ThirdLove, the data-driven bra company founded in 2013 by former Google marketer Heidi Zak (who was inspired after she struggled to find a bra that didn’t gap or tug), has gained a reputation for making some of the best-fitting bras and having one of the easiest at-home try-before-you-buy programs. In 2016, sales quadrupled, and with an infusion of $8 million in funding, Zak has begun applying her brand’s computer-vision algorithms to a new range of products. Here are three ways she is creating the most inclusive lingerie on the market.
Pluses and Minuses
Many women fall between traditional size designations. Shortly after it launched, ThirdLove conducted a global study of 2.5 million women and gathered 9 million data points about the cup sizes they really need. Almost immediately, the company began offering half-cup options, and is still the only one to do so. Today, ThirdLove carries 47 sizes, from AA to G, and nearly 40% of its sales are half-cup sizes.
In 2017, Zak expanded ThirdLove’s definition of inclusivity beyond size to skin tone. As she studied customer feedback, she discovered that women of color were frustrated by bras labeled “nude”—a pinkish-beige color widely used in the market. “They felt totally underserved,” Zak says. “Colors that were supposed to be skin tone would show right through white blouses.” After a year of research and data analysis, ThirdLove debuted five new shades in February that Zak calls the New Nakeds, which suit a wider swath of customers and come in all 47 sizes.
A Nursing Bra That Works
In May 2017, Zak launched a line of comfortable, functional bras for nursing mothers, another typically underserved group. Existing nursing bras generally don’t offer much support and come in fabrics that can irritate sensitive breast tissue. ThirdLove’s are made with ultrasoft modal cotton and feature clasps and wide front closures that allow women to easily breast-feed their babies—or use a breast pump—without having to completely disrobe. “Over the past four years I’ve been pregnant and nursing twice, part of the time pumping at work,” Zak says. “There was a huge opportunity to design comfortable nursing bras that new mothers can confidently face the world in.”