SHOP TALK: Nir Zilberman of the ManTrends Agency

Nir Zilberman is a man on a mission. He’s out to upend the underwear industry, and he doesn’t care who knows it.

His brand agency, Mantrends, has one of the most unique portfolios in the industry. Representing ES Collection, STUD, Addicted, Freedom Reigns, James Tudor and several more, he represents the premium end of the market. The way he holds court in his booth at underwear trade shows is, by now, legendary and makes you think you’re watching a reality TV show. And, his agency’s showroom gives him the luxury of displaying his brands exactly the way that he wants them to be displayed.

After a successful career at Estée Lauder developing their high-end lifestyle salons, Zilberman decided that he wanted to turn his talents to men’s underwear. Enter Mantrends. “We, as an agency, decided to take underwear to the next level” said Zilberman. “What’s powerful about it is that everybody was laughing at us, but three years later everyone wants to carry our brands. Promoting the philosophy and strategy of the brands is how we win.”

Through a combination of savvy negotiating and inborn panache, Zilberman has creatively overhauled many of the brands in his stable, involving himself to a minute degree with the details of photo shoots, imaging, product design and retail. Most dramatically, he U-turned Freedom Reigns from a fetish accessories brand that sold at leather shows to a premium athletic, fashion-forward brands around.

Hewing to his philosophy of “work smart instead of working hard,” Zilberman hosts monthly parties and fashion shows at his showroom on Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles to attract and maintain his base. “My philosophy is: you need to follow what you’re good at. Take a brand and make it successful not by selling to everyone but by selling in very specific places. Its very important that people know every brand in the agency is not desperate.”

Nir is indeed very particular about selling his brand only in very specific places, and it clearly pays off.  “We started selling on Fire Island at the store Gostoso for the summer season. By July 1st, they had sold out. And now Lloyd’s in London cannot keep us stocked.”

This guy is clearly on a roll. And if he succeeds in his plan to take men’s underwear to a new level, we’ll all benefit. If he doesn’t reach perfection, well, at least he’ll still be Nir.


0 thoughts on “SHOP TALK: Nir Zilberman of the ManTrends Agency

  1. Curtis and Sael of Freedom Reigns says:

    We have been with Nir’s MANTRENDS Agency for a year. What has happened to our brand is truly astounding, with Nir’s focused direction and foresight we have not doubled, but tripled our business and in doing so our exposure, which in turn has elevated our brand to new heights, he is a true visionary. There are no words to describe how grateful my partner and I are to Nir, the lovely Erica, his whole team and each and every store that carries our Freedom Reigns underwear and active wear. For anyone who has the pleasure to meet Nir, they will realize that he has the biggest of BIG hearts…We are eternally grateful to have crossed paths with him and are proud to call him part of our family.

  2. Michael says:

    We love Nir and his energy, we are very proud to be one of the brands he look after. He has the vision and a very strong character, and that’s what make him a huge success!

  3. Sandra Vencel-Martinez says:

    I’m an elementary school teacher who “somehow” fell into the underwear business. I started a new online retail store last August, 2011. The first few months of my new venture was trying, as I began to learn about the industry. I found out the hard way, that not everyone was looking out for my “best interest.” Meeting an agent like Nir Zilberman has been the best experience that I have had. For the last 8 months Nir has been my business guide and mentor. We speak on the phone and Skype for 1-3 hours daily. As you may already know, Nir is always available “day or NIGHT.” He has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the industry coupled with an amazing positive energy that is infectious! The most important thing though, is that he doesn’t hesitate to share it with others. He is 100% committed to supporting everyone that he is involved with. He has a genuine desire to carry his brands and stores to the next level. He strives for success for everyone involved. The brands from the Mantrends agency are the best of the best! I jus have to say “thank you Nir!” Because of you, I will achieve my dream of opening a store Atlanta, GA this summer!

  4. Voon Lai says:

    The best thing that ever happened to STUD over the past year is meeting Nir and having him as our agent. Nir is simply the No.1 agent if you want to make it! We are so happy to be under his wing. Totally committed to his work and tirelessly passionate with his brands, he shares our vision and can see potential before we know it. A true visionary.

  5. Long Lost Tees says:

    Nir is without a doubt one of the most skillful, supportive professionals in the business of building apparel brands. He took on our small upstart line and has been WAY more than a “rep.” He gives generously of his experience and expertise and makes us better — which makes our products better.
    We love the guy…he’s our new favorite “dude.”

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