It's no secret that shopping for lingerie can be a frustrating experience. Enter Janet Kraus, who wants to create an alternative to the over-sexualized, poorly-sized systems of many lingerie stores.
A serial entrepreneur, Kraus got her start in the business world by starting and selling two businesses before she became a Harvard Business School professor. But Kraus grew restless in the contentment of professorship, and after Derek Ohly approached her with an idea for a new way to turn the women’s apparel business on its head they co-founded peach, a lingerie and leisure wear brand sold both online and in your home.
Yes. In your home.
A common complaint for women is that shopping for bras can be embarrassing, hassling, confusing, and impersonal, says Kraus. Our most private garments are often made like cookie-cutters out of misshapen sizes and sold by untrained sales associates. This forces women to go at the experience alone, and often buy the first thing that kinda-sorta-maybe fits.
Taking a page from Avon’s pink Cadillac playbook, peach (styled in all lower-case) employs local ladies to be their stylists and sell bras, underwear, and "second-drawer" apparel like camis and leggings to women in the comfort and security of their own homes.
The idea is to imagine a new kind of bra-buying experience, a real bra fitting performed by someone you trust. Maybe she’s your neighbor, maybe she was referred by a close friend, but she has been trained in peach's 10 measurement points to assure proper fit. You don’t even have to bare it all if you don’t want to, as peach stylists come with cover slips for all new clients to wear while they get measured.
What happens next is that you get a great bra in peach's classic color palette of nudes and neutral black and white.
“I know that a lot of women probably think that it’s something like Frederick’s of Hollywood,” Kraus said, chuckling, as the Magnolia Room of the Galleria Westin was being prepped for the brand's Houston launch last week. “But that’s not peach. We bring you something you put on to keep on. Not something you put on to take off.”
The line also sponsors “budding peach” designers, inclusing Audrey Welsh, a Houston native, who became a contributor to the peach brand with her ingenious “zipp”—a new accessory to help women zip up their dresses without having to give yourself shoulder cramps in a contortionist’s nightmare, and Kraus claims that Welsh is just the beginning.
“We’re encouraging women to make their mark on the world,” Kraus says. “Our stylists have freedom to set up their own kind of distribution, and we’re always open to new products that are unique and fit our brand.”
For Kraus, it is more than just selling bras; it is giving women a chance to take the lead in their own lives. I’m no expert on business models, but I do know one thing for sure. Getting a proper bra fitting in my own house sounds like a refreshing change of pace, one that might be worth a try.