Arpita Ganesh is doing something which only few manage well – making women change the way the feel and perceive about their bodies. She introduced the ‘Bra Fitting’ concept to India. With the philosophy ‘B You’, the CEO and founder of Buttercups Clothing, a luxury lingerie boutique, has taken on the responsibility of educating women about the most intimate piece of clothing and help them get the perfect one. NT BUZZ in conversation with Arpita, who was in Goa to conduct a workshop
Danuska Da Gama I NT BUZZ
Q. Tell us about the inception of Buttercups…
In 2008 after a bra fitting in New York I discovered that I was born for lingerie styling. The experience changed the way I felt about myself. I returned from my holiday wanting to make other women feel the same comfort and confidence that I was feeling. This led me to introduce the ‘Bra Fitting’ concept in India. My journey began in 2009, with Buttercup Clothing, a lingerie boutique in Hyderabad, which exclusively retailed international brands such as Chantelle and Trinny & Susannah.
During this time, I was fitting customers with bras from other brands. Many of them left the fitting room saying it had been an absolutely wonderful experience, but some were disappointed too, because brands make limited sizes and these women could not find the right fit. It was then that I decided to launch my own brand which would make bras in up to 45 sizes and would be both comfortable and affordable. Thus, Buttercups was born.
Q. How does wearing the right bra affect the confidence of a woman?
Well fitting bras not only give all day comfort, but also correct your posture and gives support to one of the heaviest parts of your bodies. If our posture is correct and we are comfortable, that automatically leads to us feeling confident, which shows in our mannerisms. Therefore, a well fitted bra can make you feel confident, and who doesn’t want to be confident!
I highly recommend our online quiz or a bra fitting (if you are in Bangalore), to find your perfect fit.
Q. For many women a bra is just an undergarment. Do you think the perception should change? Why do bra fittings need to be given importance?
A bra fitting is meant to empower you to make informed choices each time you purchase one. In addition to the comfort and confidence factors, it could completely transform your wardrobe! For instance, a perfectly fitting bra can help you drop a dress size! There are health reasons too. For instance, a bra that’s too tight can cause breathing problems by adding extra stress on the bones of your back, neck and spine. It could also create tension in the back, which could cause back aches. On the other hand, a bra that is too loose can shift the weight of your chest onto your back. From my personal experience I guarantee that you will view good fitting lingerie as an investment rather than just another addition to your wardrobe.
Q. Do you think quality bras in a range of sizes are lacking in India?
Brands tend to make the most common selling sizes for business reasons. Thus the lack of sizes, and again, the lack of variety are because they want to make basic styles, which they are sure of selling to match the high demand.
Q. Many still feel embarrassed talking about bras. How would you go about changing this perception?
In all our interactions, we ensure that we make women comfortable with talking about bras and their bra issues. Subtle and tactful words and phrases, both on our website and in our fitting rooms, helps us in ensuring women are comfortable in discussing their lingerie woes. Our blog serves as a platform to know more about lingerie facts, tips, trends from around the world, health issues related to wearing the wrong size— things that are not really discussed in public.
Even at our lingerie workshops we encourage women to open up, speak about their problems and whilst we reflect on the lingerie problems we face on a regular basis. On a lighter note, our very successful stand-up comedy event, Get Hooked, aims to lead the conversation by giving a humorous twist to the discomfort around discussing intimate wear.
Q. Tell us about your fitting room process?
I believe that a bra fitting is an intimate affair, and we ensure that women are made to feel comfortable. Our fitting rooms have “Fit Specialists”, who are personally trained by me, who help women discover their right bra size and perfect fit through a series of personalised measurements. They then make recommendations of styles suited specifically to complement the customer’s unique body shape.
Q. From vast range of sizes, to fitting, to consultations, how do you bring all these aspects together for a good customer experience?
Our understanding of the lingerie category was picked up from my experience of fitting over 3000 women, which formed the foundation of our business. We believe that a bra is an investment, and a perfect fit can change your life. E-commerce is an enabler and a channel for transaction, but more importantly, the web (increasingly mobile more than desktop) is our primary storytelling platform and potential customers learn more about the brand philosophy on the website. A combination of consumer insights, a differentiated product that solves a problem for the customer, a unique online/offline experience, and an unwavering focus on exceeding our customers’ expectations, together delivers a great customer experience.
Q. How has the market for lingerie in India evolved?
The lingerie market and the consumer outlook have evolved tremendously. Online shopping for intimate wear in specific has created a paradigm shift in the way lingerie as a category is perceived. While the customer was conscious of the necessity, the traditional means of shopping made it fairly unattractive, leading to hasty purchases. Online lingerie shopping has opened doors to address the problem of ‘experience’ in the comfort of privacy. The increase in demand is owed to various factors like internet penetration, increase in smartphone user base and the increase in exposure to unique designs, which are both functional and stylish. This demand is being conveniently met online, in the comfort of one’s personal space.
Women in India have evolved tremendously over the past 10 years. They are more self-aware and have started spending on both looking and feeling good and are making conscious lingerie choices depending on their wardrobes.