So, you’re Canadian, eh? There are lots of great things about this great country of Canada. We have Timbits. We invented hockey. We get our milk in bags. We keep Canadian Tire money in our kitchen drawers. We know what a touque is and we own them and wear them sometimes too. – and that was just my short form joke list of great things about Canada.
What I want to talk about today though is how to get a fabulous Polish bra right here in Canada. Of course you can order direct from Poland, but be aware of a few things first: our customs limit, meaning the value of the product that you are entitled to receive before duty charges can be levied, is only $20.00. Obviously, you need to know your bra size in whichever Polish brand you are looking at (it isn’t the same as your non-Polish size and it is even unique to each company and sometimes even each style within each company). And finally, return postage charges to mail a non-fitting or unwanted item back to Poland aren’t cheap. It all seems pretty risky and daunting. Which is why I’m so happy to let you know that you can actually order your Polish Ewa Michalak, Comexim and Anna Pardal bras and panties right here in Canada, with free fit advice, hassle-free exchanges and no customs woes through Canadian based Bra Obsessed. I have had the pleasure of using the services of Bra Obsessed since my own Polish bra obsession began. In fact, I have even been so lucky as to have had Bra Obsessed’s lovely owner Jaimie over to my house on a few occasions and have had the privilege of in-person fitting services, marathon try-ons and sneak peeks at up and coming releases! In this blog piece, I am giving our readers an opportunity to get to know Bra Obsessed via the following interview with Jaimie.
What influenced you to get into the retail lingerie business? In short: Polish bras! I have always been obsessed with finding a great fit. I have also always been obsessed with pretty things that make you feel great. I have tried hundreds of bras for myself (literally, I really am Bra Obsessed!), but was never truly satisfied with them. When I discovered Anna Pardal, Comexim and Ewa Michalak there was no going back. The fit was exactly what was missing for me and they were so gorgeous. I wanted them all! I would no longer put up with my sad, droopy or boring bras when I could wear these beauties. I was so excited about them that I started telling all of my friends. Soon I was ordering bras for my friends, helping with sizing advice and walking them through the process. They were all so happy with the bras and I was amazed at how women of all sizes really loved them. It wasn’t just my “hard to fit size” (I know, I know, insert sad violin sound here) that worked great with these bras, they worked great for everyone! After a while, word was getting around, and I had people approaching me to help them order a bra. I loved every moment of this. I was, however, frustrated with how expensive it was to send bras back to Poland when they didn’t fit. It was also hard when one style could fit so different than another. I discovered I was very impatient and hated waiting for the bras to be made and shipped. So I decided to follow the advice of my friends and family to jump in and make these brands readily available for Canadians. My goal was to make the whole process quick and easy. Easy to order and get sizing advice. Easy to return or exchange. Also quick to ship because I would keep many styles in stock.
How did Bra Obsessed come to be? Along with the above answers, I credit the support of my husband and friends to push me into this. It was already my passion but I had to hear “you really need to do this for a living!” from several different people before I was confident enough to take the plunge. I was already spending my evenings analyzing fit requests and researching brands, so it seemed right (and exciting) to make my obsession my job. I had seen the need, and I filled it.
How long has Bra Obsessed been open? Bra Obsessed is brand new, having just opened about 8 months ago.
Do you have a storefront, or are you strictly online? I do have a store. At the moment it is very small, and attached to my home but eventually I plan to grow. In the meantime, since much of my job is mobile it works great.
How do you find the majority of your customers? Being brand new, most of my customers I get through word of mouth. I find that if I put in the extra effort, and let my customers know that I really care, they will tell their friends. I also get many new customers through my bra parties.
What is the best way for potential new customers to get in contact with you? Emailing me is always best (firstname.lastname@example.org). Much of my job (and my life) is on the go but I usually see my emails right away and try to respond as soon as I can.
What makes you stand out from other lingerie retailers? This is a tricky question. First of all, I’m new in the market so who am I to question retailers who have been in business for decades? I would never want to put any retailers down. Honestly though, I really love what I do. I have seen how people light up when they look in the mirror and like what they see. I want every customer to experience this boost. And I work hard to get the perfect fit so that customers can feel this great. I will not sell something to the customer just because they may be willing to buy it. I really do talk customers out of certain purchases. After all, how can they trust me if I let them buy something I know won’t work for them?
What is your favourite thing about your job? Hands down it’s helping people gain confidence. I mentioned this on my website, but time after time I see people put themselves down when they do not fit into their bras. But nothing is wrong with them! Everybody is beautiful in their own way! Most people do not fit into the mainstream sizes sold, and that certainly does not make them weird shaped or misfits. It means that something is wrong with the mainstream lingerie companies! Some of the feedback I have received has really touched me. I have customers tell me how instantly their back and neck problems disappeared when they wore the right size. The ones that touched my heart the most though, are the customers that say they never felt pretty or sexy. Wearing the proper size though, has helped them to love themselves, even to the point of being comfortable calling themselves pretty or sexy. Nothing beats helping people see their own beauty. It is so satisfying! Secondly: If you asked me years ago what my dream job would be, it would be to design lingerie. So to now be heard from Comexim and Anna Pardal in design choices and fit adjustments is FUN! Eventually I would like to design my own line of bras, panties and bikinis, but… baby steps. Third: (I know, I know you asked for one thing, but I seriously love so much about my job!) I now have a legitimate reason to buy all the bras. “I need to sample them all so I can know how they work. It is really for the customers Hun”. I know you fellow Bra Obsessed are a bit jealous of being able to use that reasoning on your husbands, sorry!
What is your favourite thing about the lingerie industry? A whole industry devoted to secret pretty things. How exciting is that! I think wearing a sexy or pretty bra and matching underwear when no one else knows leaves you feeling powerful. It’s your little secret that makes you own your day.
What is the most common question that your customers ask regarding bra fitting and if you are answering online, how do you help to answer the question? What is my Polish size? This is a tricky one because they all fit so differently, even within the same brands. The information I need to help people is the following: What is your snug and relaxed ribcage measurement? Do you prefer a very snug band or a bit more relaxed? What is your overbust measurement while standing up? What is your overbust measurement while leaning over at a 90 degree angle? What are your best fitting bras (size make and model)? What style and colors do you prefer? Bold or Neutral? Lined or unlined? Also any pictures of people wearing their best fitting bras helps a lot too. I completely understand if people are uncomfortable with this. If they do not want to send a picture that is absolutely fine, we will work around it. It really does help me to figure out their size though. The picture helps me to see if their current bras have any fit issues, what shape breasts they have, and what styles would be the most compatible for them.
What is the most common problem that you see regarding bra fitting and again, if you are responding online, how do you help to fix the fit problem? First and foremost I see too large of bands, meaning the customers are carrying the weight of their breasts on their shoulders. I also see people bubbling over the cups. People really need to swoop and scoop, jump around, lean over and shake while they are trying the bra on. Many people after doing this realize that they need to size up one or two cup sizes from what they would initially buy. These are tricky things to fix online as I need to trust the customers that they are truly testing the bras while they try them on. That is where it helps when people send pictures of the fit as well. A picture both from the front and from the side help me to assess.
Tell us about your bra parties and how they work. They are a blast! They are much different than an average sales party. They end up just being a fun girls night out. I start off explaining the basics of fit. Everyone at the party can come to me one at a time and have a private fitting in a separate room. Most of the time they can leave with their bra in hand, and the other times I will special order it for them. I offer the host 50% off one bra and 10% of the nights sales towards any other items. The host will invite 5 – 25 of her friends over who are interested in getting fitted. I travel anywhere within 1.5 hours from London, Ontario. Many people come to these parties having no prior education about proper bra fitting and leave feeling much better about themselves and fully supported in their new bras. This is what I really love about these parties, I get to help so many who would never have asked for bra fitting help in any other situation. Did I mention we usually also drink wine? Like I said, these parties are relaxed and above all fun! (Again, my job is to talk bras while sipping wine??? Pinch me, I must be dreaming!)
What is your favourite thing about Polish bras? The shape of course. I can’t even put on my old droopy east/west facing bras anymore. I am comfortable, I am really uplifted, I have great cleavage, and let’s not forget they are so pretty! No more boring beige domes for me! Here are a couple of before and after photos to compare the shape of a Polish bra (in this case it is a Comexim in both) vs. the shape of an average UK bra sold at specialty lingerie stores. The difference is astounding.
Do you have your own personal favourite Polish bra? If so, who makes it and what is it? Oh that’s so hard to choose. They all have their own benefits in different ways. Anna Pardal has the rich and beautiful fabrics. For Anna Pardal I love my Hibiscus, that fabric is just so beautiful! Comexim is the most comfortable by far. For Comexim I am still partial to my Pantera. It’s been around a while but I still love it. Ewa Michalak padded bras give the highest uplift, and the SM cuts have some very sexy options. For Ewa Michalak I would have to say that it would be a tie between the sexy SM Czarna Mgielka and the new and super fun S Przeplatanki.
What would you like our readers to know about you and your store? Most of all that I really care about finding my customers a great fit. My bras are shipped from Canada so if you are ordering from Canada you will not be charged any duty and if they are in stock you will get them fast. I usually ship out the same or the next business day. The more information my customers give me the more I can help them. I currently have a small run of sizes of the Anna Pardal Hibiscus Classic and the Florence Sophisticate Balconette being made for the store. So there will not be long waits for Anna Pardal bras either. If you want to special order a size I can easily add your size to my current order as well.
And readers, now for the exciting part. Bra Obsessed is generously offering a special discount exclusive to our readers! Enjoy 10% off your purchase using the code enhanced10, valid until August 21, 2015. Remember, if you don’t see what you want or your size on the web page, just shoot Jaimie an email at email@example.com and she will take care of you promptly. This could be your chance to get your hands on the beautiful and rarely seen Ewa Michalak SM Wanilla set as seen in my review here! Happy Shopping!