In business (and in life quite honestly) sometimes there are things you just won’t compromise on and you don’t always realise what they are until the moment you’re up against them. These are the moments that truly define your vision. I had a launch bra in mind. Actually that’s downplaying it. I had a launch bra in design. It was all sketched out and I had started sourcing components - it was the starting point. Until it wasn’t.
After meeting with Maxine at Intimate Apparel Samples for the first time, I had a bit of a reality check. Developing bras up to size DD has one cost, to develop bras beyond DD has another - so you essentially have to pay double for development if you want to develop one style in what the industry calls ‘core’ and ‘plus’ sizes (bleurgh to those names!).
For bras, each cup size is graded, along with the back size, so you literally have a pattern for a 34D, 36D, 38D and so on, you get the idea. You very quickly end up doing 70 odd sizes if you try and cater for everyone and that isn’t financially sustainable when most factories have minimum orders.
If you make the bras yourself, and you do NOT want me doing that, or you have your own in-house production facilities (the dream), you have far more control over your range of sizes, but for little startups like moi, the only viable option is to pick a starting point and go from there.
So I began choosing a starting point, choosing which bodies had to be excluded, which boobs had to wait. I hated it. I started writing a blog post justifying my decision, asking you to stick with me, promising I would expand the ranges as soon as I could. It felt so unbelievably wrong to be trying to empower women and to make the starting point shutting so many out.
That was my point of no compromise.
This was when I decided either I needed to change my design or win the lottery...and seeing as I don’t even play the lottery, the design it was. I knew I’d made the right call when the ball of anxiety I’d been carrying around dissipated, when the excitement flooded back in, when I could finally picture the bra and picture it being worn.
It was meant to happen too, because everything fell into place and I soon realised that I had been making things way too complicated. In trying to make life easier for us, I had been designing a bra with a million components and, in getting carried away, had been on a slippery slope to designing a bra that was fiddly AF and excluded a whole bunch of you magic mamas.
The bra that’s in development now? It will be graded (which means making the pattern different sizes) to fit as many mamas as possible, and it is ALL about simplicity, because tiny humans fussing is enough to be getting on with, without our bras doing it too.
Here’s to celebrating everyBODY and all our magic boobs!