How Elyse created patented activewear for curvy women

Being Interviewed

Founders

1

Started

January, 2017

Country

San Francisco

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Hi, Tell us your name, what you do, and about your business. Please do mention the monthly revenue for our readers as well.  

 Hi, my name is Elyse Kaye and I am the founder and CEO of Bloom Bras. Bloom Bras is a line of patented activewear for the well-endowed woman, going up to a size 56L, we are now the most body inclusive sports bra line on the market working to provide solutions for women of all shapes, sizes, and stages of life to feel good while moving.

When it comes to finances we sell out of our larger sizes just as fast as our smaller sizes which are pretty incredible.

What’s your own background. Were you always proficient in this business, or did it just strike your mind one fine day?

My background is in product development and innovation, but separately from these fields, I am a dancer, runner, yogi, and avid traveler who was overly blessed in the chest!

I tried every sports bra out there and couldn’t find one that works for me. After doing countless hours of research there were no options for my size, which is when the idea of Bloom Bras came to mind.

I know so many women were facing the same problem so I decided to take matters into my own hands.

Elyse Kaye https://www.womenhustlers.com https://www.bloombras.com/

What went into designing the initial product? Can you take us through the actual process?

I wrote the business plan for Bloom Bras 15 years ago and I continue to find inspiration everywhere I go. For me, it was an engineering problem, not a design flaw.

So I brought in people from the shipping and design industry, along with NASA’s innovation team, and a celebrity corset designer to help me solve this problem.

In addition I was passionate about creating a sustainable manufacturing solution so I began looking around for ideas, for instance, I was in a yoga class using silk and saw a 300lb man hanging from the ceiling in a cocoon and to myself I thought “if that material can hold up this man why can’t it hold up my chest?”

Another source of inspiration was when I see people moving furniture I wanted to create a pulley system similar to theirs. The female body changes naturally throughout the month and my goal was to create something adjustable, comfortable, breathable and did not have harmful underwire.

You can’t use the same materials for carrying 3 lbs weight as you do a 10 lb weight, this is where Bloom Bras comes into play.

Elyse Kaye https://www.womenhustlers.com https://www.bloombras.com/

Talk us through the process of the launch of your business

Once I had a prototype I posted on Facebook to an all-female group and asked if anyone in the greater San Francisco area would be willing to come to my house and try on a prototype.

Within a few hours, I had over 160 women show up at my doorstep. From there we made the adjustments to the Bloom Bra because when u get into the larger sizes you can’t just create a pattern, the zipper needs to be longer and the cup needs to be a different size, etc. I wanted to focus on all body types.

If you put women who are all a 36DD together, they will all look and hold differently when it comes to their chest, this was the idea behind why Bloom Bras is great for every woman disregarding size and shape.

We also used the Kickstarter platform which allowed us to launch and surpassed our goal within 82 hours. Bloom Bras had 240,000 ppl came through facebook and onto Kickstarter which was a huge success tool for us.

How is your repeat customer rate like? Can you take us through how you attract and retain customers?

We have been blessed with an incredible community and most of our growth has been word of mouth and repeat business. We held a popup in Oakland and we had a line down the street.

Only one of these people who came into the store didn’t buy a bra. People will send in their aunt’s best friend’s sister once they experienced the Bloom Bra.

We recently tried Facebook advertising which is very expensive with limited success and we have also launched a partnership with Macy’s and Universal Standard in Seattle.

Elyse Kaye https://www.womenhustlers.com https://www.bloombras.com/

What is the current situation? How do you see yourself in the next 12 months?

We have been seeing continuous growth month over month and many repeat purchases. This month we will expand into a white version of the product and we are adding a heating and cooling padded technology,  launching in the fall.

I am so excited to be apart of this community talking about size inclusion, body positivity, and changing the industry with other amazing women.

Elyse Kaye https://www.womenhustlers.com https://www.bloombras.com/

As a woman founder, do you see this as only financially uplifting? Or otherwise too? If yes, then how?

 We are less focussed right now on finances and more focused on building our community because most of our ladies are not used to walking into a store and buying a product.

With Bloom Bras on the market, we are able to provide that for these women, which is a great feeling. I love seeing our product benefit women in different ways all over the country.

Our patented technology is very unique and it does need some explanation in terms of sizing.

What tools or services did you use?

 We are a home-grown brand and originally we were built on a WordPress site and now we have evolved into a Shopify site. We have tried a variety of email platform services and have kept PR inside.

Along with this, I mentioned we used Kickstarter to fundraise for Bloom Bras, which was a very useful tool. Word of mouth is one of the marketing techniques we rely on most due to the great reviews we have from our current customers.

What are your key challenges today? How are you planning to tackle those?

Our key challenges right now are spreading the word and getting consumers to understand our sizing. We are currently self-funded, but because of some of the opportunities and growth we are seeing we are at a crossroads at how to fundraise.

We are currently focussing on friends and family realm and improving our lead times with our factories. Through partnerships such as the ones with Macy’s and Universal Standard along with several additional we can’t speak of yet, we are expanding our channels of distribution.

Elyse Kaye https://www.womenhustlers.com https://www.bloombras.com/

Which are some resources, books, articles or podcasts that have been useful to you, and would share with your readers

My favorite and most useful book I have read thus far is You are a Badass by Jen Sincero. I have been very active in several female founder groups locally and try to surround myself with a network of ppl who are much smarter than I.

I also love to listen to every episode of How I Built This as inspiration.

Lastly, the other book I have found useful in my career is A Lean Startup and another book by Jenny Kanssan called Raise Capital on Your Own Terms.

Many times, women feel that businesses are for only for men. What’s your take?

I think it’s completely the opposite, studies have shown that women have a higher success rate. In my journey, I have found more and more women who are pushing boundaries and changing industries.

We are built as problem solvers and multi-taskers and I think there is a strong passion for female-run companies, unfortunately, fundraising is the area that is still very dated and chauvinistic but hopefully, we will see that change soon.

My advice for any woman who is looking to make the jump into entrepreneurship makes it be the thing that keeps you up at night because it will be.

Be prepared to give up everything for this idea whether it be financial, extra time, or emotional resources and surround yourself with an amazing network of people.

Elyse Kaye https://www.womenhustlers.com https://www.bloombras.com/

Looking to kick start your own venture?

Hi! This is Misha.

I interview women founders in building profitable businesses

My idea is for other women to get inspired by these actionable tell-all stories and start their own profitable enterprises.

I am hugely inspired by inspirational interview series starters like IndieHackersStarterStory by Pat Walls, FailorySpaceBandits and have put significant efforts in reaching out to women founders in order to get started.

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How Elyse created patented activewear for curvy women

Hi, Tell us your name, what you do, and about your business. Please do mention the monthly revenue for our readers as well.    Hi, my name i

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