The Power of Lobby – How Crazy Witches from the Internets Changed the Polish Lingerie Market

When I tell someone I used to work as a bra fitter, their imagination is usually going wild. So you touched some boobs for the whole day and even got paid for that? Where do I apply? For most guys it’s hard to imagine that bra fitter is indeed a serious job that solves many problems and finding the size of a bra is just one of them.

My colleagues at work kept asking me to prepare a short presentation about bra fitting, and when I finally agreed, I realized that the range of topics I’d like to cover would be too much even for a one hour talk. That’s why I chose to keep my presentation short and focused on the technical aspects of bra fitting and post the full story here. Don’t worry if you missed the theory part, there’s plenty of resources online on that.

I’m not the type of person who would care too much about fashion, so I’d probably never develop a hobby revolving around bras if I didn’t gain weight some few years ago. This made me exchange a big part of my wardrobe, and while I tried, it turned out that suddenly the biggest bras available in chain stores were too small for me. I started googling for other options that could be affordable within a student’s budget and soon discovered a whole new universe just a few clicks away.

At that time everyone’s idea about bra sizes was more or less the following:

misconception

Common misconception about bra sizes

Most lingerie shops had only A-D cup sizes available, and even if there was anything bigger than that, it usually looked like a nightmare from grandmas wardrobe, something the 20 year old me would never consider putting on (neither would the present me, to be honest). Then I discovered this community,  gathered on online forum called Lobby Biuściastych and blog Stanikomania that was originally built to share information on where to find the bras in less popular sizes. They promoted the idea that The Alphabet doesn’t end with D. As they said, there were plenty lingerie brands making pretty, colorful and sexy bras up to the K cup, we just had no idea that they existed.

I thought I could go shopping and give it a try, but soon realized there were literally a few stores in the whole country offering the proper choice, and that the owner of the nearest one was famous for shouting at her customers. The Lobby recommended to try British online shops or eBay instead, so I followed their guidelines and ordered some alien 30G.

tabela-rozmiarow-UK

Bra size chart. The green part is all what was available in shops just a few years ago (and in most countries, still is).

As soon as I tried it, I never looked back, even though all of my friends surely thought I went mad. Getting a proper fit really did make a difference, so for an alarming part of my time I kept talking about boobs, bras, the benefits of a well fitting bra and the need to educate customers and retailers about the options they had. Luckily, I still had the witches from my online forum who were as crazy as me. I’d spent the most of my life in a men-dominated world, so I was shocked to see so many smart girls in one place and – what was even more surprising – getting on well with one another.

As we went on with our Lobbying to everyone who wasn’t tired to listen, we slowly started earning attention of local press and media. One article in a popular nation-wide newspaper brought us few times more users than we would have so far. We got invited to radio and TV to talk about why anyone should care about bra fitting. Stanikomania won an award as Blog of the Year. Even if there were hardly any proper stores yet, people would become more conscious about the whole idea.

One of the craziest parts were forum meetups. There was still little chance to buy big sizes offline, so we would bring all of the bras that we had (and believe me, some of us had pretty impressive collections!) to let others try and see what would fit. This was also a good occasion to sell or exchange the stuff that didn’t or show our newbies the bra fitting in practice. Imagine some few dozen women running around half naked and trying on each other’s bras? That’s where the best ideas were born.

Every now and then one of the girls would decide to open a lingerie store with a wide choice of style and sizes. Many of them had no business experience before nor too much extra money to get it running, so they would often start off as online stores. But as soon as there were real, physical places where we could bring our friends and show them how they can look and feel in a proper fitting bra, the idea of bra fitting finally reached the masses. One happy customer told a few other ones, which brought their friends and so on. Our forum was also the cradle of one lingerie and two clothing brands. Other producers, which seemed very sceptical at first, started inviting us to test their new constructions and ask for feedback. The revolution had begun.

Nowadays Poland has probably the best bra makers around the world. There is a bra fitting salon in every other town, an Association of Polish Bra Fitters, and even a Bra Fitting Academy. Most of the women I know had been to a bra fitter and say it really made a difference. There’s not too much to do on our forum anymore, but some of us are still active and lobbying on other markets. I am proud that I was a part of revolution and amazed by how much influence on real world we had, as a bunch of crazy witches from the Internets. I’ve learnt a lot too, especially while working as a bra fitter, but that’s a part of another story…

Feature image: US Star in a Bra lingerie model competition finalists

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