ThirdLove Campaign

The fight over intimates continues.  

On Tuesday, ThirdLove, the lingerie company that pitches itself as the bra company for women of all shapes and sizes, as well as the inventor of half-cup sizes, said it raised $55 million.

The money will allow the company to expand its current selection of 78 bra sizes to an even larger demographic of bra-wearers.

“And we have no intention of stopping here,” ThirdLove chief executive officer and cofounder Heidi Zak said in a statement.

In fact, she said the company’s mission is to “create a bra for everyone.”

“We are more dedicated than ever to giving all women the level of choice they deserve,” Zak said.

Heidi Zak

ThirdLove ceo Heidi Zak at the WWD CEO Summit.  Patrick MacLeod/WWD

As the lingerie start-up continues to gain in popularity, an increased number of investors are eager to get on board. So much so that the company said it wasn’t even looking for additional funding this time around. But investors found them anyway.

Like veteran journalist Katie Couric and angel investors Anne Wojcicki, cofounder and ceo of gene and biotech company 23andMe, and her sister Susan Wojcicki, ceo of YouTube. Financial firms L Catterton and Allen & Co. have also provided backing.

“I’m a big fan of ThirdLove’s mission to build a brand for every woman, regardless of her shape, size, age, ethnicity, gender identity or sexual orientation,” Anne Wojcicki said in a statement. “ThirdLove promotes reality over fantasy and shows the spectacular beauty of all sizes, shapes and colors of women.”

The news comes just days before L Brands, parent company to Victoria’s Secret, is set to announce its quarterly earnings. Victoria’s Secret is still the dominant market player in the intimates category. But a number of start-ups, including ThirdLove, American Eagle’s Aerie and Knix, are a growing threat. Even Target is upping its lingerie business.

L Brands’ stock is down more than 37 percent year-over-year. The company has tried a number of strategies to help turn it around, including tapping John Mehas, formerly of Tory Burch, to run Victoria’s Secret, saying it would bring back swimsuits sometime this year and shedding unprofitable businesses Henri Bendel and La Senza from its portfolio.

Most recently, Victoria’s Secret started offering some high-end lingerie brands, including French designer Livy, in select stores.

Even so, many shoppers remain displeased with a brand that they say doesn’t include all women.  

Ed Razek, L Brands chief marketing officer, received flak last fall after an interview with Vogue magazine in which he said Victoria’s Secret had no interest in incorporating plus-size or transsexual models in its annual fashion show.

“Because the show is a fantasy,” he said at the time. Razek later apologized for his comments on social media.

Still, Zak responded by taking out a full-page ad in The New York Times, saying she was “appalled” with Razek’s comments.

“You market to men and sell a male fantasy to women,” Zak wrote. “It’s time to stop telling women what makes them sexy — let us decide. This shouldn’t be seen as groundbreaking, it should be the norm.”

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