How To Help the Full Bust Market Succeed: Why Sharing Images Isn't Enough
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Have you bought any full bust luxury lingerie? Would you? Which of these brands are you most interested in?