The Unrepentant Individual

...just hanging around until Dec 21, 2012

March 17, 2007

How Did The Polacks Save Their Ailing Lace Industry?

By making thongs!

“Lace wasn’t selling in the quantities it once did, and the tradition was starting to slowly disappear,” says Malgorzata Stanaszek, co-owner of KONI-art, the company that stitches the lingerie. “Our friend then said, as a half-joke, ‘Why don’t you make thongs? They’re popular now.’”

Stanaszek, 32, recruited her mother and two sisters into the business, and they started stitching the thongs and selling them on the Internet in 2004. Now Stanaszek says she employs 65 women who work from home churning out lace panties, G-strings, thongs and bras for customers around the world. Orders come from across Europe and as far away as Japan, China, New Zealand and the United States; a Koniakow thong sells for about $20.

“Our company has a global reach,” Stanaszek says from her tiny office at the main crossroads in Koniakow’s sister village Istebna, a smattering of wooden houses lining the road that snakes along the mountain’s crest.

Yep. So much for the typical jokes about Poles. In a competitive environment, they adjust to changing desires and adapt to the times. As a descendent of Polish immigrants* to the US, fixing our reputation as dullards comes as a welcome change.

Of course, if they had it their way, the moralists in Koniakow would ensure the lace industry simply dies:

“It’s really not beautiful at all what they’re doing,” said Joanna Pielka, an elderly woman on her way to church in Istebna. “Do there have to be so many holes?”

Stanaszek says some older lace makers remain opposed. “There is a small group of people that is against the underwear, and they will remain that way,” she said.

Of course, they are fighting against this development even though it’s increasing their own sales of non-sexy lace:

Publicity about the thongs has benefited older lace makers too, says Tadeusz Ludzki, who owns a gift shop in Koniakow.

“Some older woman are happy too … because the traditional lace items are also selling better,” Ludzki says. “More tourists come and so more of the traditional items also sell.”

The undie-makers are undeterred, though. In a quote sure to make a libertarian’s heart all a’flutter:

“There’s no shame in doing this. Shame would be stealing,” she said. “This is work.”

Amen. Voluntary exchange of goods for money. Good for you.

(To support these brave women, you can find them at Koni-Art USA.)

* Warbiany is a Polish name, albeit heavily butchered by Ellis Island. I think nobody knows the exact original spelling, but discussions within my family have suggested it might be near to Vrbjanj. Either way, it has blessed me with a truly unique name. I know that I’m related to every Warbiany in the world. That’s a lot cooler than being named “Smith”!

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 10:59 am || Permalink || Comments (3) || Trackback URL || Categories: Economics, Libertarianism


  1. Have the older women thought about doing the same thing, selling online? I might be inclined to spend big bucks on a table cloth, but wouldn’t spend that much on underware.

    Comment by VRB — March 18, 2007 @ 11:31 am
  2. Let me see if I understand this: These women are making thongs, which already use a postage stamp-sized amount of material, and using LACE as the fabric?

    Lace–a material known for having many holes, thus making the already scandalous thong into an undergarment so sparse that it could cause mass pandemonium if exhibited in public?

    God bless the Poles…NA ZDROWIE!

    Comment by Sober John — March 19, 2007 @ 10:00 am
  3. Brad,

    Ahh, I’m gonna need you to go ahead and get rid of the word “sexy” from your header, mmmkay. That’s great. Thanks.

    Comment by Nick — March 19, 2007 @ 4:01 pm

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