Sugarshape Reshapes the Full Bust Bra Market
Disclaimer: The lingerie in this post was provided by Sugarshape. All opinions are my own.
There's a new full bust brand on the horizon, but it's not like any other company. The description of Sugarshape as a community-run bra company caught my eye and made me eager to find out more about their products and entirely unique business model. I often hear full bust customers say they feel like companies aren't really listening to what they want, so I was curious to see if Sugarshape's way of doing business would really make the customer an integral part of the process.
SugarShape began with Laura and Sabrina, two sisters who were full busted and wanted better bra options. As they researched the German full busted bra market, they realized many other women were in the same boat. Together, they came up with the idea of what they call a "co-creation community" for lingerie --- that is, a lingerie company that is driven by direct consumer demand. After being awarded first prize by a group of investors Startup Weekend in Hamburg, they decided to try crowd funding their new project. The result was beyond what they could have imagined. In four hours, they had reached their goal of 100,000 euros and become the fastest funded project ever on Seedmatch.
At the same time, Laura and Sabrina wanted to come up with a new sizing system that took some of the psychological bias out of ordering bras. "Some women might even be aware that they should wear a bigger cup size but they just cannot or do not want to picture themselves being a “G” cup, for example." says Laura. SugarShape lingerie sets are ordered based on three measurements (full bust, under bust and hip) which gives women an "unemotional measure" and discourages cheating to mentally fit yourself into a certain size range. As a result, Laura says their return rate is well below the market average.
SugarShape currently produces bras that are voted on by consumers as part of their co-creation model. Their customers decide the colors, forms and features of each bra. These designs are then signed off on from a technical standpoint and then voted on for production. Even the names of the bras are suggested and voted on by customers. In addition, SugarShape offers bra charms that are interchangeable among their bras to add even more individuality to each lingerie set. Customers can vote on bra charms they want to see, and the proceeds from several types of charms benefit various charitable causes.
Many full bust customers complain the models lingerie companies use are unrealistic and don't look like them. From a company standpoint, it's difficult and expensive to shoot the same bra on five or six different customers. Sugarshape solves this by using customers as their models, which allows SugarShape to show each bra on as many as five different body types. They also offer a 360º view of each bra so the customer can see exactly what they are purchasing.
Customers seem to have fallen in love with the new approach that SugarShape is pioneering. Sales have been high since the launch and a new basic collection will be available starting in April. SugarShape will also be expanding their size range to offer bras up to a 100 cm (roughly 40 inch) under bust measurement.
I was really intrigued by the idea of SugarShape's sizing method, so eagerly accepted Laura's offer to send me a set to try out. I ordered an 85/110 bra, which involved rounding my band measurement up a few centimeters. Laura also asked me if I liked wider or narrower wires, which I took as a good sign. As someone who struggles with wide wires on some bras, I was glad to have been given the option. I was sent the BH Leyla along with the matching panty. It's a gorgeous purple moulded cup balconette, although it feels like an unexpectedly lovely cross between a balconette and an extra supportive plunge bra. It's hard to find seamless bras in HH+ larger cup sizes, so I was extra thrilled to get my BH Leyla. It gives me a lovely round shape, but the neckline is low enough to work with low-cut shirts and dresses as well. It also has lots of lift, which is great for a bra that is lower cut. I've now worn it on several occasions from fancy dinners to walking around national parks and hand washed it twice and it's held up fine. It's swiftly become part of my regular bra wardrobe and I'm eager to try more shapes and cuts of bras from this creative company. SugarShape bras are available through their website and they take international orders by email.
After having owned the bra for several weeks, I feel like the SugarShape sizing system truly does take some of the psychological issues out of buying a new bra. Until I sat down to write this article, I hadn't even thought about trying to figure out what "size" my bra really was! It turns out it's roughly a 34HH, which makes the BH Leyla the same size I wear in Panache Tango. From my limited perspective, this means SugarShape's sizing method really does work. I feel comfortable, my bra fits, and I didn't have to research and stress out to figure out how to calculate my true size into SugarShape's size and then worry whether I'd gotten it right and what it said about me. I suspect if you're one of those people who is new to cup sizes over a D cup and has some worries about them, SugarShape's system would be a real gift.
Have you tried a Sugarshape bra? Do you love or hate the idea of their sizing methods? What do you think about community driven lingerie companies?