The bra industry currently uses a fitting system that is over one hundred years old. Thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of women roam the streets every day in bras that don’t fit properly. Isn’t it time for technology to apply a nip of disruption to the bra industry?
Zyrra Co-founders Christi Andersen and Derek Ohly think so. The two met at the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College near Boston, Mass. Zyrra is a revolution in bra shopping, weaving in traditional in-person fittings with high-tech software to guarantee a perfect fit.
Here’s how it works:
Zyrra’s system takes 10 measurements including the bust and band, the wire, the depth of the cup, the bridge, across the upper chest, the nape to waist, and “nip to nip” using a a highly adjustable fitting bra. The measurements are then entered into Ohly’s patent pending software that creates a cutting pattern unique to those measurements and the bra fits perfectly, guaranteed. Otherwise Zyrra will remake a bra or issue a refund.
The idea is once you’ve been measured for a bra, then you’re in the database and Zyrra becomes a web only company. Ohly combined his background in CAD based architecture, coding and web programming to create Zyrra’s measurement software. However, at first, customers have to be measured in person by Zyrra trained specialists.
To make it fun, Zyrra specialists offer fittings through home parties and the hostess gets free and discounted products. The parties don’t cost anything. The bras themselves range from $55-$120, which is a good price considering other competitors charge up to $500 for a custom fit bra without the use of cost-efficient software. While there are several companies who are trying to adress the same problem, the word custom gets thrown around a lot. What most companies mean is measured not custom manufactured.
So what does the future hold for bra fitting? How far away are we from the day a woman can just step into an airport security style device and get a perfect bra size with a simple scan?
“This technology is on our radar,” says Ohly. “But there are two problems. Unlike getting measured for a pair of pants or shirt, you’re not measuring bone. You’re measuring something malleable, so you have to put it into the right place to measure it properly. The other issue is comfort. The majority of the population is more comfortable being measured with a friendly person with whom they have some rapport not a machine taking a picture of their bodies.”
For now, Zyrra is a web company with a personal face. The company sold its first bra in 2007 and has been raising small bits of angel funding ever since. This past January, Ohly raised close to one million in angel funding and will be expanding outside of Boston to the whole East Coast with an independent sales channel over the next few months. I hope they also spend some of that funding on web design, because its current site could use a refitting.