As Brava celebrates our fifteenth birthday, co-founders Max and Lin took some time out to reflect on how far Brava has come and look forward to the future of changing D Cup and Up women's lives with a correctly fitting bra.
What did you do before Brava?
Lin: The most recent role was General Manager at a Professional Association for Marketers and ran the events program and the customer service team.
Max: Created the worlds first single parent homeshare agency, YMCA then funded the initiative and employed me to run it as a YMCA program and further develop their family inclusive programs and memberships. After 7 yrs, Brava was founded and I left to commit to Brava full time within that year.
How long did it take to open the first store after you made the decision to start Brava?
Within 12 months of the sprout of the idea, we mystery shopped, researched and spoke to many women about their bra fitting experiences, then opened the doors to our first store in Prahran, Victoria during 2006.
How did you develop the Brava way of fitting?
It was very instinctive. Initially we were taught by many lingerie brands to fit using a tape measure and classic sizing charts. Very quickly we knew that tape measures don’t work beyond a D cup, it was a light bulb moment and confirmed for us why so many women were in the wrong size when fitters were trained to see them as a number. We ditched those tape measures and took a more holistic approach, it became absolutely about how the customer felt and how the bra was suited to her body.
What is the best part of your job?
Cherishing the commitment and knowledge of our team, how they help women embrace their curves and feel comfortable in their skin. Witnessing the daily transformation when a woman is finally fitted into the right bra and she walks out more comfortable and confident than when she walked in.
How many bras do you own?
Max: I rotate and wear just 3 but I own maybe 20. Its probably time for another sort and donate the ones I don’t wear.
Lin: I own about 10 and wear five of them regularly, including two sports bras.
What is your go to bra that always makes you feel amazing?
Max: Prima Donna Madison for everyday comfort, Empreinte Melody for no seams and Freya Idol for a completely smooth look, the moulding gives me a nice lift too.
Lin: Prima Donna is comfortable, pretty and a lovely natural shape and my favourite sports bra is Ulla Sydney, it is just so comfortable and gives the ultimate in support.
What’s the most exciting product development in D Cup & Up bras?
Extended size ranges in both band and cup and more options and far more focus on the use of fabrics that not only support but are also beautiful. We especially love how brands are thinking about the environment with some bras being made with recycled fabrics and a few brands have removed the individual plastics from deliveries. We will keep pushing more brands to make these changes.
How do you stay fit?
Lin: We both work best with a real goal. I include physical activity when travelling and have cycled in South Vietnam, France, New Zealand and many of the Bicycle Victoria rides. In Italy I trekked the Dolomites, then across North Vietnam and I trekked Kakoda which required very focused training with every weekend at Glasgow track at Mt Dandenong. I do participate in charity runs, just the 5kms, no records broken but keeps me focused and they are actually fun and satisfying. Max trained …..and ran the Great Ocean Road marathon. Max also dedicated herself to training for CrossFit and deadlifted twice her weight! Setting a goal is the key.
Max: However, I haven’t moved my body much in the past year or so during COVID, we have had many business challenges and my routine has been impacted. I don’t see so much as a failure, more of a pause.
What did you do for your 15th birthday?
Lin: Probably had a fight with my twin sister, went for a bike ride and shared a birthday cake with our family. We even had to share birthday cards addressed “Dear twins"!
Max: I had a birthday party at our little flat in Melton, it got crashed by some older kids and ended up a mess. My 15th year was a year of exploration and challenging Mum. I think I was probably a typical 15 yr old pushing the boundaries.
What’s next for Brava?
Having got through more than 200 days of lockdown with five stores closed, we are still dealing with COVID and trying to keep our head above water. There are lots of ideas and areas we would like to develop but caution has to take over. To be honest, its hard not to be re-active rather than pro-active when it comes to business planning, its very tough to plan not knowing if our stores will be open from one month to the next. We will always have a presence to ensure our customers are fitted correctly, but online has been a focus lately as we work hard to support women through our virtual fitting services.
What's next? We will let you know as soon as we know :)
To all of our customers who have shopped with us in-store or online over the past fifteen years - thank you for your support! It makes us smile to think of the many women who have discovered a new sense of confidence after a bra fitting. If you'd like to share your Brava experience, comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org - we'd love to hear it!