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The Origins of Your Bra: From Manufacturer to Your Door

How does this bra get to your wardrobe?

Last week, we took a look at the bra design process and how bras get made. Today, we’re going to look at what happens to get a bra from the factory right to your wardrobe! There’s a lot more than you might realize involved in getting that simple little piece of fabric and straps into your hands. Ready to learn everything you never thought to ask about your bra?

Bra Marketing
Marketing is a critical element – perhaps the most critical element – in determining the success of a bra. Even the most well-designed bra will flop if the designer can’t get into the hands of the women who will wear it – and that can’t happen without marketing. Marketing serves a two-pronged purpose: educating retailers about bras, and getting women excited about them. Designers and manufacturers typically pursue several different channels to achieve these purposes.

They give bra retailers the nitty-gritty details about bras; fabrics used in construction, band size, cup size, and occasionally a few notes on style or fit. Some designers that take a more active role in marketing their bras will send the bras to people who are in a position to review them or draw media attention to them, and then forward those articles or videos on to distributors and retailers in an attempt to push specific bra sales. Only a few designers actually give a “pitch” to retailers: most of the things you read in bra descriptions online come directly from the retailer.

The women who wear the bras usually have different points of contact with bra marketing. We might see the articles or videos where a media member has commented on a specific bra; that usually creates a spike of interest. Or we might see an ad in a magazine or online for a specific bra – which may come from the manufacturer, or maybe the retailer. But the whole purpose of marketing is to get US excited about buying a specific bra.

Bra Distribution
During the bra distribution process, a manufacturer may sell a large lot of bras to a distributor, who then sells them to a retailer. Or the manufacturer may sell directly to retailers. The idea is that a retailer buys a large chunk of bras from the manufacturer or distributor, and then the retailer is the one who sells them to us gals at the end of the process. Retailers are left with any stock they can’t sell, so retailers typically only buy bras that look like they’ll sell well, or in a limited range of sizes.

Bra Retailers
Bra retailers come in a variety of forms. National department stores are bra retailers. Local boutiques are also bra retailers. And even online sites are bra retailers. The retailers are the ones who buy the bras in lots from the distributor and sell them individually to us – the end users. Because retail is a calculated risk – retailers have to sell the stock they buy – many retailers buy conservatively. This is why you won’t find certain brands at certain bra retailers, or why you’ll only find limited cup sizes in your local department store – they only sell bras and sizes they believe they’ll sell through.

Online retailers have an advantage; their demographic isn’t limited to people who physically walk into the store. That’s one of the reasons we here at Big Girls’ Bras can offer you bras in such a wide range of band sizes and cup sizes – because we can get our bras to women around the country, instead of being limited to women who walk into a store.

Now you know how bras go from the factory to your door, and hopefully you have a better understanding of why online retailers can offer a wider selection. Later this week, we’ll take a look at the various fabrics that go into bra construction.

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