Product Reviews

Bra Reviews: The Process & An Evolution

Bra Reviews: The Process & An Evolution

In the last five years, I have reviewed over one hundred products on the blog, including bras, undies, dresses, tops, accessories, and even a salad spinner. With our anniversary a few months away, I have become increasingly introspective on the experiences of small business ownership, retail management, and blogging. When I first entertained the idea of writing product reviews on our blog, my intention was to describe the fit and shape of the products we stocked using professional but approachable language. Basically, I thought it would be an inexpensive marketing tool for a cash strapped business desperately trying to keep the doors open. During the summer and fall of 2011 when I began writing, “bra blogging” was taking off in a big way. Cora Harrington had already become a leading expert through her blog The Lingerie Addict, and Georgina Horne of Fuller Figure Fuller Bust, Cheryl of Invest in Your Chest, and Becky of Busts for Justice were not only posting fabulous bra reviews while modelling the products but also wrote insightful commentary on the fuller-bust market and bra fitting in general. Their courage inspired me to begin writing my own reviews and articles. As with any endeavor, I have received both criticism and praise for the blog, and while being somewhat prolific in writing reviews, I realized that I never discussed the process itself, how my motivations have changed over time, and what I hope our readers get out of reading them.

Product Review: Fit Fully Yours Kristina Soft Cup Bra

Product Review:  Fit Fully Yours Kristina Soft Cup Bra

In conjunction with the bralette trend sweeping the lingerie world, many retailers are fielding more and more requests for normal wireless bras. During our first two years of operation, the stock of wireless bras in the shop was abysmally, embarrassingly low because demand was non-existent when compared against traditional wired options. However, in the last year, we have seen tremendous growth in the need for wireless bras, leaving me scrambling for a strategy to expand successfully. Comparatively, wireless customers still occupy a lower percentage of sales, and even factoring in the demand we are presently unable to meet, I estimate that at most wireless requests would only occupy approximately 15% of cumulative bra sales. Despite the lowness, the aspect worth noting is that before last year, wireless accounted for less than 2% of bra sales, meaning the increase itself is phenomenal. However, the inherent challenge for me as a retailer is to manage our budget for stocking more wireless options, knowing that for every dollar I spend on this market, I am taking away from a wired style which may sell better or faster. Furthermore, like underwire bras, there are multiple sizes which need to be represented as well as different breast tissue types, colors, and budgets. As if the challenge did not seem insurmountable as it is (so much so that I have questioned whether I even want to tackle it all), there is the added issue of finding quality, affordable wireless bras that fit well and meet the demands of our customers.

Product Review: Samanta Hana A111 Review

Product Review: Samanta Hana A111 Review

Earlier this week, I reviewed the fabulous Samanta Mintaka A925 bra, and today, I am following through with my promise to review the other bra gifted to me by Sweet Nothings: The Hana A111. If you have not already done so, I recommend reading the Prelude to a Product Review post I wrote before continuing forward as I discuss Samanta’s sizing, pricing, and brand strategy in depth—all of which I will not rehash here. Also, please check out the original review written by Sweet Nothings on both the Mintaka and Hana as she has additional insights and photos you may enjoy.

Product Review: Samanta Mintaka A925

Product Review:  Samanta Mintaka A925

When launching a new product or brand in the store, I prefer if I can see samples to determine quality, fit, and materials, especially if those samples are in a size I can try myself. However, given my current size of UK 32H, my ability to try before buying is somewhat limited, but Polish manufacturer Samanta—in addition to molded cups, push-ups, and delightful vertical seam half-cups—makes a few bras designed to fit larger sizes. Since shipping from Poland can be pricey, I was thrilled when Sweet Nothings sent me two of the Samanta bras she reviewed on her blog as gifts. Since we’re size twinsies, it was a fabulous, risk-free way to determine if the designs and products met my exacting standards. As a result, today I will be reviewing the A925 model from the Mintaka collection with a second review of the A111 coming later this week. (Note: If you have not already done so, I highly recommend you read the Prelude to a Product Review post I wrote last week as it covers information on Samanta’s brand strategy, sizing, and pricing that I will not be covering in today’s review.)

Prelude to a Product Review: Samanta

Prelude to a Product Review:  Samanta

Slowly and steadily, I am chipping away at a (still growing) backlog of bra reviews, but I am extremely excited to finally reach the two Samanta lingerie reviews I planned. As long time readers know by now, I am a fan of Polish lingerie design and appreciate their unique approach to both bra fit and aesthetic. As a result, when Marzena of Samanta contacted me back in December about potentially carrying the brand in the store, I was excited but reserved. I had never tried Samanta before and was going to order a style or two direct from her as samples to test the fit and quality. Enter the amazing Sweet Nothings! A while back, she reviewed three of Samanta’s popular designs on her blog and was gracious enough to give me her A925 Mintaka and her A111 Hana Claret because she’s totally awesome like that. Since we’re in the same size range, I was excited to see how this brand compared to the other UK and Polish companies I tried in the past. Initially, this post began as a review of the A925, complete with video review and pictures, but my penchant for detailed explanations turned a “brief” discussion of the Samanta brand, their model numbers, and sizing system into a 1500+ word epic better suited for a post of its own. As a result, before delving into the product reviews, I am taking today to provide some background on Samanta for anyone not familiar with the brand.

Product Review: Freya Fancies Bralette

Product Review:  Freya Fancies Bralette

When bloggers, retailers, and industry professionals talk lingerie trends, the discussion includes multiple elements like color, print, embroidery, unique detailing, and even popular styles, and lately bralettes have been red hot from the fires of demand, leaving many manufacturers scurrying to release multiple versions in exciting colors and using a variety of fabrics ranging from silk to two-ply modal to soft lace. However, the bralette world has largely targeted the 32-38 AA-C cup crowd with the occasional style able to accommodate a D or DD. Most bralettes do not feature an underwire and either use X-Small to X-Large terminology or a band size only, e.g., 30, 32, 34, for sizing, and the designs themselves tend to rely on triangle shaped cups as well as deeper v-necklines for a lighter, comfortable appearance. For the fuller-bust and/or 38+ band customer, these limitations pose unique fit challenges, particularly in terms of coverage, support, and shape. Freya hopes to address the deficit in the market place by offering a new alternative: the Fancies Bralette!

Product Review: The Rixie Clip

Product Review:  The Rixie Clip

Back in December (or was it November?), Dixie of Rixie Clip contacted me about her amazing product, and I snagged some for the store in January (note to self: buy more Rixie Clips) with the intention of writing a review that same month. So, yeah. Welcome to Review 1 of the 20 or so in my backlog!

Oftentimes when I do product reviews on the blog, they are usually bras, underwear, or bust-friendly clothing, and I realize I have done my readers a disservice in largely ignoring the wonderful world of bra accessories. Bra accessories are typically designed to solve common bra problems in an easy, no fuss way and range from silicone nipple covers to bra extenders to low back converters. In some cases, these nifty products can even salvage an unwearable bra, giving you more time with a favorite piece.

Product Review: Freya Enchanted

Product Review:  Freya Enchanted

I know it’s been a while since I checked in here, and I have a post planned which talks more on my absence plus upcoming plans for the blog. However, in the meantime, I wanted to pop in with a quick product review of the Freya Enchanted! I mentioned in my Freya Hero review the potential for carrying Freya’s non-padded bras in the shop again, specifically for the 28-34E-G customers who enjoyed the lightweight fabrics and comfortable fit. Because of Freya’s fashion forward nature, I wanted to select a style with longevity and multiple core colors to make replenishment easier, and Enchanted seemed like a contender with its smoother profile and adorable details.

Product Review: Silk & Soul Lunares Collection

Product Review:  Silk & Soul Lunares Collection

When I reviewed the fabulous Fleur’t with Me Wild Child lounge collection several months ago, I alluded to how challenging it can be for boutique owners to find inexpensive sleepwear for their inventory mix. Most small businesses stake their reputations on providing customers with more unique and better quality items than can be found at big box or chain stores, and many boutique-oriented manufacturers focus on smaller, ethically-sourced collections which utilize indulgent fabrics, eye-catching details, and a superb fit. In short, quality shows through in all things, even pajamas, and quality costs more. However, not everyone can afford to splurge on higher priced lounge wear, and I am always watching the market for something fashionable and wallet-friendly. Enter newcomer Silk & Soul. The brand contacted me last year, and while the bra styles were not a good fit for the shop, the lounging collections were absolutely adorable.

Product Review: Panache Black Tango Eclipse Bra

Product Review:  Panache Black Tango Eclipse Bra

First, I must apologize for the delay in blogging here. I have so many fantastic ideas for the new year, but my business partner and I are in the midst of finishing up all of the necessary information for last year’s financials plus getting a jump start on taxes (basically stuff we both abhor with a passion). Sadly, blogging is one of the lower priority items on my agenda for the time being even though it’s one of my favorite aspects of the business. Ironically, despite intermittent Internet access, winter storm Jonas has provided me the perfect opportunity to catch up work on blogging because I was stuck at home while a barrage of freezing rain and pellet-sized hail assaulted the already fragile tree limbs, tempting them to give way and fall to the earth. Rather than brave the packed ice constituting our roads which left my brother’s newer and nicer car sliding about and unable to climb a hill, I curled up inside with a beautiful afghan knitted by my aunt as a present, my terrorists, and a glass of wine to write product reviews and edit a very special guest post for later this week. Here’s hoping all of my east coast readers weathered the storm safely.