Apricotton, a company dedicated to helping teenage girls find the perfect bra makes a stand in a business that capitalizes off the recurrence of its customers. Often intimidating and difficult to navigate, lingerie and undergarment stores have been known to attract more mature customers and leave newly-developed shoppers paralyzed. In hopes of making the transition into puberty smoother and instill confidence in its customers, Apricotton offers a product that grows as you do! This company, founded by Western Ivey graduates Jessica Miao and Chloe Beaudoin, aims at eliminating the awkwardness often experienced when shopping for your first bra and has expanded all over Canada and the U.S.! Read on to learn more about their personal journey through entrepreneurship.
What inspired you to start your journey as an entrepreneur?
“I didn’t know I was going to go into entrepreneurship at all,” says Chloe. In their last year of business school, their idea for their final project stemmed from a discussion about puberty and how awkward it was. Even though it’s something the founders themselves went through 10 years ago, it’s happening to girls today which is why Apricotton prides itself in trying to solve the issue of bra shopping for tween girls. However, the story is a bit different for Jessica who always knew she wanted to be an entrepreneur. While taking her 12-year-old sister bra shopping, she saw firsthand how difficult and awkward it was for her in lingerie stores. By compiling their experiences, both Chloe and Jessica set on a journey that would lead them to help teenage girls own their transition into puberty.
What have been your greatest challenges? Like many other businesses, a lot of the issues they encountered have stemmed from COVID-19. Chloe explains that “we didn’t have any experience with fashion design so we had to find a manufacturer and because it was right at the beginning of the pandemic, all the manufacturers were closed down and didn’t have room for production. In the end, it took us about 2-3 months to find a manufacturer”.
Funny enough, another issue the pair encountered was selling out of the majority of their inventory! After launching in November and having a week-long boxing day sale, Apricotton ended up selling out of about 80% of their inventory. While it was a positive surprise, Jessica and Chloe weren’t able to cater to more customers who wanted to order throughout the holidays. “ We were out of stock from January to March and it felt like we were completely stunting our growth”.
What do you enjoy the most about being an entrepreneur? “It’s been cool to explore the fashion industry and seeing girls all across North America wear our bras. Similarly, we feel so lucky to have a product that people really resonate with and a platform where people feel safe enough to reach out to us for advice” says Jessica. Through social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok as well as personal emails from moms and daughters, girls have reached out asking questions like “how to shop for bras'' and “how to ask your mom for a bra”. It’s evident that Jessica and Chloe have prioritized communication with customers and seen real-time feedback about their product. They have both agreed that being able to provide advice to girls starting their transition into puberty has been very rewarding and ultimately accomplishes the goal of increasing the confidence of their customers.
What has been your proudest moment as an entrepreneur?
Chloe recounts that their proudest moment was receiving their first review.
“It was one of our first customers who said that she cried when she got the bras because her daughter didn’t feel comfortable wearing bras to school and felt really self-conscious about her body. But when she got our bras, that completely changed and she started embracing the changes her body was going through. Seeing that our product was working really validated that we were on the right track and making meaningful change”.
Additionally, Apricotton has received requests from TikTok to ship out their product internationally! The ability to ship internationally has been difficult to do but they hope to grow to a point where they can ship their bras around the world.
What are your goals for the future? In the short term, Apricotton hopes to launch new bra styles. “At the moment we only have three (teaser: a fourth will be launching very soon) and we want to have a base collection for girls who are looking for a simpler bra” explains Chloe.
To add, the founders look to keep building their community on social media so that girls can feel more comfortable with reaching out about their puberty-related questions.
“In the long-term, we really want our own office and showroom to plan ideas, pack and have photoshoots!” For the time being Jessica and Chloe package everything at home so they are looking forward to an expansion in the future.
What advice would you give to your younger self in regards to starting your own business? “If you have a good idea, just start!” advises Jessica. Completing small goals like choosing brand colours, coming up with a name and logo, will help you gain momentum when starting your own company. Instead of planning for big goals, like the launch of your business, focus on all of the baby steps it takes to get there helps the process become easier.
Through the story of how Apricotton came to be as well as the success it’s achieved, it’s clear that entrepreneurship is all about finding a problem and learning how to solve it! For Jessica and Chloe, the goal continues to be mitigating the discomfort often felt when shopping for bras in one’s teen years.
If you have any more questions about the product or have any general inquiries, feel free to reach out to Jessica and Chloe via their social media platforms @apricottongirls or visit their website https://apricotton.ca/!
This blog is part of #GoGetterMovement spotlight series: Arise N' Go believes that no goal is too small as long as you believe in your potential. Through these blogs, our goal is to display the stories of other individuals in our community and showcase their hard work in order to inspire others. We hope these stories prompt you to embrace your true self, be proud of your individuality, and take the leap to do what you love. To learn more visit our about us page.