Auckland-based bra firm Rose & Thorne says women are sold out on its online bra accessories, which it launched after the first Covid lockdown when in-person adjustments weren’t possible.
Managing Director Sue Dunmore said many women were unaware that their bra was the wrong size for them.
“In about 90% of cases, I’ll take them down a bra size and go up several cup sizes because a woman knows the bra doesn’t fit her, but she thinks she’s taken too much. weight,” she said.
When the company started 11 years ago, its best-selling size was 14B. Now it’s double D.
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“Our largest size when we started was 18DD, but we now offer a 24G option, and are currently working to expand it to K, L and M sizes,” Dunmore said.
The lingerie exporter was seeing an increase in demand from women returning to work in the office who found their bras no longer fit properly or who had given up underwired bras to dress comfortably.
“When they go back to work, they find the more structured bras uncomfortable. We have seen an increase in demand for bra fitting services, with women believing they have gained weight during this time,” Dunmore said.
“In reality, however, they’ve been wearing an ill-fitting bra for years and have simply become acclimated to what are in many cases unnecessarily high levels of discomfort.”
The growing demand for soft bras, traditionally worn by older or very young women and girls, appears to be driven by the #MeToo movement where lingerie was more about comfort and less about aesthetics and sex, a she declared.
Women who suffered a bad experience with their first bra fitting as a young girl have sometimes been permanently put off seeking professional help, Dunmore said.
“Bra fitting is both scientific and artistic, and our technology can fit to around 75% accuracy – there is currently no substitute for the traditional in-person measurement model. However, we recognize that there is a part of the market that is looking for a self-service option.”
Rose & Thorne was fitting up to 40 women a day from its national and international clientele, but planned to expand, starting in Australia.
Investing in a virtual fitting model has resulted in almost every woman eventually buying a bra.
“Growth in online sales is also helping us grow our exports, which now account for around a third of our total sales,” she said.
Previously, the bra industry was dominated by key brands sold in department stores and other large retailers.
“Over time, the dominance of department stores faded as online shopping offered more variety and convenience – to the point that many actually closed their lingerie departments.
“In contrast, our business has grown from just wholesale in our early days to now where more than three-quarters of our revenue comes from our e-commerce channels, and only one-fifth of our business is still wholesale.”
Rose & Thorne was founded in 2011 by Stefan Preston, the former managing director of Bendon and Dunmore, the former design director of Bendon.