Bra entrepreneurs are finally women.
While that may seem obvious, the lingerie and underwear industry, a reportedly $13 billion market, has long been dominated by men, three entrepreneurs tell me. They’re all looking to transform what lingerie women buy, how they buy it, and for what purpose.
Portland-based Evelyn and Bobbie is the most recent addition to the mix. Founder and CEO Bree McKeen is not the average apparel entrepreneur: she worked in human-centered design and digital products before venturing down apparel. “I was in Silicon Valley, in the world of innovation, and I’m walking to work in this underwire and I’m just thinking, ‘What the heck is going on?’” she says, recalling her ‘aha’ moment. “It was so uncomfortable.”
Named after two independent-minded women from McKeen’s family, the company will launch its first line up of products this fall (but is taking pre-order in the spring). While product images have yet to be released, underwire will certainly not be part of the collection, McKeen reassures.
Another company is also foregoing underwire as a response to customers, seeking comfort, not cleavage.
Lively founder and a former Victoria’s Secret employee, Michelle Cordeiro Grant, stepped away from the retail giant in 2012 to redefine how bras were sold. While Victoria’s Secret had been championing sexier, sultrier images of women, Grant realized that vision no longer resonated with her:
“I admired that Victoria’s Secret was able to capture so much of the market share with their message, but as a consumer, it just didn’t resonate. I had gotten married, had children. The thought of my daughter fantasizing about contouring yourself into something that’s not achievable just didn’t sit well with me,” she says in an interview from her New York offices.
The ultimate problem that these women were getting at? “This was an industry where men made the decisions, but women wore the product. It was just a big disconnect,” Grant explains.
Read the full story at Forbes.com.