STORE SPACES

Fast-growing ThirdLove to try out brick-and-mortar

BY Marianne Wilson

A brand known for its inclusive sizing and advocacy for women is going to open a temporary concept store that may well pave the way for future locations.

Women’s bra and underwear company ThirdLove will open a temporary location in downtown Manhattan. Open July 24 through the end of 2019, the store will offer a personalized bra fitting and try-on experience, with more than 60% of the space dedicated to innovative fitting rooms. ThirdLove said it will use the store to gather information on what its customers are looking for from an in-person ThirdLove shopping experience.

“Since day one, we have always used customer feedback and data to help us better serve all women, said Heidi Zak, co-founder and co-CEO of ThirdLove. “This retail space will give us the chance to do that in real life, learning what women want from an in-store bra fitting experience. I started ThirdLove because I thought women deserved a better bra brand and a better shopping experience. We’ve delivered that online and now a lot of our customers have expressed a desire to connect with our brand in person.”

Founded in 2014, ThirdLove uses proprietary algorithms developed in-house by its female-led data science and bra design teams to help women find the perfect bra size. Customers take a 60-second “Fit Finder” questionnaire that helps formulate the best bra size for a given woman.

With the concept store, ThirdLove is seeking to replicate its digital experience by making shopping for a bra more convenient and more educational so women have the knowledge and support they need to know how a bra should properly fit, the company said. The brand is testing different fitting room concepts, including rooms with small openings at the back, for passing items without the shopper having to open an awkward curtain. Larger fit rooms will also be available for women who want a more high-touch fitting experience. All the rooms will be equipped with an evening and daytime lighting system.

ThirdLove worked with the same female-owned and operated architecture team behind The Wing, a network of work and community spaces designed for women, to create the fitting rooms. Also, instead of standard hanging racks, the team created bra displays that showcase the brand’s inclusive range of 78+ sizes, as well as its numerous styles.

ThirdLove is one of the most size-inclusive brands in the industry, with 78 size options. The brand’s body-inclusive messaging has won it a strong following. In September, ThirdLove launched its first national advertising campaign, “To Each, Her Own,” which showed women of all ages, ethnicities and sizes.

The company made headlines in November when it ran a full-page ad entitled “An Open Letter to Victoria’s Secret” in The New York Times. The letter was in response to some controversial comments made by Ed Rasek, an executive at L Brands, parent company of the lingerie giant, regarding the company’s annual fashion show.

“Your show may be a ‘fantasy’ but we live in reality,” Zak wrote. “Our reality is that women wear bras in real life as they go to work, breastfeed their children, play sports, care for ailing parents, and serve their country. It’s time to stop telling women what makes them sexy — let us decide.”

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