Kickstarting a New Business

Disrupting a stagnant industry is no easy feat. And assuring a world of bra wearers that they can have comfort, support and lift without an underwire and straps is a challenge all its own.

When the Evelyn & Bobbie team created the Everyday Bustier they knew it was so innovative that it would come with questions.  The design team wondered if women were ready for a bra that deviated so far from the current industry standard. Their design included a three dimensional support system that moved the primary load bearing area to the body’s core, altogether eliminating the need for shoulder straps and underwires.  A strapless bra that looked different?  And it was going to feel different too?

In May 2017, Evelyn & Bobbie took the idea for their innovative signature concept bra called the Everyday Bustier™ to Kickstarter to test the concept.  Within days, they had their answer: this wireless and strapless bra resonated with women everywhere.

“Kickstarter was a proof point for us,” said Evelyn & Bobbie CEO Bree McKeen.  “It was our first opportunity to put our concept in front of a representative public sample and from the response, it was clear that women were extremely supportive of the idea.”  

Created in 2009, Kickstarter is the largest crowdfunding platform focused on creative projects around music, art, games and design.  Individuals may pursue ideas and make contributions towards a project’s funding goals as a backer through various tiers in exchange for products or other rewards.  

Evelyn & Bobbie secured $408,000 within four weeks, a full 463% of its funding goal.  It was also named one of Kickstarter’s “projects we love,” recognition that garnered even more attention to the Portland-based startup.  Kickstarter support came in the form of backers, who pledged a financial commitment for future orders, which the company is working to fulfill now.  Kickstarter garnered over 3,500 pledges for a product that was just entering mass production.

“We were pleased with the support, but more importantly with the heartfelt responses and excitement that women communicated for our product,” said McKeen.

Evelyn & Bobbie is now working with backers to fulfill on their commitment for a more, personalized fit--a huge selling point for hundreds of women.  Along with a new design for the bra, the company introduced a proprietary, new sizing system based on an algorithm that calculates a unique size based on new measurements.

“A two measurement system (cup size and torso circumference) has failed us long enough,” said McKeen.  “People aren’t two-dimensional, so why are we still talking about fitting women that way?  Our personalized fit system puts an end to the guessing game and introduces data science and 3D modelling to the quest for a better fit.”  

Evelyn & Bobbie scanned hundreds of women in advance of the design of the bra.   The result was learning that few women are the same.  For example, two women of varying body types and heights likely don’t carry weight the same way.  Therefore, they have different needs for their bras.  

The design team didn’t only tackle redesigning the bra and restructuring size measurements, but it was also motivated to understand how women’s bodies curve and move.  The result was an undergarment that moves with the body throughout the day--rather than one that grew increasingly uncomfortable as the day drew on.  And the women-led design team applied the latest in 3D technology, materials science, mathematics and ergonomic design to create a comfortable, everyday bra that supports and stays in place without straps or underwires.

“Generating so much buzz and advance funding for the Everyday Bustier was not only exciting, but also reassuring that the world was ready for a new bra.  Women deserve support and comfort with no compromises,” said McKeen.

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