It is no secret that confidence goes hand in hand with success. And as most women will tell you, it’s hard to feel confident when your bra doesn’t fit.
Peach, a new lingerie startup, wants to fix this all-too common problem. “The industry is seriously broken,” says Janet Kraus, co-founder and CEO of Peach, who believes women are underserved by big players such as Victoria’s Secret, which commands more than 60% of the U.S. lingerie market despite offering “substandard solutions.”
The company’s goal is simple, if ambitious: improve the lingerie shopping experience and improve the bras themselves.
To achieve this, Peach has redesigned both. In place of physical stores, it has a network of more than 450 commissioned sales agents throughout the country who visit shoppers’ homes, take their measurements, and help them select bras (prices, which range from $40 to $80, include a complimentary fitting session). In addition, stylists are available for online Skype consultations.
And in place of the standard fitting system, which relies on cup and bust size, the company uses 10 distinct measurements, including nape to waist, bust point to bust point and the length between the armpits. Once these data points are collected, Peach feeds them into a predictive machine-learning algorithm to determine the appropriate bra size.
Somewhat ironically, the idea for the company came from someone who has never worn a bra, good or bad. Back in 2011 Derek Ohly, currently a co-founder of Peach, approached Kraus with the concept after listening to his female friends complain about how horrible their bras were. An aspiring entrepreneur, he recognized an opportunity.
For Kraus, the problem resonated on a personal level. From the beginning, the company’s mission has been to make women “feel strong and confident in their own skin.”
There are financial incentives too, of course. Kraus believes that by accomplishing the difficult task of matching women with bras that actually fit, the company will develop a loyal customer base. In addition to bras, Peach sells sleepwear, loungewear and even athleisure items.
“I call the bra a hook that unlocks the value,” she says. “If I can find a bra that fits a woman, she’s now willing to buy many [other] things from me.”