A LINGERIE shop in Kilkenny city centre that’s celebrating its first year in business this month has had success not just in terms of fashion, but also the effect on people’s everyday lives, its owner says.
In addition to introducing a new range of mastectomy bras, proprietor Bridget Kearney says the Kieran Street shop is attracting women from all over Ireland because it stocks sizes up to a K cup.
Since opening its doors last year, Belle Femme has fitted over 3,000 women across Kilkenny, Carlow, Tipperary, Wexford and as far away as Kerry and Galway. In doing so, it has gained a reputation for exceptional fittings and for catering to larger sizes.
“Of those 3,000 customers, 98% being fitted by us for the first time were in the wrong-sized bra and were out by an average of four cup sizes,” Ms Kearney said. “Our average client wears a 34G and 36HH and had found it difficult, up to now, to find a good fitting and nice fashion pieces in large sizes.”
They have also been referred to clients by plastic surgeons, and they have found that customers who were considering mammoplasty or who had back complaints and were attending physio have benefitted by just getting a well-fitting bra that supports properly.
Ms Kearney attributes Belle Femme’s accurate fitting service to the staff’s ability to fit by eye and without the use of a traditional tape measure.
“The body is elastic,” she explained. “A tape measure cannot measure volume, so it is essential that anyone advising women on wearing the correct fitting bra learns how to assess and fit without a tape measure. I was trained by Lindsey Brown – one of a handful of people worldwide to have a master’s research degree in bra design and manufacture.”
To mark the occasion of its first year in business, Xposé presenter Lisa Cannon visited Belle Femme lingerie this weekend. The visit also coincided with the announcement of two new offerings for the Kilkenny boutique over the coming months: an online store and a range of mastectomy bras.
“I called the store Belle Femme because every woman deserves to feel beautiful and we look forward to helping ladies who have undergone mastectomies find bras that make them feel just that,” Ms Kearney said.