While Supplies Last!

Get ‘Em Before It’s Hot!

While Supplies Last!

I’ve heard many people complain about holiday creep – Halloween in July, Christmas in August, and Valentine’s Day before we’ve rung in the New Year, but I’m here to talk about something far more serious – Season Creep. It’s when retailers start selling clothing earlier and earlier to entice you to buy. Sure, we love thinking about shorts in March, but no one wants to see a winter coat in June!

I often see bathing suits right after the first of the year – which I think is great, except when the weather is finally warm here in the Northeast; they are suddenly nowhere to be found. Jessica* always realizes that she’s in need of something new in July and the Back to School sales have already started. (and then it’s a bitchfest and a mad dash through the Internet with lots of trips to the post office with returns) I guess this works for the retailers because they sell out every year. I don’t know who’s buying, because so many people I know don’t look for a suit until the weather turns warm. I had one friend tell me that they get bathing suits for Easter. (EASTER??) I guess that’s a good calendar reminder to take that dreaded shopping trip before it’s TOO LATE. I sometimes wonder if retailers will move the dates so far back that they’ll eventually end up selling in season again!

So this is your public service announcement. It’s the perfect time to pull out your bathing suits and decide if they work or if you need some new ones. If you do need something, you might want to get while the getting’s good. And, of course, if you’re like me, and the suit still works great except for those stretched out straps, can I interest you in a Strap Saver?

*names have been changed to protect me! And yes, this is the same Jessica from This Website is No Longer A House Of Lies.  Read that blog if you haven’t, it’s HILARIOUS.  One day, she’s going to disown me…

The Power Lurking Beneath the Suit

Are You Underestimating The Power of Your Underwear?

The Power Lurking Beneath the Suit

About six months ago, Beth and I were discussing how to feel more confident at job interviews, meetings and networking events. We both concluded that most of how people perceive you is in how you present yourself. I told her about the Ted talk on Power Poses, and how I’d used that as a tool to feel stronger before important meetings. Somehow, it moved from that to the idea of wearing Wonder Woman Underoos (under our clothes, of course!). There’d be no choice but to kick butt if we had indestructible bracelets and a lasso of truth at our disposal! We never found anything bigger than junior sizing for our experiment, but I’m still holding out hope.

A few weeks ago Beth and I went to CurvExpo – and it was amazing. It was like a candy dish of underthings – with gorgeous colors and textures; every piece was interesting and different. It brought me back to a time when I paid closer attention to my own underwear. I think I started in the early 90s, when a certain store began moving into all of the malls. Whenever my mom and I would go shopping, we’d stop by and I’d buy a matching set. I don’t remember her exact rationale, but I always remembered that it felt nice. (and my mom knew nice when it came to clothes, the woman had flats, heels and matching jewelry to go with every designer work outfit) I stopped buying matching sets sometime in my mid 20s. I’m not sure if it’s because I gained weight or if it’s because I was broke, but I stopped. I’ve since returned to buying nicer bras, but I never got into matching again. After spending the day at CurvExpo, it reminded me of that feeling of wearing beautiful underwear and I told Beth needed to step up my game.

Last week I came across this article by Veronica Granja-Sierra entitled It’s What’s Underneath That Counts: Why Women Should Embrace Lingerie. She explains how lingerie had become about either utility or sex but it is really about neither. It’s about self-expression and how we feel about our bodies:

“Matching bra and panties have been proven to actually impact a woman’s self-esteem.

When you devote time and effort to adorn your body in beautiful lingerie, it affirms your self-worth and boosts your self-confidence. It ignites feminine creativity, and also helps you take yourself seriously because let’s be real: Do you even take yourself serious when you’re lounging in PJs all day?

It is proven that you feel your best when you are at your best, and then, people will naturally gravitate to you. Confidence in what you are wearing not only makes you feel good, but it also attracts people who appreciate those qualities.”

(but read the whole post here, it’s really good)

The memory of that feeling propelled me to find something for myself (off the clearance rack, not everything has to be about spending a ton of cash!) and I feel good about it, beyond the basic retail therapy high. I’m inclined to think that Veronica’s on to something.

Do you wear matching underwear? If not, after reading this, would you consider starting? And what do you think of our Wonder Woman Underoos idea? (especially you, Veronica!)

 

 

Also: Our blog has been on hiatus for the last month, we’ve been dealing with a loss in the extended Strap Saver family. We’ll be doing something to honor their memory and hopefully make a difference in the world. More information on this coming soon.

a drawing of 5 hands reading out to a heart

What’s the Most Romantic Thing Your Partner Can Do For You?

TSS-GrabHearts

Once, when playing “The Family Feud” on a cruise, I was asked this question. My answer was “clean the house and cook dinner”. I swear I heard booing. The top answers were “flowers”, “jewelry” and “lingerie”. I thought they were unimaginative and was disappointed. As we’re nearing February 14th once again, the same trite solutions are being presented as the “must haves”. YAWN. Even if you don’t want to break out the scrub brush, use some imagination, folks!

Generally, I don’t partake in Valentine’s Day. I don’t have an issue with the idea of a special day to celebrate love as long as it isn’t used to put others down. It just isn’t important to me. I take every day to celebrate my love! (BARF.) The thing that DOES bug me is that businesses take advantage of this – roses that were once $40 are now $80. Dinner that was $60 is now $120, simply because of the date on the calendar. It always felt like a scam to me – especially now with social shaming – I mean social media. There’s pressure to spend money that some might not have, or forever deal with the consequences in a very public way. If you want a special day to celebrate love AND want to do something like flowers and dinner, what’s wrong with February 15th? Or 16th? It’s the same food, the same celebration and the same love, without the gouge. OR, if the date is important, why not go with something a little more DIY – make a card or cookies for your honey – or, my favorite – cook dinner and clean the house. :) To me, the important part is the love itself.

So there are those who love it, those who don’t completely understand it (me) – and plenty of people who just wish Valentine’s Day would go away… which is a shame but understandable. Once again, at The Strap Saver, we’re here to help. In case you need a lift, we’re offering a special discount on bra repair and strap shortening for 24 hours only on February 14th – 20% off your purchase of Strap Savers* (COUPON CODE: HAPPYVD). It’s a great time to perk up and stock up – after all – it’s almost bathing suit season!

*not valid on the purchase of gift certificates

Soma bra donation logo

Gifts from the Gifted

SOMADONATIONLOGO

When people ask me about The Strap Saver, I often start with “Well, some women are more gifted than others…”   The Strap Saver isn’t just for women with larger chests, but sometimes my A-cup friends look at me blankly and say “I get my bras on the clearance rack at -insert name of cheap department store here-“.  That will never be me.   (yes, there are other many uses but we’ll get to that in another post, OR, check out our FAQ!)  Sure, we’re gifted with the chore of endless hours searching for the right bra and then spending $70-80 each.  But, in reality, we’re lucky that we have that option.

I want to tell you about a chance to share some of your luck with the Soma “Giving Is Beautiful” Bra Donation campaign. (this is not meant to be an endorsement for the brand, although I do admire companies that take care of their communities)  Most people don’t think to donate bras – after all, it’s underwear.  I came across this a few years ago and learned that there is a real need – many of us change sizes often or dislike a color and those bras can make a huge difference to someone in need.  Soma is partnering with the National Network to End Domestic Violence to collect 1 million bras.  You can bring your bras to their store, donate to the cause online or even mail your bras if there is not a store nearby*!  It’s heartbreaking to think of women showing up at these shelters with nothing – and needing so much.  I can’t imagine how scary it would be to escape a situation like that – and how a donation could also show them that people are thinking of them, and rooting for them to be safe.  I have a friend who went through this near impossible process and she said without the help from the shelter, she could not have escaped.

So, count your blessings and if you have time, take a look at your bras (or your wallet) and see if you have something to donate.  As we’ve stated before, here at The Strap Saver, we’re pro-ninja and pro-pajamas, but we’re also pro-human.  I can’t think of a better way to help another human is to give them something of their own when they’ve left everything behind.  Sure, to some it’s just a bra but to someone else, it might be chance to feel normal again.

For more information on the “Giving is Beautiful” campaign, check out the Soma Website.

 

*Mail new or gently worn bras to:
Soma Bra Donation Bra Recyclers
3317 S. Higley Rd. Suite 114-441
Gilbert, AZ 85297

fishing boats

Cast A Wide Net

photo credit: Beth Lieberman, Hong Kong

photo credit: Beth Lieberman, Hong Kong

The best advice that I could give anyone starting a new venture of any kind is ASK! Chances are, someone around you has done something similar or knows someone who has. Most people are more than happy to talk about themselves – I mean, tell you about their experiences and help you learn from them. Although my product is new, starting an e-commerce business or manufacturing a part is not. There’s no need for me to schlepp down that path and over that hill if someone else can explain to me why it’s not useful for me. It’s not about laziness; it’s about efficiency. I know there’s a ton of work ahead of me, and it’s important that I put my energy where it’s needed. I’m lucky to be surrounded by an amazingly diverse group of helpful people, with knowledge in areas I never imagined I’d need. Everyone around me has been very supportive and willing to share what they have – making this process a lot easier. (note: I didn’t say easy!)

Without a doubt, I chose wisely with Marc, my better half. In addition to his “required” job of cheerleader, he’s making important contributions in almost every area of the business (and the magenta pom-poms bring out the brown in his eyes). He’s also helping me to build my network – through him I met an engineer* and the three of us designed The Strap Saver. He introduced me to a friend who worked at a law office where I consulted with an attorney who happened to have won several patents for bras (really, what were the odds?). Another friend of his helped me by printing the first prototypes on his 3D printer. I also had a chance to speak with a chemist, someone with experience in materials and someone who has a very successful online business. I’m thankful for his eclectic group of friends and their generosity with their time.

My own crew has made a sizable contribution as well. I’ve received advice, a Google app domain, an offer for product photography and many friends willing to test. (A special shout out to the friend who offered to provide extra support in the form of his own hands in case of a Strap Saver snafu, not that we’re anticipating issues, but it’s nice to know that he’s there for me) A friend from college studied the prototype intently for a few minutes and came up with a more efficient method of installing. I’m going into “throw back” territory, my high school friend and comedian Charlie Hester is going to produce the promotional videos for the product. She also referred me to the company that is manufacturing the final prototypes and hopefully the final product.

Thank you all very much. It feel like the 7 degrees of The Strap Saver are forming a big web of support. I know it won’t keep me from faltering, but hopefully it will be enough to catch me from falling flat on my face. :)

(*names have been omitted to protect the innocent, draw your own conclusions about Marc, Beth and Charlie)

 

I’ve got the brains, you’ve got the looks

Beth and I met at Syracuse University, during my freshman and her sophomore year. We stayed friends through school and a few years after.  Unfortunately, life got in the way for a while but we reconnected over Facebook a few years ago and hung out often and without incident since then.

brains-1-opt

Us at Syracuse University

Until Labor Day weekend of 2013.  We were lounging by the pool at Beth’s apartment building and complaining about our bathing suit straps.  Hers were too long on her new suit and mine were stretched due to wear and weight. (to quote my friend Charlie, you can’t expect a few pieces of elastic to hold up bowling balls forever!)  We did the typical “There has to be a better way…” and “What if…” and  one thing led to another and the Strap Saver was born.

Suddenly this magic idea formed between us and I knew it was too good to let go.  I spent that Saturday evening researching – surely someone had thought of this before.  I polled a few girlfriends – would you want… and they all emphatically said yes!  And I started down this road, learning more than I thought about manufacturing, ecommerce  and people.

brains2-opt

Reconnecting a few years ago.

My favorite group is the Pet Shop Boys and that’s what this blog title refers to – the two of us.  Beth calls me “the brains” since I’m working on the business end, getting the product made, doing the books, filing the patent paperwork, etc and she is definitely “the beauty”.  All of the gorgeous design work representing The Strap Saver and the packaging was all from her and will lead us down this road to success.  She’s also a big part of anything creative that happens here.  And as the song goes…

 

 

Oh, there’s a lot of opportunities
If you know when to take them, you know?
There’s a lot of opportunities
If there aren’t, you can make them
Make or break them