive feedback, Sheer Mike, and please tell your wife I greatly appreciate her interest in working for us. At the moment, there’s no opportunity here, but I’ll keep her in mind should that change.

  • I communicated with you via email several months ago as you were making the transition between III and IV. I am looking forward to finally trying ActSensuous pantyhose for my wife who wears almost everyday. In the past, you were either out of stock or in transition. I’ll place an order soon and let you know what we think. I admire your tenacity and envy your career choice.

    • Hi Russell,

      Thank you for your comment. It’s great that you have a wife who wears almost every day. She is very unusual (but extremely special) like me, and I am sure you treasure her for that (among many other reasons). Also, thanks for your compliments.

  • I gave the hosiery I ordered as a gift to 2 of my friends, and they gave me some feedback for you.

    They love Act IV! 🙂 In fact, the best way to describe Act IV was that they are heavenly, apparently. They told me that Act IV felt so soft, luxurious, and comfortable and to congratulate you on creating the perfect pair of hosiery, which by the way is very, very sheer and feminine!

    • Thank you for placing that order, Peter, and thanks for the feedback from your friends. Glad they “get” what ActSensuous is all about.

      By the way, we’ve got at least four readers with the name Peter, but it doesn’t look like you’ve commented here before, so officially now, welcome to The ActSensuous Blog.

  • I am excited for the new product! I’ll never understand why women happily buy and wear spanx-type products (which are NOT even remotely comfortable and remind me of sausage casings), but complain that sheer nylons are hot and uncomfortable.

    Nylons are classy. I’m a woman who is still under thirty, and I can tell you that in a professional environment the choice of appropriate legwear makes a difference. Why do men get to have all the fun with their power suits and power ties? Women should try wearing quality nylons and see if it doesn’t boost their confidence in the workplace. They also might just find themselves pleasantly surprised at how nice their legs look and how comfortable their high heels are. And if my husband’s reaction is any indication, they certainly don’t make me look old-fashioned!

  • Hi Robin
    First of all I have to tell you Act IV are incredible! I love them; I love wearing them and my husband loves me in them. They are the nicest pantyhose I’ve ever worn, so nice that I’ve even slept in them. I do not ever want to run out so I want to get my next order going right away, and because I also want to be sure to have plenty on hand to give some to friends and family. They simply have to experience Act IV.
    Thank-you Robin for creating a pantyhose like this.

    • Hi, Michelle. Thank you for your comment, and welcome to The ActSensuous Blog.

      I’m glad you love Act IV so much. It sounds as if you truly “get” what ActSensuous is all about.

  • The new Act IV look absolutely stunning…… Plus i bet they feel very ActSensuous to wear…. Like no other pantyhose on the market

  • Robin
    Congratulations and well done! So happy for you and the success of your endeavor to make Actsensuous Act IV pantyhose the best. Your work and tenacity paid off. As a reader of your blog and a customer, I look forward to buying my wife this outstanding new product. Thank you again for bringing back the beauty, class and elegance of this exquisite garment, and leading a movement encouraging women to look and feel feminine again.

  • Dear Robin,

    I just wanted to congratulate you on such an amazing accomplishment and reaching your goal and the determination you had to make it succeed. Those are the most beautiful nylons in the world and we all benefit from your dream.

    Your article and story are nothing short of amazing!

    I speak for so many when I say I cannot thank you enough for all you’ve done to make this happen.

    Sincerely,

    One of Your and ActSensuous’ biggest fans!

    Tim

    • Wow, thank you, Tim. Sometimes, I wonder what the heck I’m doing here. Does any of this matter? Does anyone really care? Getting a comment like your’s is very gratifying and it really renews my conviction. Thanks so much for your kind words and support.

  • Robin, I sincerely congratulate you on a very professional and beautiful product. For all pantyhose lovers, both men and women, this is the ultimate goal of an adorable garment, one piece. This is the most important thing, to see the piece without joints, and in pantyhose this is extremely important, because without joints, the legs and feet looks completely natural.

    Again congratulations on a very elegant and beautiful new product. Ladies from over the world will feel completely natural and more beautiful with these Act IV.

    Greetings from Julio

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