NewyearNewUs New Year New Us!

New Year New Us!

NewyearNewUs New Year New Us!

Welcome to our new and improved home!

We thought it was time for a makeover. Our look was, well, so 2016.  Everyone deserves a new ‘do after 5 years.

For our redesign, the goal is to help our customers better understand our features and benefits at a glance. The big headline of “Get Shorter Straps Without Sewing” plus icons will hopefully do the trick. (and, they are pretty!)

image New Year New Us!

Saving Straps On the Move

We also wanted to make our site more mobile-friendly, as ~70% of our visits are from a mobile phone. We have new mobile-friendly hero images (just visit us on your phone, if you haven’t already, and you’ll see!), descriptive icons and reviews from our customers. Even our mobile navigation offers a better user experience.

Our shop page, specifically, is now a full product page with more information about buying, using, and exchanging Strap Savers. No more sifting through our FAQ (which is now accordion-style and easier to use) We were also able to include some of our beautiful lifestyle images. We think that this will help to better explain our product. 

Getting the word out

We’ve spiffed up our marketing plans as well. A friend has been kind enough to help us build a new adwords campaign – and offered to pitch in on some social media marketing. It’s not just about building a good website but also a great go-to-market strategy. Sure, we’re not exactly brand new but to those that haven’t heard of us, we are! 

Personally, I’m looking forward to 2021 for so many reasons – and not just because 2020 was incredibly difficult (understatement, I know). Even though New Years is somewhat arbitrary (isn’t  every day the first day of the rest of your life?), but humans love milestones and a fresh start. I’ll buy in to this for all of the right reasons (but none of the icky ones)

I couldn’t have done it without you.

I want to thank everyone who helped to make this happen – Beth, who did all of the beautiful design work. Marc, for all of his tech advice and general support. Courtney for her help with Google Ads and pulling me back from my scorched-earth keyword approach. And, of course, all of the friends of the Strap Saver who helped to test and offered opinions on UX. 

From all of us at The Strap Saver, we wish all of you a safe and healthy 2021. 

a figure of a woman balancing on a pyramid with the text finidng balance

Past Time For An Update

TimeUpdate Past Time For An Update

This morning, I went to a yoga class. Ok, I was encouraged by Beth and pushed a bit by Marc but I went. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to go, it’s just that I have a lot that I need to do. But, it didn’t take a lot of cajoling because I knew I would be better for it. (Although, somehow, it didn’t occur to me that it had been months since my last one and I would be in pain after.)

I really enjoyed the class. A year ago, I would have focused on blogs that that needed to be written, inventory issues that needed addressing, analytics that needed analyzing, and website plug-ins that needed updating. All very important tasks, of course. Often, as soon as I would sit down at the computer, I’d find myself down a rabbit hole, researching something potentially important but not on the task list. It didn’t accomplish what I needed and didn’t make me feel good

If it’s not mine to spend, who’s is it?

At the beginning of 2018, I decided to be more frugal with my time. I wanted to be more mindful so that I wasn’t wasting it. My goal was to gain the most from it. I can’t believe how much has changed in a little over 12 months.

It started prior to one of our vacations. I had an overwhelming amount to accomplish both personally and for the business. In order to complete it all before we left, I simply set up lists of everything that needed to be done, day by day. It was exhausting but I managed it. By the time that we left, I was confident that every detail was covered and that I could relax and enjoy my trip. I understood then that I could make it through anything if I was methodical and focused.

It was an important lesson. Despite my endless endeavors, I’m finding a balance. I’m happier in the moment, without feeling rushed, even if I’m busy. My to do list no longer scares me (mostly), and I don’t need to push myself to get things done.

Kindness Counts

I thought I would need that internal (and often negative) push, but clearly I underestimated myself. I’m quite motivated in so many areas of my life. It feels good to be nicer to myself. Sometimes, like in the case of returning to yoga, or returning to this blog, it is hard to begin again. That’s why I surround myself by wonderful supportive people willing to give a nudge (or a shove) when they know it will help. (Hi Marc! Hi Beth!)

I’m impressed with how much of a success the past year’s endeavors have been and how much better I feel. I’ve made so much progress personally and professionally. I have less anxiety. I understand my capabilities more. I’m healthier. The business is in a better place, which means we’ve helped more women and donated more to charity.

I haven’t yet begun to think of my next goal. As I consider that my kitchen needs cleaning and it’s time to do laundry, I think inventing my very own Rosie (robot maid from the Jetsons) to make life a little easier might be my next task…

a girl with a computer sitting on a blue chair looking at 5 yellow stars and the text: let us know what you think

Please, Please Tell Me Now!

Survey2019 Please, Please Tell Me Now!

In the epic words of Duran Duran:

Please, please tell me now
Is there something I should know?
Is there something I should say?
That would make you come my way

And now you’ll have the opportunity! The Strap Saver is now accepting reviews on Google. To tell us (and everyone else!) how you feel, click here, log in with your Google ID, and speak your mind. We want to hear how you liked your purchase and how happy you are with our customer service. We’re excited to share the feedback that we receive.

We know that nothing is more important than the words of your fellow shopper. While we love the Strap Saver and will mention it to anyone who will listen, we certainly understand that you might not take our word for it. With every new product, there is always hesitation. Sure, we offer a “love it or your money back guarantee” and a generous exchange policy, but that still requires effort.

So…. Rescue a favorite bra? Get the perfect fit from a treasured dress or tank top? Get some extra workouts from a tired sports bra? Extend the life of the perfect bathing suit? Think The Strap Saver is the bees knees? Shout it out! Sharing your experience will help to guide your fellow consumers through the wild world of internet shopping to the safe haven of custom-length straps without sewing. (ok, I might’ve gone a little too far there)

We can’t wait to hear what you have to say, so get your Google id and click here. (although, if you have something you’d rather tell us in private, you can always contact us directly through our website or email us.)

If you don’t have a Google id, It’s easy to sign up for one. Just click here! While we don’t endorse Google products specifically, we do use many of them in the day to day running of the company and like anything that helps us get the word out!.

Models from the AnaOno MetaVivor Fashion Show, words like fearless and ambitious written on their screen

All the feelings with AnaOno and Metavivor

metavior All the feelings with AnaOno and Metavivor

(This blog was originally written on February 10th, 2019, on my way home from the city)

Today Beth and I went to the 3rd Annual New York Fashion Week Fundraiser Metavivor fashion show featuring AnaOno. Being on the fringes of both the lingerie and the breast cancer awareness worlds, we only found out about it at the last minute. I snagged two tickets. It was going to be an afternoon out, a treat for a long year of hard work. I don’t know if it was the busy week or just general lack of foresight, but I did not have an inkling of what I was about to encounter. Maybe it’s better that way, maybe I experienced it more deeply. Maybe the surprise was what lead me to feel ALL of the feelings.

Anger: I think everyone feels this. Why? Why is this happening? Why are we losing these beautiful men and women? Why isn’t there more funding? How can we let 1 out of 3 women who are diagnosed, die? It’s our mothers, sisters, wives, girlfriends daughters… and fathers, brothers, boyfriends and son. It falls into the category of NOT FAIR.

IMG 1115 All the feelings with AnaOno and Metavivor

Sad: Metavivor is about raising money and awareness for stage 4 breast cancer. Stage 4 is the kind that kills. My mom’s second diagnosis was at stage 4. It was a huge blow to find that we were already that far in the process right at the start. I wanted to hug every man and woman in the room. Everyone in the world. I wanted to infuse them with my strength. I knew I could not. Did I mention NOT FAIR?

Lonely: In early March, it will be 4 years since I lost my mom. I miss her every single day. It’s my new normal and while I’ve (mostly) gotten used to it, but it doesn’t mean that I like it. So much discussion about metastatic breast cancer brought back so many of the bad memories. It was such an awful, frustrating time. She should still be here. There are so many daughters around the world that probably say the same thing. I know my mother said it about her mother.

IMG 1080 All the feelings with AnaOno and Metavivor

Frustration: Why is there so little research for something that kills so many? We’ve made great strides in so many other diseases, and with stage 0 and 1. Why have we, as a society, thrown in the towel at stage 4? These men and women deserve every moment of their lives as much as someone at Stage 1.

Amazement: These folks have Stage 4 Metastatic breast cancer. They’re out in the world, not only fighting for their own survival, but working to raise money and secure grants for those that are not yet diagnosed. At a time when they could and should be focused on themselves, they chose to make contributions that will leave a lasting legacy.

Happy: The women in the fashion show were having a great time. They were beautiful. They were powerful. They owned that catwalk. Everyone in the audience was under their spell. I doubt most people will know how that kind of adoration feels, not that it is the reason that they participated – but I’m sure it didn’t hurt.

IMG 1136 All the feelings with AnaOno and Metavivor
Dana, waiving from back stage

Hopeful: The room was buzzing with the energy of people who were there to help. From the corporate sponsors to the folks like us, who bought standing room only tickets because it was the best that they could do. The men and women on the stage were out there because they had hope that there could be a better future – one with a treatment and maybe even a cure. We were all united by hope.

I decided to honor my mom and her attitude towards life and take hope home with me. We donate part of our sales to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation because we know that things will get better. When I think about what my grandmother went through in the mid-1980s and compare it to today’s treatments, it’s a whole different world. Hopefully, in another few years we’ll be saying the same about now.

We had the pleasure of meeting Dana of AnaOno a few years ago. If we were impressed with her before, it pales in comparison to the amazing things that we saw at the fashion show. Please check out AnaOno for some amazing fashions, built for women designed specifically for those affected by breast cancer and breast surgeries. (but wonderful for everyone!)

Red bra on a clothesline with clothespins with hearts on them, text reads fall in love with our sale

Sale Around The World on Valentine’s Day

TSS lovesale 1 Sale Around The World on Valentine's Day

It’s almost Valentine’s Day!

While that marks the start of my favorite season (chocolate bunny), it also means it is time for annual sale! Once again, we’re marking down all of our Strap Savers by 20%. Yes, that still includes our “save $5 for every additional pair” pricing. The first Strap Saver is $12.50 and each additional pair is $8. We still have free first class shipping in the US and $2 anywhere else in the world. The Breast Cancer Research Foundation will still receive 5% of all sales. Woo hoo!

For our international customers, I’ve spent some time doing some serious math. We’re going to cover all of Valentine’s Day, from Auckland, New Zealand to Honolulu, Hawaii! We won’t limit your opportunity to save because you happen to live on the other side of the globe. The sale will actually run 8AM on Wednesday, February 13th to 6AM ET on Friday, February 15th at 5AM ET.

Like last year, we’re not going to require a coupon code to receive the discount. We really hate games with sales. It is simple – you buy, we apply the discount, and you get a custom fit from your favorite strappy clothes.

To recap:

Annual Sale

2/13 6AM ET to 2/15 5AM ET

20% off the entire site (excluding gift certificates)

No coupon required!

Although our sale will technically be 47 hours long, it only happens once a year. Don’t miss your chance to stock up and save. Bathing suit season is in full swing/right around the corner – depending on your hemisphere! Your straps deserve a little love this Valentine’s day.

drawing of hands wringing out fabric with water dripping from it, text: no more rinsing

Confessions of a Former Machine Washer

Two hands wringing the water out of a pink piece of clothing with the text no more rinsing

I’ve never liked hand washing my lingerie. It felt like a dreaded chore, similar to having to take out the trash on a freezing cold night, after you’re already in bed. My only experiences were with Woolite, which mean rinsing over and over until all of the suds were gone. I even wrote a post about ways to care for your bras without getting your hands dirty (clean?) to ease my guilt of not taking the time to take better care of my delicates.  You’d think it would be easier to do what I know is right than to assemble a list of work-arounds (which are all good ideas, I promise!) but sometimes I’m a bit stubborn. (ok, maybe not only sometimes.)

This year, at CurvExpo, I met Jacqueline Sava of Soak, a no-rinse lingerie wash. I had heard of these types of detergents, but I’m not sure I fully understood the concept (given the description, not a clue how I missed it…). Jacqueline explained that it was as simple as the product name. The directions were to soak my bras per the instructions and then hang them to try.  No endless rinsing required.

I have used Euclan, another no-rinse wash, which I picked up at Sweetest Sin, my favorite lingerie store. Unfortunately, I was using it in the washing machine which was still prematurely aging my bras with the harsh conditions of the agitator. Even in cold water. Even in lingerie bags. Even with the proper detergent.

Looking back, I think the second hardest leap for me (after the rinsing) was putting my bras in the sink, the same place where I spit toothpaste. Sure, I could clean the sink, but it would never *feel* clean enough. One day it hit me, I could use a plastic tub and quarantine my bras from any potential saliva residue (which is touted as an option on both websites, but I never bothered to look). I set out to try the no-rinse washes right away! It worked just as described, without a residual sud in sight.

I’ve tried both Soak and Euclan and like them both. Hurray Kimmay, one of our lingerie gurus, touted the benefits of Soak on Rachel Ray recently. I trust her judgement. Angela, the owner of Sweetest Sin, has impeccable taste and if she stocks Euclan, it must be good. Jacqueline recommended that I put the different washes in water and then see how they feel on my hand. (which I have not done yet)

My recommendation is to give one or both a try!  I know that they cost more than regular laundry detergent, but quality bras are costly as well. We’re all about extending the life of our lingerie here at The Strap Saver, which sometimes means spending a little more now to save later.

Have you tried the no-rinse lingerie washes?  If so, what do you think?

Also – thank you to both Soak and Euclan for clearly stating “a minimum of 15 minutes” on their website – making it clear that when I get caught up writing a blog entry and my bras stay submerged for 30 minutes or more, I haven’t done any damage.

Images of Shari in a bikini while on vacation in the caribbean with the ext do not let your mind bully your body

What I Like About You!

Shari in a bathing suit in the Caribbean with the words "Do not let your mind bully your body"

A few weeks ago I was on vacation with a group of friends – lucky to be in beautiful Leeward islands of the Lesser Antilles. (who says this blog can’t be educational too?) The scenery was amazing and the food was delicious.

The one “flaw in the plan” was my bathing suit. I didn’t heed my own advice and waited until late July to shop. Given my proportions, the pickings were slim. I ended up wearing something I didn’t love – a bikini. I was grateful to have found swim shorts to wear over the bottoms, but the rest was still very much… a bikini.  

On a particularly sunny day, we took a catamaran ride to Nevis for sightseeing and some time at the beach. A few friends complimented me on the suit and how I looked. I responded with the sentiment that it was the only suit that I could find and at least I’d found shorts to cover up my thighs because… no one wants to see that.

Suddenly, the uselessness of what I’d said hit me. I quickly corrected myself to say I was happy that I’d found shorts because I wasn’t comfortable in bikini bottoms. (I do not condone body shaming in others, and was careful to apply the same logic to myself, even if it was after the fact.) After making a mental note to consider my word choice next time, I continued to enjoy the sun and the sand.

Later that afternoon, as we sped back to St. Kitts, the conversation echoed in my head. It was a beautiful, perfect day, spent in and around gorgeous water. Why was my first instinct to hide my body? Why was I concerned about what impact viewing my body had on others?

I also thought about the first-ever body positivity seminar at CurvExpo in June. Kimmay Caldwell, Hurray Kimmy, who I consider lovely, expressed that she felt her body didn’t fit the expectations of her Hispanic heritage. (at least, that was my interpretation of what she said!) Instead of holding herself to someone else’s standard, she confidently stars in photo shoots in lingerie, proud of who she is and how she takes care of herself. 

Why was I going to let any negativity intrude on my beautiful day? The shape of my body doesn’t make a difference, and doesn’t require an apology. Inspired by Kimmay’s own unretouched images, I asked a friend to take a picture of me just as I was – sweaty, with windblown hair. (full of salt, too, from our swim in the ocean) I work hard to take care of me because I’m worth it and I took time to honor that.

How will you celebrate you in 2019?

map of the world in different shades of purple with the words does local matter

Is it all location, location, location?

ShopLocal Is it all location, location, location?There has been a lot of discussion about the merits of trade lately. I’m not going to comment. This is not the place and I am not an economist – but it got me thinking about The Strap Saver (like I think of much else…), how we produce our product and our business partners. We do our best to consider location and work with other regional, small businesses. What does this do for us? Does it matter to the customer?

The stainless steel shape is cut in Michigan. One place near Philly and another in Florida help us put on that beautiful black and tan coating. Our website developer is located at the Jersey Shore. Of course, all of the packaging, accounting and marketing is done at our HQ in Englishtown, NJ and satellite office in Hackensack, NJ.

We’ve had several people comment about making the product elsewhere. Wouldn’t it be cheaper? Possibly, but right now I can’t see the benefit. I like being able to call my vendors at any point, without worrying about time zones or expensive phone bills. They are experts in their fields, just as I am an expert at shortening straps and being sarcastic on this blog. It’s great to be able to collaborate. If I have a problem, it is easy to resolve quickly. We’ve been lucky (or smart) enough to find vendors that are invested in our product as well.

Our digital partners have all been local as well. In the past two years, we’ve done a lot of remodeling on our site. Many suggested that we go through freelancing websites to find cheap developers. I’m sure that many people have had great success with those sites, but it wasn’t for us. Our web developer is just a quick phone call away or, if need be, about 45 minutes by car for a face to face meeting. The poor guy, he hears from me at least once a week. “Hey, can we do this? Or this? Or this?” I’m sure he’d prefer a little distance from time to time! (Hi Robert! We’ll have to grab pizza again soon!)

For the record, I am not judging those that use manufacture/web development bidding websites to find the lowest price or that choose to manufacture elsewhere. For some, it may be the difference between getting ahead and going under. Nobody wins when a company goes bankrupt. We’re not opposed to working with someone we haven’t met face to face. Quality is always the deciding factor, not price.

Now that we’ve walked through WHY I prefer to work with small businesses, I’m back to wondering if it matters. Do customers care? Is there an assumption of quality with small businesses/local vendors? Does that influence how you shop?

meter showing the temperature of health

According to a New Study

Healthtemp According to a New StudyLast month, during my yearly R.I.S.E. program (special surveillance for women with a high breast cancer risk) visit at Memorial Sloan Kettering, I asked about a study I’d heard about on the news. Health headlines don’t normally impress me, but this one was compelling. A very large, very long study in Denmark determined that the newer, low dose birth control pills were linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. Doctors had previously thought that the smaller doses of hormones were safer.

The study followed 1.8 million Danish women for more than 10 years and found that there were an additional 13 cases for every 100,000 women among the birth control users. The risk increased with age and length of time on the pill. They did not consider additional factors like family history or lifestyle.

I wanted to know what this meant for the average women.  I met with Joanne Falletta Cregg, MS, MPH, APN-BC, and my interpretation of her response was that the study was based on valid, informed science. She didn’t seem surprised at all, given everything that she knows about breast cancer and the female body. Any introduction of additional hormones bears watching. Together, we concluded that every woman who is taking hormonal contraceptives should be made aware of this new/not-so-new risk. (disclaimer: I work in marketing… so consult your doctor for taking any of this advice!)

Joanne (as she prefers to be called) also said that even though the study was noteworthy, every situation is different. While it is important to work to lower cancer risk, it is also important to balance that with quality of life. For some women, preventing pregnancy is a matter of health and many women take hormonal birth control pills for other reasons. (for cramps, for acne, or simply to stay regular to preserve the option to have children when they are ready)  Some of these concerns might outweigh the increased risk. (We are simply discussing medical conditions here. Personal reproductive choices are just that, personal.)

In addition, Joanne told me about MSK research into the power of exercise to lower Breast Cancer risk (PDF). They learned that 2-3 hours of moderately intense exercise a week can reduce breast cancer risk up to 9% and 5-6 hours can reduce it by 30%. I could tell that she knew I was immediately impressed by this information. She also cautioned against taking on too much by immediately jumping from my current 1-2 hours to 6+ hours of aerobic exercise a week. Drastic changes can lead to injury which will only add stress. Stress is a contributing factor to inflammation and something that every pamphlet about preventing Breast Cancer tells me to avoid.

By the time our visit was complete, I felt that I was armed with the information that I needed to make decisions about my health. It is wonderful to be able to bring these questions to my appointment and walk away with clear answers. I was concerned that once she heard “I heard about this study on the news”, she would roll her eyes. Instead, Joanne was easy to talk to and genuinely interested in my well-being. I feel that this type of relationship that makes collaboration for the best health outcomes possible. I’ll keep you posted!

GREAT NEWS! For first three months of 2018, donations from The Strap Saver to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation will be matched, up to $5000. This means that we will raise $1.50 for the first Strap Saver in every purchase and $1.00 for each additional Strap Saver. We have a chance to make a big contribution in a short period of time, so let’s get shopping! Offer expires March 31, 2018.

Woman in a black dress leaning backwards with her arms over hear head, with red streamers coming from behind her, text get a second chance at love with 20% off, all day Feb 21st get 20% off everything on the website

Come Sale Away with Us on February 21st!

vday2018 Come Sale Away with Us on February 21st!NOTE: We’re giving you a second chance at love this year!  Our annual sale will be on February 21st this year!

It’s time for our annual sale! If you’ve been a fan of The Strap Saver for a long time, you know the drill. We’re not a fan of price manipulators with gimmicks, but we do love a good deal. We don’t love faux holidays so we’ll give you something real to love – 20% off of the Strap Saver!

We’ve worked hard to improve the sale over the years. First, we required coupon codes.  It’s a marketing tactic, so that companies can trace where their advertising is most effective. We’ve decided if we’re going to have a sale, we’re going to make it accessible to all. Second, I don’t think we’ve made sure to cover all time zones although we’ve tried.  In the last year, we’ve shipped to 4 continents, so we’re going to cover February 21st around the world, from morning in Auckland to the end of the day in Hawaii.  This may mean that some of you get more than one day to shop our sale, but that’s a risk we’re willing to take. Every Kiwi is just as important as every resident of the USA.

This is your chance to STOCK UP AND SAVE.  Much like Valentine’s Day, it’s a once a year event. Unlike this Hallmark holiday, once it’s gone, you’ll regret that you didn’t act now!

Don’t forget that you’re shopping for a cause!  5% of your sale goes to benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation! Through March 31, 2018, all donations will be matched, included every purchase from this sale, so buy a lot to give a lot!