Itty Bitty
Written by Yvette N. Coleman

The Itty Bitty brand is taking the lingerie industry by storm with its collection of dedicated bras for the woman with a smaller bust. The collection provides comfortable and stylish camisoles, and panty sets. Established in 2004 to design and develop women’s apparel, President and CEO Jane Hodgdon founded the company and its initial label to create garments that faithfully conform to specific body types. “I have no previous expertise in the lingerie industry other than the fact that I searched high and low for years looking for bras that would fit me and my small breasted friends. We wanted a comfortable and stylish bra that didn’t gap or pucker whenever we bent over. I searched everywhere until I reached the conclusion that it didn’t exist. It then occurred to me that if no one else was going to make it I may as well do it myself. I worked for a couple of years developing the cup and then sought out a manufacturer. After many starts and stops, I finally found a manufacturer who got it right. And that’s the genesis of the Itty Bitty Bra,” says Hodgdon.

For spring ‘09 the Itty Bitty brand plans to expand on its portfolio of sizes to a larger band of 38 to accommodate women with small chests yet broader backs. “We are also planning to add a few more patterned bras as well as new styles in their camisole and panty sets. Also, we will be adding a non-underwire bra. We’ve had such overwhelming requests and expect to have that available early in 2009. You want to buy our brand because it FITS! Other manufacturers claim to have A and AA size bras, but generally they are using a “B” or “C” cup and then making it “smaller” by shortening the straps and the band. The cup itself is too big for a smaller busted woman and the result is puckering and gapping in the cup—not only unattractive, but uncomfortable,” notes Hodgdon.

The Itty Bitty bra allows their customers to feel comfortable in their own skin with comfort and style without losing sex appeal.

Please finish this sentence: “The celebrity that best embodies our brand is (and why)...
Obviously, lingerie is so personal that it’s hard to say who best defines or embodies our brand.  I guess those celebrities who have shown that they are comfortable with their less than well-endowed busts are our kind of girls.  They would include Kelly Rippa, Kate Hudson, and Kiera Knightly.  I would also say that Misty May Trainor - who does wear our bra - is a great athlete who just happens to be flat-chested.  One might think that she would not be an Itty Bitty candidate because she is so athletic, but she has no body fat and fits perfectly in our bra.  We love knowing that this Gold Medal Olympic Volleyballer is an Itty Bitty customer.

What are the biggest trends in lingerie for Spring 09?
As the economy continues to seek stability fashion will reflect a need for “investment” garments and lingerie, that is to say pieces that offer more long term comfort, fit and style. We fit perfectly into that trend!

What trends do you hope will remain in 2008?
Of course having a more minimalist design, we hope that the “tricked-up” lingerie designs or disposable underwear will remain in 2008.   There will always be a need for what we call the “three-second lingerie”, but we also hope that women will become more comfortable with their sizes, be proud of their shapes and understand that buying smart can also mean buying fabulous. Those girls who are flat-chested can be sure that we will be there to serve their less than ample needs.

What's the coziest recommendation you have for winter sleepwear right now?
Of course, we recommend our camisole and panty sets for sleeping.  Speaking strictly about cold winter nights, they may not necessarily be “cozy”, but they are cute.  Otherwise, if it’s seriously cold, I think you have to go with flannel.

What's next for your collection?
Right now, we are focusing on our current collection.  We are mindful of the current economic conditions and are choosing to stay focused on our Signature and Couture lines.  Swimwear is a definite possibility because our athletic customers (including our volleyballers and swimmers) are asking us to give them the same comfort in swimwear that we’ve given them in their bras.  We look forward to working on that in the very near future.

What advice would you give women whose bodies may not be the “model-type”, but who love YOUR COLLECTION and want to wear it?
Who, after all, really is a “model type”?  We tell our customers to find the bra that FITS.  If the bra fits, everything else falls into place.  They may not be a Victoria Secret Angel, but they can feel heavenly in our lingerie.

Words of wisdom:
Yes.  Don’t do it!!!! Seriously, it’s a lot of work and is not without sacrifices. Having said that, starting your own business can also bring enormous creative fulfillment. What you need to ask yourself is – is there anything else you would rather do? If there isn’t then there’s nothing anyone can say that should prevent you from going after your dream. If you can come up with something that serves an underserved market, your sense of achievement outweighs all the stress and hard work.  Nearly every day I receive a letter or email from a new customer.  The gratitude in their notes overwhelms me sometimes.  I am just so excited to be seeing my dream come true and knowing I’m reaching others who are served well by what I do.  I encourage anyone who has that unique idea to believe in herself and just keep going.  If it’s a good idea, success will happen.

The Itty Bitty bra can be purchased at select retailers around the country.  The Signature Bra retails for $50 and the Couture Bra retails for $55.  Camisoles and Panties retail for $50-$55 for the camisole and $14-$16 for the panties.


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