Q&A with melissa thomason, owner & key buyer
Square footage: 4800
Location: Greenville, SC
Year Opened: 2000
Ted Vayos, BODY: Describe your store.
Melissa Thomason: From the moment you walk in to Breakout Bras, you will experience our personalized service. One of our fitters will promptly greet you and explain our method of fitting as well as the type of products we carry. We have seven dressing rooms available where your fitter will assist you in finding the perfect bra, swimsuit, shapewear, or breastfeeding product.
Because we are an online retailer as well as a local boutique, we are able to offer a much larger selection to our customers. Our store is filled with tens of thousands of bras in hundreds of sizes, allowing us to find a great fit for any body type or style preference.
If you bring your husband or child, we have a seating area out front where kids can play and men can read and relax while waiting.
Ted: What makes your store special?
Melissa: What makes Breakout Bras different is our commitment to the education of women in truth in sizing and the unparalleled knowledge and support of our highly trained staff. We have an extremely loyal and ever-growing customer base that chooses to shop with us because of our fitting knowledge and large product offering.
Ted: What do you look for in a brand?
Melissa: I carefully hand pick every bra we carry. Our selection is comprised of brands that consistently fit well with our sizing method. Most of the bras we offer are by UK brands because they offer larger size ranges starting in 28 bands and going up to K cups. Some of our best-selling brands include Panache, Fantasie, Freya, Elomi, Elle McPherson, Enell, Bravado Designs, Medela, Belly Bandit, and HOTmilk,.
We have introduced several new products into our store recently. We brought in Body Glove swimwear this season as an option for our customers looking for more youthful, fun bikinis. For our nursing mothers, we have introduced YOU! Lingerie’s nursing tanks in multiple colors.
In addition to intimate apparel, we offer breastfeeding products including Lansinoh breast pumps and accessories, MimiJumi bottles, Lilypadz, disposable breast pads, and creams.
We have looked into carrying several other brands, but their sizing and fit does not work consistently with the other items we offer. There are two main reasons we will decide not to carry a brand:
1.)Sizing- the sizing and/or fit of the bra do not work with our sizing method or the size range is too small.
2.)Price point – most of the bras that we carry range between $45-$75 and swimwear separates between $50-$150. If the price point is not in that general range, we typically have a hard time selling it to our local customers.
Ted: What are the latest trends?
Melissa: Most of our customers prefer to have a basic seamless neutral bra first then venture out to fashion styles.
Ted: Describe your price points and size ranges.
Melissa: Our size range for bras extends from 28-50 bands and AA-K cups (UK size) with a typical price point of $45-$75 for bras. We offer size-specific swimwear in bands 28-44 with cups up to a K (UK). Most swimwear will be $50-$150 for a set depending on the style and manufacturer.
An average customer size is about a 34G; however, we fit customers of any size from very petite to plus size.
Ted: What does the average customer spend per visit to your store?
Melissa: Our average customer spends about $100 per visit to the store. This usually includes 2 bras or a swimsuit.
Ted: Describe your customer.
Melissa: Our customer base is comprised of women of all ages with the largest age demographic being 25-50. Because we offer everyday bras, nursing bras, post-op bras, and mastectomy bras, we are able to build long term relationships with our customers to assist them with any bra needs throughout their lives.
Ted: What else can you tell us about your business?
Melissa: We started as an online business 13 years ago and opened our retail store in 2002. We have since moved to a store three times the size of the original location, and our local customer base has continued to grow at a rapid rate. Our store is the home of “The 10 Minute Boob Job”. The idea came about from watching so many women come into the store and leave transformed just from wearing the correct size; they would always say that it looked like they had just gotten a boob job. Since it takes about ten minutes to be fitted in your correct size, we aptly named our fitting process “The 10 Minute Boob Job”.