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How To Help the Full Bust Market Succeed: Why Sharing Images Isn't Enough

Available in 28B to 34HH

Bra via Blue Reign. Available in 28B to 34HH.

How many of you remember the days when full busted ladies only had ugly beige bras available to them? Not only do we now have brands that cater to a wide variety of tastes and sizes, the luxury market for full bust lingerie is exploding. This is the good news!

Sadly, as consumers we need to accept this reality as well: many full bust luxury brands, in the current lingerie climate, will fold within a year or two of opening. Consumers see this, but I also see this every day reality as a lingerie copywriter.

Even the nicest people with the best marketing, most amazing products and greatest customer service can't overcome the two biggest hurdles in the industry: making sales and picking up stockists.

Available in 32DD to 36G

Bra via Adina Reay. Available in 32DD to 36G.

Launching an independent luxury brand is hard enough, but launching one that caters to a less marketable size subset is even harder. I love and admire these brands for taking an expensive leap into what is still a developing market segment. While brands like Elomi are bestsellers in many boutiques, customers get nervous once they start to hit luxury price tags.

Lots of newer brands are launching with their own e-commerce sites to get over this hump, but that requires consumers to show up and consume. Newly launched brands also face an uphill struggle based on their status as newcomers. Buyers fall in love with their lingerie and then promise to check back in two or three years when they are established enough to deal with - leaving most brands to flounder to make it to the magic lingerie season when people will see them as successful rather than as a risk.

Available in 30D to 38G

Bra via Harlow & Fox. Available in 30D to 38G.

Even if you're not a regular luxury lingerie consumer, there are still plenty of reasons that we need to help these luxury brands survive. Independent brands are more willing to take stylistic risks (check out that leather-look set from Blue Reign!) as well as to try new shapes or bra builds that can benefit the industry as a whole.

Many are developing matching lingerie sets that match what the luxury industry offers other size segments - something that full bust customers have been asking about for years. In general, independent luxury brands are willing to be bold, innovative and listen to their customers carefully.

Available in 26E to 34FF

Bra via Bosom Galore. Available in 26E to 34FF.

The most obvious way to support a brand is to share their images online, but that only goes so far. I consistently hear from brands whose images are hits on platforms like Instagram or Pinterest, but don't see any sales from all of that traffic. Sharing photos is nice, but doesn't always translate into actual sales.

All of this is a shame, because actual sales are what these brands need to keep going. Full bust luxury brands put a ton of money into buying expensive laces and materials. Some companies have put time and money into developing new bra technology, like the custom underwires that Edwards & Millers have developed for their line. Sales not only show demand, but it helps brands recoup serious amounts of cash that are taken up by fabric, inventory and development costs.

Not yet released - size range available soon

Bra via Edwards & Millers. Not yet released - size range available soon.

So what can we do to help? Here are some easy ways to help your favorite full bust luxury brand survive - even if you can't fit into their line or afford them yet.

  • If there is a bra you love and can afford from one of these types of companies, make sure to get it as soon as it's available. Early sales are incredibly valuable and show demand. They can also be used to convince stockists to take a chance on a brand early on.
  • Consider saving up for one luxury bra that you love instead of buying several lower priced sets. While these bras are more expensive than the average full bust bra, the price differential isn't as great as it is in other market segments. Consider forgoing some of your regular bra purchases and putting your money into one truly wonderful luxury piece instead.
  • If you aren't buying because your size isn't available, let the company know. If there is lot of demand for one size or set of sizes, this can help a smaller lingerie company figure out how to best allocate their development budget.
  • Tell your favorite lingerie boutique about what you'd like to see in their store and take advantage of any special order systems. Lots of boutiques use special orders to gauge interest for the next season along with customer feedback. You can make a huge difference by being politely vocal about what you would spend money on if it were carried in your local store.
Available in 28DD to 34G

Bra via All Undone. Available in 28DD to 34G.

Have you bought any full bust luxury lingerie? Would you? Which of these brands are you most interested in?




Holly Jackson

The Full Figured Chest provides creative and elegant copywriting for the high end lingerie industry.

9 Comments on this post

  1. Wonderful article, Holly! I have been extremely impressed with the innovation and creativity present in the luxury market as a whole the past couple of years, but the addition of more full-bust options really tickles me. It’s definitely an area worth considering, particularly when so many other full-bust companies are either playing it safe, recycling the same old prints/colors, or way too quirky/neon/etc. for some customers. I would love to carry these in my shop, but it’s hard to get women into the idea of spending more for one set than buying multiples. We had this problem with Fantasie when we opened. People say the $75 price tag and balked, which is a shame because there are some exceptionally beautiful and high quality pieces out there. I hope this brands find their niche and continue producing gorgeous lingerie for this consumer!

  2. Alex says:

    I used to work at a lingerie boutique which carried the mid to high end market. I then got into the buying side of that boutique and then moved onto buying lingerie for a well known upmarket department store.
    I remember my days as a boutique salesgirl. I recall women saying they wanted to wear things out of their size range like La Perla and Carine Gilson and that the “grass is always greener on the other side.” Once I was on the buying side, we took chances and introduced some of the more expensive full bust lines and they didn’t do well at all despite marketing and sales initiatives on the selling floor. In the end, there was always an excuse for a higher end bra to be “too lacy” or “don’t like the charm” or “don’t like the bows” and “just don’t love it enough to pay that much.” Women of all sizes gravitated towards the lower to mid range priced lines like Natori and Wacoal despite more stylish options. On top of that, many asked for discounts and promotions.
    Our market research showed that the type of women who consistently purchases brands like La Perla, Nichole de Carle and Myla did not care for proper fit or size. They were also within a very specific demographic. We ended up sending back all of the higher end full bust lines and kept the most conventionally known luxury brands.

    There is a lot that plays into why something doesn’t sell. Selling is very important whether it is direct selling or through retailers. That’s where the designers and stores get the foundation to keep running.

    I remember during one market research meeting, a question was postulated on whether or not the full bust customer truly has spending power. Surely, there are women of all shapes and sizes with healthy finances to buy luxury consistently. However, the analytics show otherwise. Until women step up and start putting money into where they want to be represented, retailers will have to buy conservatively. Wishing and lusting after something doesn’t do anything to help the market. It actually makes it worsen.

  3. AEnn says:

    If the market is there for luxury large-cup bras, it shouldn’t be necessary to persuade people to buy them, in my opinion. With the number of companies starting large-cup luxury bras in recent years, I’ve been left wondering if market research really showed a big enough market segment to support them.

    Perhaps I’m not the typical large-cup customer, but I simply have no interest in luxury lingerie. I could probably afford a few pieces, and my size is usually included in the range, but I don’t find the aesthetics better than other full-bust brands, and I have no interest in luxury fabrics. I can’t expect greater wear from expensive bras, as my size usually changes before my bras wear out (and with care, my bras will typically last a few years anyway). It does matter to me that the people who sew the bras are compensated for their work, but since I buy mostly Polish brands I expect the workers are being paid a fair wage. So most of the arguments which might drive me to purchase higher-priced goods of other types simply don’t work when it comes to lingerie.

    I am glad that we have different patterns and styles these days, instead of overpriced beige, black and white. But I’m well-enough served by the current offering of mid-priced bras, and so I’ll continue supporting those companies.

  4. Ilia says:

    I like to support independent lingerie brands. Doing so offers a variety of styles and they are so inventive! The only issue I run into is the lack of reviews. Ideally, I want to read at least one review before purchasing so I can have an idea of quality and fit-I have precious little money so I have to spend wisely! In the end though, sometimes you have to make the leap for something you love.

  5. xm says:

    I would love to be able to purchase luxury full bust bras but it’s not in my budget (I own a condo, work two jobs, and go to school). Even if I were to save, it doesn’t make sense because I am in the process of losing weight, and it’s happening a lot faster than I thought, so I can’t really keep use bras longer than a month at a time before they’re too large. I will say I’ve let independent lingerie companies know they don’t offer my size but they usually send me the obligatory “Sorry to hear that…we make attempts…not in our immediate plans…” response, so I’ve kind of given up asking for larger sizes, since it doesn’t seem to do any good.

  6. Kelly says:

    I’m not in the lingerie market, but my brand is clothing for bigger busts, and I can totally relate to this. It’s very difficult to get exposure as an independent brand and to gain trust with customers when you’re just starting out. Finding stockists is nearly impossible when you have niche sizing that most people don’t even know exists. I think what we need is more awareness since a lot of women out there don’t even know that speciality brands exist for larger sizes. There are also a lot of women wearing the wrong size bra. I’ve been seeing a lot more articles in magazines lately about lingerie for bigger busts, so it seems the media are finally catching on.

    I definitely agree about buying one nice set of lingerie instead of a lot of cheaper ones that probably won’t last as long. High quality lingerie can make you feel amazing, even if you’re the only one who knows you’re wearing it!

  7. Beth Boyd says:

    I would recommend Love Claudette as well for full bust. They extend up to a “G”cup. Their colors and styles are gorgeous!! The fit is amazing! Love this brand!

  8. c l bigelow says:

    i agree , purchase early, get to know the company.
    you recommended sojouner last month, thank you, they are right near me but i would not have discovered them myself, thank you.
    bosom galore, british start up for full busted, smaller band.
    naja just for fun.
    supporting a small company is vital to diversity and uniqueness . 3 very different companies with different materials and approach, how interesting and wonderful.
    all 3 have a strong ethos and dedication to creating a quality product while giving back.
    well worth having less mass produced product in order to afford their creations
    kind regards
    c l bigelow

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