Despite the fact that most women wear them every day, bras are pretty high up on the "annoying to shop for" list. There's the issue of fit--which is always tricky--and then there's the fact that, for the past ten years, only one company (Victoria's Secret, obviously) has dominated the market, leading to a lack of product variety.
In the U.S. not one company has come close to the affordable lingerie brand's success. But recently, a few entrepreneurs have started trying.
Several new online-only e-commerce startups have emerged over the past year in hopes of tackling the never-ending bra fit challenge (It's like even when we think our bra fits, someone's there to tell us it doesn't)--in addition to taking a bite out of Victoria's Secret's share of the $12 billion lingerie market.
"I decided to start a new brand of lingerie in the U.S. because Victoria's Secret is a huge incumbent player that has too much presence," Adore Me founder and CEO Morgan Hermand-Waiche told us. "And there are not enough alternatives for women in America to buy their intimates."
He's not the only tech entrepreneur hoping to become one of those alternatives. "Lingerie is a daily necessity yet a constant source of frustration for most women," explained Jiabei Chen, co-founder of new lingerie start-up Ampere (more on that later). "We were disappointed by both the product and the experience of shopping for lingerie. We could never find anything we loved in our sizes and hated being fitted by complete strangers in public spaces."
The "anguish" of bra shopping is something we can all relate to--but with businesses like Chen's and Hermand-Waiche's gaining momentum, it might soon be a thing of the past.
Click through for six companies hoping to become your new go-to lingerie resource.
ThirdLove, the first brand under a technology company called Mecommerce, is focused on helping you determine your correct bra size using nothing more than your cell phone. You literally take two photos of your boobs (in a tank top) using the ThirdLove app (it gives you instructions), which then accurately measures your bra size using technology developed by a NASA scientist. The app then curates a bra boutique containing only bras that will fit you, all of which are designed in-house. Sounds less awkward than going to the mall and having a strange lady wrap a tape measure around your boobs, right? The app is currently still in beta.
Ampere offers good quality luxury lingerie (still, everything is under $150) designed in-house in a whopping 28 bra sizes. Every bra comes with a free matching panty. You select your size, and it sends you that size along with a couple of sister sizes, and shipping back returns is free. So far there are only a few styles available, but they're all real pretty.