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Sonntag, 11. November 2012

E: Interview with Jenny, the owner of lingerie store DD

As some of my last posts were concerned with my experiences with fitting at a brick-and-mortar store and what I expect from a good fitter, I thought it might be a good idea to change perspectives. That is why I asked Jenny, the owner of lingerie boutique DD in Berlin, to answer some questions and share her experiences. Jenny founded the shop in late 2011 and since April 2012 you can find her store in downtown Berlin. There have been several rave reviews on Busenfreundinnen and I was also quite impressed with the kind and knowledgeable service, the relaxed atmosphere and of course the number of bras in my size. The store offers a range of bras, including maternity and sports bras, as well as a limited selection of swim wear in 30D-38J, some bras are also available in K and band sizes 28, 40 and 42. Prices range between 39 and 59 €.

MiaRose: First of all, thank you for taking the time to do this interview. I can imagine that a young entrepreneur like you is quite busy. Let’s start at the beginning: When and how did you discover your passion for pretty lingerie?

Jenny: First, let me thank you for your interest in my business and I am glad to be able to share my thoughts on my favorite topic on your blog. My passion for pretty underwear developed in two phases. At first, I was just happy to have found a store in Great Britain that not only carried bras in my size 30HH but also swimwear and sports bras. I’d never seen really pretty lingerie for young women in my size in Germany which is why I might have pushed the wish to see myself in beautiful lingerie to the back of my mind. The only thing that mattered to me was the fit. Having found the right fit my self-confidence and my interest in pretty lingerie grew. Suddenly, I didn’t only expect a bra to come in my size, but to fit well and be pretty and sexy. That was when I was 26.

M: It’s surely a long way from being a lingerie fan to becoming a boutique owner. What inspired you to open your store? What kind of planning went into it and which hurdles did you have to overcome before your store became a reality?

J: Looking back, I am relieved to say that it was a rather short trip to becoming a boutique owner. My store, its service and product range isn’t just an answer to the demands of the market for underwear in the D+ range but also a dream come true for me. Since discovering that there is a whole world of beautiful lingerie in D+ sizes out there in 2006, I had whished for a store in Berlin that carries these sizes. As my professional life took an unexpected turn in 2011, I had to reflect on my wishes and goals. I figured out quite quickly that my hobby of fitting women with bigger boobs is my true calling. It was only three months until I opened my first store and seven months later we moved to downtown Berlin and have been very successful ever since.
The most important question that I asked myself before opening the store concerned the product range. It was clear to me from the beginning that I’d offer Eveden’s and Panache’s various lines, as they not only carry fashionable bras and bra sets for young women but that also work in bigger cup sizes. My biggest challenge, however, was to choose which bra styles to carry that would offer customers with diverse body types a broad selection - while I hadn’t even met any of my future customers. Other questions emerged later on when I was dealing with customers, manufactures and service providers.

M: One of our blog’s most prominent topics is bra fitting. Could you briefly explain the fitting process at your store? And do you have tips for customers who come to your store for the first time?

J: Bra fittings differ. We  place a lot of emphasis on education about the right fit. We like to teach our customers how they have to alter and adjust their bra when the bra changes due to frequent wear and washing, something that happens sooner or later to any bra. Before starting our actual fitting we analyze the fit of the customer’s own bra. Having the customer understand the pros and cons of the bra she is wearing is the best preparation for the next steps of our fitting. We only use the measure tape to determine the band size – our bra-fitting experience helps us to pick the right cup sizes without measuring. To determine the exact size we use a bra with cups that aren’t made from stretchy fabric. The next step is to figure out, what kind of expectations and wishes our customer has regarding the new bra. And then, the exciting part for both sides starts – trying on bras.
As we are perfectionists when it comes to the right fit, we offer alterations on the spot. To help our customers enjoy the pleasures of a perfectly fitted bra as long as possible, we also offer to alter older bras that fit in the cup even if they were purchased elsewhere later on, for example by shortening the straps or the band.
In contrast to other stores we offer our bra fitting free of charge. The fitting itself where we educate about one’s own bra and figuring out the right size and fit takes about 10 to 15 minutes. However, as we offer a wide variety of bras the customer should allow a little more time for her visit to our store overall.

M: As your shop is a brick-and-mortar store you naturally offer a smaller selection of products (currently 33 models are in stock) as big online retailers such as Figleaves. How do you decide which brands, styles and sizes to put on the shelf? 

J: If your question refers to our products in sizes below DD you might consider our product range rather small. The average size we sell , however, is a G cup. If you are interested in cup sizes above DD we offer a much wider selection than any department store.
Our customers’ feedback as well as our own research shows that we offer a larger product range and a much wider selection for women with bigger boobs thant other lingerie stores. We back our slogan "Doppel D is the No. 1 address in Berlin for lingerie, swimwear, sports and maternity bras starting in D+" and we like to strengthen this position further.
An exact analysis of our customer base, meaningful sizing stats, the quality and prices our manufacturers offer and a thorough examination of the fit and design of new styles are the basis for making decisions on which brands, sizes and styles to carry. Every lingerie store has its own target group – that’s why we try to test drive new styles ourselves before adding them to our selection.

M: Tell us about your typical day of work. What are the biggest challenges? What are the joys?

J: The moments of joy clearly outnumber the challenges. As a specialized store for bigger cup sizes we have the wonderful opportunity to make women happy every day by providing them with fitted lingerie. Many of our customers do not like their big boobs and suffer more psychologically than having actual physical pain, though back pain can even cause headaches. Our professional fitting services, patience and the relaxing atmosphere in spacey changing rooms contribute as much to the happiness of our customers as the wonderful feeling that a well-fitted bra provides. Thus, we were able to increase our customer’s self-confidence and even increase their courage regarding other clothes. Our happy customers provide us with the joy and motivation to continue working.
My biggest challenge is the ordering process. We all have different bodies, ideas, wishes and expectations regarding our underwear. To accommodate all these women, I try to offer a broad selection of products containing a variety of different styles, forms, colors and designs.
Many women who visit us for the first time, wear the wrong bra size and style. About 90% of the women wear full cups with a high degree of stretchy fabric, a band that’s too big and/or cups that are too small. Once the new customer understands what makes a good fit, feels the support a fitted bra can provide and knows that she doesn’t have to hide her boobs in a full cup bra, the only thing that tends to matter for them is the fit and the look. There is very little ‚letterphobia’. Most of our customers are just happy, that they finally found the right size. We alleviate their fears of bigger cup sizes by showing them how the right bra size and style can improve their body image and looks.

M: A personal question: What bras would we see were we allowed to sneak a peek at your underwear drawer? Do you have favorites? 

J: I personally love moulded bras. It doesn’t matter if it’s a half cup for that wawawoom cleavage or as a full cup that makes my boobs look smaller – I love these bras for their wonderful ability to shape my size (30HH) the way I want it to look like. Sports bras are of course a must have for a former professional tennis player. My sports bras, by the way, have wires because without wires there is less support.

M: Your store is now 6 months old. Do you already have plans for next year?

J: We intend to further establish ourselves in the German market by expanding our public relations through unique promotions and events that establish a connection to potential customers on the street. Furthermore, we’d like to educate especially young women about the right fit using different channels. Expanding our standard product range is the basis for our plans.

Have you been to Jenny's shop by any chance? 
If so did you like it? 
Do you have any questions or suggestions for Jenny?

MiaRose bloggt seit Ende 2011 auf Drüber&Drunter. Neben Brafitting schlägt ihr Herz für sinnvolle/lose Diskussionen, gutes Essen, Jugendliteratur und allerlei anderes popkulturelles Gedöns. Ihre aktuellen Maße sind (94) 97 (96)-73-101. Ihren Vorstellungspost findet ihr hier: Me, myself and I.

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