Cuup wants to be a bra brand that connects with customers on an empathetic level.
Launched this month by Kearnon O’Molony, Abby Morgan and Lauren Caris Cohan, each founder brought their own issues to the table, which they hope to solve with Cuup.
O’Molony, who previously served as the managing director in Blackstone’s private equity group, spent a year trying to acquire La Perla, but the deal didn’t go through because the company filed for bankruptcy. While researching the intimate apparel market, he found some issues with the market mostly involving fit, inventory and manufacturing. Cohan, who previously worked at Free People, had a hard time finding her bra size. And Morgan, who met Cohan while working at Free People and Vimeo, felt like storytelling within the intimate apparel space was lacking.
With Cuup, they are doing things differently. According to O’Molony, most bra production starts at a 34B and is scaled up and down from that. With Cuup they are creating a bra for each size and have done 80 fittings instead of the typical six to have a better-fitting product that accommodates different bodies. They are also working closely with a bra manufacturer that’s more open to producing this many sizes because they are partners in the business.
“To address the market properly, you need a lot of sizes. It’s inventory-intensive because brands don’t like to carry a lot and that’s why you go to Victoria’s Secret and can’t find your size,” said O’Molony. “There are only about four or five key bra manufacturers and they usually don’t work with new entrants because the minimums are high and you are bound to their rules. But by partnering with them we could properly go after the problem.”
Cuup sells four silhouettes that are meant for everyday: the scoop; the plunge; the balconette and the demi bra. They retail for $68 and will come in 42 sizes. Each bra is made from lightweight performance fabrics with a proprietary 360-degree flex wire and no-dig ribbon straps and very little padding. They also sell a bikini style and a thong that retail for $18.
“I think the product differentiates us from what else is out there,” said Cohan. “It’s hard to get fit, form and function right on one product.”
Cuup is also doing something different with marketing. They conducted an open casting for their campaign, which features a diverse set of models. The campaign focuses on women being proud of their bra size, whatever it is.
“How can there be a brand that you can’t identify with?” said Morgan. “We want to connect emotionally with women and provide a platform where they can be proud of their body.”
They are helping customers find their right fit online by providing free shipping and returns and an at-home try-on program. Cuup hired a fit expert from Journelle to work with women in New York to find their right fit. The team says there are plans to stay direct-to-consumer. They have no interest in major wholesale partnerships with department stores, but they want to create pop-up experiences.