Hello all! Or should I say, G’day 🙂 As you may already know, I’m the resident Australian of the blog. It’s arguable that breast augmentation isn’t quite as widely spoken about here as it is in the States, or at least it’s not in the part that I live in. Bras with small bands and big cups are even further down the list. And Polish bras – well, they’re non-existent. Pre-op I wore a 10 band (equivalent to a US 32 band) and thought the bra alphabet stopped at D. I think a lot of other women can relate to this, and I’m still slightly gobsmacked that I am now wearing a 6HH (28HH). And loving it too I might add 😉
But having a new found knowledge of bra sizing and a growing love of Polish bras does present a slight challenge when you live on the opposite side of the globe to where they’re actually made. Of course I can order direct and I have done so a couple of times now. But it’s so much nicer to have a local contact in the lingerie industry to deal with. Especially one that offers top notch customer service and free returns. And one that is genuinely passionate about helping all women find the bra of their dreams.
Cue Brava Lingerie.
I remember my first online search for “Polish bras in Australia”. I fully expected disappointment. But to my surprise and delight, there was Brava. Stocking a huge range of high-quality lingerie and swimwear brands from all over the world, they are true specialists when it comes to bigger busts. They are located on the other side of the country to me, but that’s still a lot closer than the other side of the planet. And despite the distance, I have been wowed by their prompt responses, helpful advice, cute wrapping, fun attitude and generally amazing service. Becky at Brava has been my lingerie liaison, and is a total joy to deal with. She is so friendly and knowledgeable and supportive of my Polish enthusiasm, and I think a fantastic representation of what Brava is all about. So I decided it would be a great idea to find out some more info from her to help spread the word, particularly to ladies in Australia looking for D+ lingerie options, and even more so to those wanting to get their hands on Ewa Michalak without having to order direct.
What influenced you to get into the retail lingerie business?
For me personally, I remember just coming out of finishing high school and I was looking for a job, I’d previously studied fashion and had a keen interest in corsetry and the like. A job came up at my local Bras n Things store (a chain store like Victoria’s Secret, etc) and I applied. I think my application was a bit overwhelming with my long-winded story about how great the perfect pair of knickers makes you feel but it scored me that job!
How did Brava come to be?
Our wonderful owner, Lin, and her daughter Maxine are both fuller-busted women who had seriously struggled in the past to find bras that fit them (as well as being attractive!). Following much research and mystery shopping they were convinced Australian women could be offered a much better experience and be offered the gorgeous and supportive ranges that were at that time not available here. We have now got over 40 high-quality larger cup lingerie and swimwear brands that supply to us from all over the world!
How long has Brava been open?
Brava has been open since 2006 – operating from our Prahran store since then! We’ve since opened our Highpoint and Melbourne CBD stores as well.
How do you find the majority of your customers?
Honestly, I think most of our customer base has been built on word-of-mouth recommendations from existing customers to family members, friends, colleagues and customers of their own. We love hearing new customers tell us how they have ended up visiting us – some of the stories can be quite surprising. We also have a lot of other lingerie companies recommend customers to us when their size range is not sufficient. I really love these ones because it shows how much lingerie has gone past simply being ‘another sale’ to some companies and now we’re all trying to help women find the correct support for their busts.
What is the best way for potential new customers to find or contact you?
By visiting our website http://www.bravawoman.com.au. On our website you can see our wide variety of options for fuller busted women from 6 (28) backs to 22 (44) backs, up to a K cup in lingerie, swimwear, nursing, sports, bridal and a range of accessories as well. If you’re from Melbourne, you’re welcome to come into any of our three stores which can also be found on our website. We’re always available via email to contact, as well as over the phone during business hours.
What makes you stand out from other lingerie retailers?
Aside from our huge range of options for fuller bust women, our team of bra fitters definitely sets us apart from other retailers. Almost every bra fitter at Brava is in our target size range and has worked at other stores previously, with a wealth of bra fitting knowledge to back us up. We don’t aim for sales targets here, nor are we commission based. We simply enjoy our jobs and know how much of a difference the correct fitted bra can make on a woman’s appearance, confidence, health and life. We are all compassionate, kind and understanding women who are simply here to help our customers.
What is your favourite thing about your job?
My customers! I am lucky enough to have a wall of notes, cards and reviews next to my desk that happy customers have sent back after I’ve assisted them with finding the perfect item for their needs.
What is your favourite thing about the lingerie industry?
The way that all the women I’ve met through Instagram, blogs, lingerie groups and work, all band together to support one another in various areas of life. I’ve never been that great at making friends with other women, especially throughout high school which had left me rather anxious in the work force. After having something I’m so passionate about be a huge part of other people’s lives as well, I’ve been able to use this as a tool to connect with other women that helps build long lasting friendships! We all share our love for lingerie from all walks of life, different age groups, consumers and manufacturers alike. It’s truly wonderful.
What is the most common question that your customers ask regarding bra fitting?
A lot of women simply do not understand bra sizing – yes, women! Bra fitting isn’t as easy as it may seem and takes a lot of product knowledge to do well, but the basis of it all is the sizing. Different countries and brands will use a different sizing scale and it can be quite confusing.
What is the most common problem that you see regarding bra fitting?
Having worked in a number of different lingerie stores, I know that there can be a lot of pressure to make sales rather than help customers. This results in women being pressured into buying a product that may not necessarily fit them well because it is all that is available. We get a lot of customers at Brava who have been fitted at other stores as a much larger back size in order to fit their breast tissue into a cup size that is readily available. The back size makes an enormous difference to the fit as a firm, supportive back band will anchor your breasts and take a large amount of weight off your shoulders, offering support and lift with better long-term effects. Having smaller back, larger cup size bras available is a total blessing and many women who’ve finally been fitted correctly after years of wearing whatever was available can certainly back me up on that one (myself being a 6/28 band).
What is your favourite thing about Polish bras?
US and UK brands tend to fit to make your bust look smaller or be fuller coverage. A lot of women link their support level to the amount of fabric covering their chest – but this is incorrect. The coverage is entirely personal preference. Polish brands in particular seem to embrace the larger bust and feel no need to minimize or smooth out anything, they lift and support just like the bras that are offered to smaller busted women. They’re still sexy and fun right up into K cups and above!
Do you have your own personal favourite Polish bra? If so, which one and why?
Ewa Michalak is a favourite amongst most of the fitters here at Brava, myself included. I’m the smallest cup size at our Prahran store currently so I tend to go for Ewa in the 3D and CHP shapes. My two current favourites are the Wrzos PL (a soft lavender coloured bra) and the Nostalgia 3D (a beautiful floral print bra). Both fit so well, giving me a lot of lift without cutting in at the top of the cups (something I struggle with as I am quite firm) and both are incredibly soft and comfortable!
Do you have any up and coming hot tips or advice for our readers?
My only advice would be to make sure you get fitted at least once a year. If you feel there is something not quite right about your bra, maybe try somewhere new – I never knew how amazing a bra could fit until I went to Brava. Going down two sizes in the back made a huge difference to my appearance and confidence and I would never have known that bras even came in a 6/28 band until I decided to try somewhere new.
What would you like our readers to know about you and your store?
As a fuller busted woman myself, I’m always keen to help other women find their correct size (same goes for all the wonderful ladies at Brava). We are always here to help, even international customers, via email, our online chat service or over the phone.
Becky in one of her above mentioned faves, an Ewa Michalak classic, the S Nostalgia in an AU 6F
(EU 60F/US 28F)
This is proof that finding a good bra doesn’t have to be a chore or a mission. Not when you have passionate people like Becky and dedicated businesses like Brava out there. They make bra shopping a fun and supportive experience, just like wearing your bra should be. Finding the perfect fit may in fact even be life changing. And if you need even more motivation than that, subscribe to the Brava newsletter now and you will get a $10AUD voucher ready for spending! No matter where you are in the world, the Brava team are ready and waiting to help you.
Go on, check them out 🙂
A heartfelt thank you from me to Becky and the whole Brava team for all their help on my bra journey so far and for sharing this story ❤