A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post on how data around what we search for online and what we buy influences what brands decide to design or stock. If you’ve not read it yet, I suggest you head here to check it out because this post is a bit of a sequel to that one.
After reading the data post you might be feeling a little pessimistic about how much change you can affect as one individual, when so many brand decisions are made based on statistics. That’s why I wanted to follow up with this post that contains a few tips on how you can increase your chances of getting what you want, whether that’s more sizes, particular styles, model diversity or something else.
1. Be realistic
First and foremost, understand that not every brand is going to be able to cater to your every desire. Successful brands have gotten that way because they’ve found a formula that works for them (a style, a size range, a price point etc.), and the bigger the brand the more loathe they’ll be to branch out into something completely different that they’re not sure will sell.
It’s easier to persuade a brand to take baby steps outside of their comfort zone, so if you want more bras in a G cup, approach brands that are already selling DD-F. If you struggle to find 26 bands, research and contact brands already making 28s. Accept that a brand like Amoralle, whose size range is UK 8-12, is not going to consider making lingerie to fit a UK 20 any time soon.
2. Be vocal
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with telling brands what you want from them. In fact, brands want you to do this! It’s time-consuming and expensive surveying customers, so they’ll be grateful if you just give them that feedback without needing to be asked.
Don’t just post a rant about your size being unavailable on A Bra That Fits and hope that someone from the brands you like sees it – they probably won’t. Go directly to the brand, whether that’s on social media, by email or chatting to the owner of your local boutique.
If there’s something you don’t want from a brand, tell them that too. Spot a beige product being called nude/natural/skin/etc., or a brand claiming to be body-positive but hiring the same homogenised models as everyone else? Call them out on it – preferably publicly. Negative publicity costs brands sales, and nothing is more likely to make a brand change its ways than cold, hard cash!
3. Follow through
It’s all well and good petitioning your favourite brand to expand their size range or create a cheaper diffusion line, but if they give you what you want and you don’t buy it, don’t expect them to do it again.
A brand might be swayed into producing 40-band sizes if 100 customers ask for them, but if that only translates into 25 sales of this size and minimum order quantities (of components, factories…) mean they need to sell 50 to make it profitable, chances are they’ll stop doing 40-bands and won’t reintroduce them unless at least 200 customers ask next time.
4. Vote with your money
This follows on from point 3, but support the brands that are catering to you, even if it means spending slightly more. Debating between a pair of £10 stockings called ‘nude’ and a pair of £15 ones called ‘champagne’? Think about which brand you’d most like to see succeed.
If you’re opposed to sweatshop factories, don’t just petition chains like Victoria’s Secret and La Senza for change, make a pact with yourself to refuse to buy from them no matter how pretty the lingerie and how amazing the price.
New indie brands are popping up all the time but it’s a known fact that the majority of startups fail within one year. If you discover a new brand that you love – whether that’s beautiful lingerie or a diverse attitude to model selection – don’t wait too long to buy from them. Buying from them validates that they are doing something worth continuing and, importantly, gives them the funds to do just that.
5. Spread the word
It’s going to be very tough to effect much change as one lone shopper. It can be disheartening to do everything you can to support a brand, only to see them withdraw your size or your favourite comfy bra from production. But even if you spent your entire lingerie budget with this one brand, chances are it was a drop in the ocean for them.
So talk to your friends about this type of thing. Perhaps they’re one of the vast majority of people searching online for a ‘nude bra’ when they’re after a beige one, and they’ve just never considered that it’s not the right term. Or perhaps they know they’re a 30E but always buy a 32DD, because they’re used to shopping on the core-sized high street and don’t know about all the stores online where you can find a pretty 30E bra.
When you discover a lingerie brand or product that you love, shout about it. I know that lingerie is still a bit of a taboo topic for some people and it might not come as easily as proclaiming your love for the restaurant you ate at last night, but word-of-mouth recommendations are really one of the best things you can offer to a brand you’d like to support.
Those are my top 5 tips to see more of the lingerie you want to buy on the market. If you have any tips or ideas of your own, please do share them below!