Kim Johnson and Laura Johnson have been frustrated with bras for years. So much so that they each began researching bras and writing business plans to start their own lines. Neither Kim nor Laura are particularly shy women and told everyone they knew about their idea. One day a mutual friend realized these two women were working on similar plans and made an introduction. There was an instant connection during their first meeting because the goal was the same: women need better options in the larger-cup bra market! Kim and Laura had worked on completely separate areas of their business plans. And even more serendipitous was that they shared the same last name. They quickly realized that four breasts were better than two and joined forces.
Shortly after meeting they entered into a startup competition called Startup Weekend: Phoenix. The concept was pitched on a Friday night and was selected among the top 15 of more than 50 ideas pitched that evening. A team was assembled and the idea was worked on all weekend. The weekend wrapped up with a short pitch to a panel of judges on Sunday evening. Bust'DD took first place and was awarded invaluable services to help make an idea become a reality.
After winning, Kim and Laura met with numerous mentors and took various classes. They have worked diligently to discover not only what women need, but what they want. They are now in business retailing some great brands and building the business of their dreams.
I guess the light bulb came on for me in 2005 when Oprah Winfrey had the ‘Bra Intervention Show' in which she revealed that 80% of women were wearing the wrong size bra. I knew I had been wearing the wrong size, because nothing ever seemed to fit right. My boobs were falling out of the bottom of my bras and were spilling over the top. I then went to a department store and was measured at a 32G, which was a shock because I had been wearing a 36DD from another store. The 32G gave me more lift and I looked better in my clothes. I began talking to more and more women about this revelation and how much better they would feel if they wore the correct size bra. Well, I have to say it wasn't long before my breasts started spilling out of the top of my 32G bras. That's when I found out that if I wanted to buy smaller band sizes with larger cup sizes, I was relegated to buying online, but the sizes were never consistent and the bras were always ugly.
In 2010 I started researching the industry more. I attended a couple of intimate apparel trade shows to learn as much as I could about the industry and why there was such a void in the market for my size, and women like me. I was told that my shape, having a small rib cage & large breast were unusual and that mainstream companies would not add additional sizing to fit me, because they could not make any money catering to such a small group. I set out to prove them wrong, that I wasn't part of a small group, but my size was more normal than they thought.
Having a background in finance, I knew that companies were all about making money, but I wanted to create a company in which I could help women feel good about themselves and look better in their clothes, and if I happen to make money at it as well, then that's a bonus!
Several years ago I went through a major life change. I found myself in graduate school and once again single. The concept of dating was scary, but I was ready. However, there was one problem; I did not feel sexy in any of the bras I owned at the time. I wasn't aware there were some bras in the market in my size that would make me look lifted and supported all while being attractive looking. I managed to find these good ones, but I cringed when I looked at the price tag…$125.00 (and those aren't even the really expensive ones)! What?! Are you kidding me?
I also had no idea what size I was. At the time I was wearing a 38DD and busting out of the cup. I got myself professionally fitted and they put me into a 38F. Then I learned the right way to measure. Turns out I'm actually a 32I!!! Wow…those sizes exist? Yes, you bet. They are quite common, but women don't know they should actually be wearing those sizes. Well, here's the good news ladies: we are actually skinnier than we thought! Who cares what letter the cup is…I'm a 32, not a 38. What a boost to my self-esteem!!
How did Bust'DD get started? One day as I was watching lecture videos for my entrepreneurship class I had a thought. I'd been personally frustrated with the larger cup bras for years and assumed someday the market would catch up. Years later it still had not. I thought to myself, hey, I'm smart and I obviously understand the gap and issues in the market, why can't I do something about it? Women wearing D cups and larger have a hard time finding affordable bras that do the job they need while looking sexy…or at the very least not looking like granny bras. So I started researching how to start my own bra company. Fast forward another couple of years and I was introduced to Kim and Bust'DD was catapulted into existence.