Today’s interview reveals another courageous Romanian who has brought a disruptive idea to life. This time we talk about bras, about women feeling good in their body, about sensuality, all with the help of Anca and her newly founded business. Believe it or not, she can build a custom-made bra for each women, based only on a 5-minute survey! What’s all about, how did she come up with this idea and what’s so unique with her approach, in our dialogue below.
Name: Anca Barsan
Abroad since: November 2015
Living in: Berlin
Current position & company: Founder of Amoreze made to measure lingerie
TGR: Anca, first and foremost, I’m surprised to learn about you, leaving a seemingly perfect job in Bucharest for a completely unknown experience. What made you take this decision?
AB: Well, it was one of the most difficult decisions in my life. I was having a nice job, well paid, working for one of the biggest company in home appliances. My whole life, friends and family were there. I was having all the comfort and the stability a person needs in his life. But I was missing the job satisfaction, the purpose. I wanted so badly to do something for myself, to create a concept out of the ordinary, to put myself out there thru my art… I felt at that moment that Bucharest was not ready for that. So, together with my boyfriend we decided to give it a try to a new place.
Why Berlin and not any other place on Earth?
First I would say, in terms of start-ups, Berlin is the place to be. It is the fastest growing startups ecosystem in the world, with startups like Sound Cloud and Zalando who in this moment are leaders in their sectors in Germany. The economy is stable, the city is developing every day. There are more and more investors coming to Berlin than in no other place.
Another criteria was lifestyle: Berlin has one of the world’s most incredible music + nightlife scenes, if not the best. Eating out is ridiculously affordable and somewhat of a tradition for catching up with friends and colleagues. Cost of living is highly accessible - you can afford eating outside every day, there are barbeques in parks, there is a lot of freedom. You can be poor and still have tons of fun things to do.
For me, Berlin is the cultural capital of the world. The city hosts some great international events, the city culture is full with openness, creativity and transformation. Berlin is exciting and diverse and it offers something for everyone.
And this perfect environment helped you come up with the Amoreze idea... How did you think of that? It's not like you had any previous business experience in the lingerie industry...
The idea came up while shopping, when I realized that the same problem I was facing, other women were having too. They were stuck in the fitting room with more bras they could handle, asking for more models, different sizes, only to discover in the end that not even one of them was “the perfect fit“ or close to what they were looking for. It was either sexy but super uncomfortable or worse: comfortable but grandma style. After several washes, the elasticity being lost, they were becoming slightly more comfortable but highly aesthetical.
The more I studied this problem, the more insights I was gathering, only to realize that buying the wrong bra can seriously alter your health. The problem was bigger that I could anticipate: 80% women don't neither know nor wear the correct bra size!
That was the moment when I realized that I could create the perfect piece of lingerie: a bra to be healthy, comfortable, wireless but also sexy and sensual. But how to do it when we, women, are so different?!
The answer came by itself: I will create a bra for each particular woman!
By the end of that day I had created my first bralette, handcrafted by me, for me, following closely all measurements and shapes of my body. It was life changing!
It seems you have found a perfect problem to solve…
I cannot stress this enough - the issues related to a bad fitted bra can have long-term effects on our health! So my main purpose is to keep the well-being sensation, healthy mind and body attitude, by unveiling the specific sensuality of each female.
Truth be told, your USP is absolutely amazing: a customized bra, based on a survey only! Was it difficult to change mentalities and make the first sell?
Together with a professional tailor I developed the MADE TO MEASURE quiz designing bras with women — and only women — in mind. Instead of using standard industry measurements, I developed half-cup sizes and unique bralette patterns, based on thousands of real women measurements. Every aspect of the Amoreze lingerie has been reinvented to maximize fit, comfort, and sexiness, as I believe the best bra is the one women tell me about.
What I discovered is that bras are still a tabu subject. Women complain about bras, but they never discuss with a specialist about it. What I wanted to change was to pass that awkward feeling when they are in the fitting room, just trying dozes bras. What I propose is to measure herself, in the comfort of her home, where she feels safe. The rest is on us. The whole process/quiz takes no more than 5 minutes, and once you place the order, we create the one-of-a kind piece that is cut, shaped and finished to flatter and fit to perfection.
The art of proper fitting lingerie is the expression of reality, of what we are offering: a handcrafted bra, to fit to perfection for each particular shape and dimension, for each female and not the other way around, as a tribute for our most beloved possession: breasts.
Yes, it is challenging to break buying patterns. What we discovered though is that once they bought something from us, they are coming back for the next purchase and they also encourage other people to place an order and give it a try.
Even though at a first look it would seem easier to go to a shop and try, try, try until you find your bra, we came with the proposal to save time. No more awkward fitting room moments, because what we offer is shaped by you, to be made for you.
Who is your ideal customer? Do men also buy from you?
I target females all over the world who are not afraid to feel good in their skin: combining comfort with sensuality. My ideal customer is the one who wants to be comfortable, but in the same time to be sexy, attractive and yet unique.
We also have men who are buying from us. Most of them are buying for the women in their life, they know how important is for them to feel good in their bra, or the ones who are purchasing harnesses for them. The body harnesses are unisex and we encourage everyone to give it a try.
How did you shape your business and what’s your future development?
The initial investment was based only on personal savings; we are currently in discussions with several investors and ONGs. It seems that the concept is catchy, design is out of the ordinary and generates a genuine interest in the business. Therefore, I am open to new investors and opportunities.
Amoreze is resonating with consumers because they trust us. They trust us for fit and hence they are loyal to us. The future for us is to become no 1 lingerie brand in custom-made garments. To continue to change women's life by promoting a different type of bra, where comfort is king!
How many employees do you currently have?
At this moment we are a team of 3, but we are looking further to enlarge our team.
Does an entrepreneur in the fashion industry still have time for herself? How do you spend it in a city like Berlin?
For sure! I think that is the main, genuine reason why people choose to follow the entrepreneurial path, for the freedom that comes along with it. I also discovered that I am not corporate material and a lifestyle that is bound 9 to 5 is simply not for me. It is hard work, but with that effort comes the ability to shape your life how you see fit.
On my free time, I am travelling a lot. When I cannot do that I like hanging out with friends. We are organizing park grills, board games nights or just lounging on a terrace for hours. There is so much activity in this city that everyday something new can be done. I participate to all kinds of meet-ups, entrepreneur’s seminars and camps, or just meet friends who are visiting Berlin, being the guide for them.
Do your many travels also include Romania?
I go back home with every chance I've got. We are buying some fabrics from Romania, so I am trying to combine business with pleasure. There is a big chance to move production to Romania, meaning that I will be there more and more
During holidays, for me it's a must to be home. There is no better or suitable place to spend holidays than with your loved ones!
What do you mostly miss about Romania? About home?!
The people, their warmth and the flexibility. They are open, polite and emotional. Latin blood.
Some of our traditional foods: vinete, sarmale, papanasi. But mostly my family and friends. And the weather: proper summers with temperatures over 30 Celsius. None of this grey, windy and wet weather which is dominant in Berlin.
Please tell me something particular about Romania that you would usually say to a foreign friend.
With every chance I have, I speak dearly about my country. Normally I would say that we are warm, sincere and fun! I encourage all my friends and acquaintances to come and visit, spend some time, get to know us! Most of them visited Romania more than one time.
I believe the best thing to say about Romania lies within us, in the power of example. If they appreciate, like or respect the person, automatically they will connect you to a place, to a country and try to determine some stereotypes. The example we set before the world will determine, in large measure, whether they will like us or not.
And I’m sure you are doing an excellent job in making foreigners connect to Romania! Thank you, Anca, for sharing your story, it's nice to see so much creativity and courage!
The Golden Romania
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