Like many bloggers, I spend a lot of my time heavily promoting buying from indie lingerie companies over the megabrands. Like many bloggers, I don’t practice what I preach. We’re all really great about promoting indies and showcasing their latest innovations, but as I know from my consulting experience, this doesn’t mean that anyone is actually buying from indies over the big corporate brands.
There are lots of different reasons for this, but here are the big three:
- Fear of the unknown
- Lack of choice outside the standard size range
Before I get to the actual challenge I wanted to talk some more in detail about these, including the dreaded invisible elephant of lingerie blogging: money.
Money effects all parts of the lingerie blogging cycle, Big corporations have a huge sample budget and can pass out the latest item for free among a large group of bloggers. This is why you frequently see the same item or company reviewed around the same time if you follow lots of lingerie blogs. Indies have almost no sample budget and what they do have generally has to go towards getting their products featured in larger publications or in things like music videos. Therefore, to check out a new brand, a blogger generally has to pay the actual full retail value of the item to do it. As you’ve noticed, this leads to a situation in which indie lingerie pieces are rarely reviewed.
Since I live on a writer’s salary (I do a lot better than some people, but I’m hardly rich) I plan out my lingerie purchases for each season months in advance. I budget, I figure out what I want way in advance and I rarely make impulse purchases. If I had a trust fund or didn’t have to pay any bills, I’d buy a lot more lingerie!
All of this leads into the next issue, which is fear of the unknown. Since indie lingerie isn’t reviewed as much, there isn’t a ton of information about sizing or quality out there. Fear of buying something awful at a higher price point is an issue, but fear of buying something that doesn’t fit is also one. If you’re outside the standard size range, this becomes even more of a barrier to entry. No one wants to send a stranger an email to ask if they can make a piece bigger – after all, who wants to get rejected before they’ve even developed a relationship with a brand? This makes it easier to go with the tried and true, which is the big brands.
Finally, this is all compounded by lack of choice if you’re outside the standard size range or want bras with more built in support. Wireless bras are both popular and cheaper to make, which means that they’re exceptionally popular with both indie designers and their customers. If you’re a larger cup size, need the support of an underwire and want to buy from an indie lingerie brand, you’re generally looking at an expensive bra purchase with very few options to choose from. Indie brands can provide gorgeous panties and sleepwear any day of the week, but finding pieces that feature support for heavier breasts and hold up to everyday wear can be tough.
I’ve thought about doing an indie lingerie challenge in previous years, but all of these reasons killed my momentum. This year, I’m determined to try it and see if it’s possible for a plus size lingerie consumer without a trust fund to fill her lingerie drawer with pieces that are 80% from indie lingerie companies. I will review each piece but also document the year at various points so see how I’ve kept up with my resolution.
Here are the rules I’ve set for myself:
- 80% of my lingerie purchases must come from indie lingerie brands. There is no minimum or maximum amount of pieces I need to purchase and no set price range.
- Pieces can be any type of lingerie, but at least one must be a bra from an indie lingerie company I have not tried yet.
- Progress will be documented and pieces will be reviewed on the blog.
I’m planning on making some purchases this week, so hopefully there will be an update soon! In the meantime, do you think you could subsist on only indie lingerie for a year? What brands and pieces would you buy? Let me know in the comments.