The bra fitter earns 3m rubles a month by choosing a right size of lingerie
A Kazan lawyer has found a unique business niche after visiting the USA
A new and quite spicy niche — bra-fitting or, more simply, choosing of a right size of lingerie, is beginning to occupy its niche in the Russian business. The discoverer of this segment is the native of Kazan, Moscow lawyer Alina Gizatullina. Realnoe Vremya contacted the owner of the business and revealed how she came up with the idea to become a bra-fitter, how successful and viable this business model is and how long the Kazan ladies have to wait for the opening of a local salon of lingerie styling.
From clothes fitting for top management of Sberbank to bra fitting
Alina, has your education at the MSU something to do with what you're doing now? What is your speciality?
I am a lawyer by training and I never planned to do lingerie retail. I worked in a large law firm that specialises in international transactions.
The transition from one sphere to another happened organically: I have always liked to do personal projects. I started with a female business style, then I was educated as a stylist — it was my hobby while I was working at a law firm, I specialised in business dress code — it was my professional passion. By the way, that time I did projects for top managers of Srednerussky Bank of Sberbank, we chose for them a business wardrobe. I also conducted workshops for employees of the bank, I told how to dress for work.
In the US, I tried this service and I loved it. They chose me lingerie perfectly: it turned out that I used to wear a wrong size of bra. In general, we have 90% women who wear a wrong size
How did you switch from business dress code to bra-fitting?
Just at one moment I have become seriously interested in the topic of choosing lingerie (I always had problems with this): I went to America and drew attention to the fact that there are boutiques that specialise on choosing lingerie — I saw nothing similar in Russia at the moment. As a result, in the US, I tried this service and I loved it. They chose me lingerie perfectly: it turned out that I used to wear a wrong size of bra. In general, we have 90% of women who wear a wrong size. Accordingly, it was much more comfortable because straps ceased to fall, the belt ceased to ride up and the form under the clothes began to look sleeker.
I was impressed by that. In the context that even for business dress code underwear is very important, I wrote several articles on choosing lingerie. This was followed by a live response from women on my blog. After that, I decided that the topic may be interesting and the competitive advantage would be the fact I would master that field, which I actually did. I went to study in the UK, I got a certificate that confirms that I am a bra fitter and I have all required competences. I understood that I can be unique in that field: there were no such services in Moscow. Besides, there are a lot of ordinary stylists and no one was engaged in choosing lingerie.
''The standard range of sizes discriminate a large number of women''
How low is the competition in this segment in Russia?
The project is unique because we educate women to choose lingerie. It's a slightly different problem than just to buy a couple of bras — it requires special skills. Plus, we separately train the staff — I do it personally. Usually, in clothes stores, you may be lucky that a seller would help you to choose lingerie, and you may not be lucky, and everything just goes according to the standard scenario. Our professionals work together with a woman right in the dressing room, we thoroughly analyse the client requests, select the shape and size. A specialist actively participates in the process.
Our approach is different: I purchase three to five models per season, but the size line will be there in 50 bras. Accordingly, we need a different supply of money. But not everyone is willing to work with this model, it requires very attentive and inclusive service
I was the first who started to do this in Russia for the first time. I started this business three years ago, and then gradually competitors began to appear who are now trying to say that they do the same thing as happens with any professional services. But we still offer 1.5 hours of private master class, where we teach you how to choose lingerie. All underwear that will fit you, you can buy. But for someone bra-fitting is to choose two or three good bras for a client and measure them with a measuring tape (which in my opinion is not professional, this kind of measurement gives a significant distortion).
You've previously said that in Europe there are literally hundreds of bra sizes. What is the situation in Russia? What are the business models of European networks/retailers and Russian clothes stores?
You know, it is all about the business model because it's not profitable to buy 220 sizes that we have — this is very much load — you have a lot of money frozen in the warehouse. Therefore, the standard lingerie shops operate a little differently: they choose the brands that produce smaller number of sizes and make a choice in favour of getting 50 models, each with three to five popular sizes, which they probably sell, but it will be 50 different models. Our approach is different: I purchase three to five models per season, but the size line will be there in 50 bras. Accordingly, we need a different supply of money. But not everyone is willing to work with this model, it requires very attentive and inclusive service. The usual consultants just can't cope with such a range.
Are there many women who need the services of bra-fitters?
I believe that the standard range of sizes discriminates quite a large number of women, and the problem is that they wear whatever turns up but not what they really need.
I think every woman should at least once in a lifetime to allow this service. I think it's a good investment in yourself as a woman because in order to be successful in your life we should learn many skills: how to do makeup, choose clothes in accordance with the type of figure, lingerie also applies to these skills.
How successful is this business model?
Now the revenue is about 3-3.5 million rubles per month. Net profit is approximately 300-350 thousand rubles. Much depends on the season because the selection of lingerie is quite a seasonal story. In winter, the market is rather quiet, in spring women dress in thinner clothes and understand that it is time to update their wardrobe.
I think it's a good investment in yourself as a woman because in order to be successful in your life we should learn many skills: how to do makeup, choose clothes in accordance with the type of figure, lingerie also applies to these skills
How durable this business model is? After receiving a consultation, are people willing to pay for it for the second time?
In general, the second service is free, so we charge only once for training, and then they can return and buy underwear. After all, there are ladies who cannot find their sizes in conventional stores and this is a reason to come back to us. Secondly, it is very convenient that you don't have to go to 10-12 stores and spend time and mental energy into finding, trying, queues.