I am thrilled to announce that today is the official e-commerce launch of Sunday Intimates, a new full-bust brand based in Los Angeles that offers bras in sizes 28-34 D-H (UK cup sizes, which include DD, FF, and GG). I met Tannis Mann and Simonette Lowy, the founders of Sunday Intimates, at Curve NY in August, where their beautiful, incredibly stylish full-bust lingerie and loungewear absolutely blew me away. I have literally been saving money to buy my own set ever since.
I’m also delighted to share with you an exclusive interview with Tannis and Simonette. Spoiler: I’m in awe of both these ladies. Not only are they just about the nicest people on the planet, their knowledge of the market, their fresh and beautiful sense of style, and their passion for the product and future customers is really inspiring.
How did you all meet? When did you realize your shared interest in full-bust lingerie was something you wanted to pursue professionally?
TANNIS: We met in the seventh grade during a dance class at school. We were doing jazz walks across the floor, when Simonette said to me, “You go, girl!” It was instant friendship.
SIMONETTE: We were both late bloomers. We didn’t fill this niche (literally) until college. We would come back home during vacation time and talk about how we couldn’t find bras that fit us properly. Back then, we were shopping at Victoria’s Secret and didn’t realize that this size range even existed. As we became better informed about the lingerie market, we realized we could find bras in our size, but none that met our aesthetic needs and desires. We wanted to wear bras that fit and supported us, while still being fun and hip. We wished we could design our own bras and, when we both found ourselves looking to make a career change, we decided to take a leap of faith and start Sunday Intimates.
Do you have a fashion or design background? How have your previous careers and interests helped shape the creation of Sunday Intimates?
TANNIS: Zero. And it has been a huge learning curve for us. Sure, we grew up in Los Angeles and have always shared an interest in fashion and design, but I was working at a talent agency prior to this.
SIMONETTE: And I was working at an arts and cultural museum.
TANNIS: That said, we had vision and we both appreciate visual mediums. We are both dancers. I studied film in college and Simonette studied art history. We can see designs in our minds before bringing them to fruition.
SIMONETTE: In some ways, not coming from a fashion background is a strength for us. We had different perspectives on business, which have helped guide our decision-making process in this endeavor. But, we are new to this and continue to learn more every day about the business and ourselves.
TANNIS: We have, also, been so lucky to have supportive friends and family who have served as resources and sounding boards to us when we’ve come up against new challenges.
What are some of your inspirations for your first collection? Are there any particular people, places, images, films, or songs that really captured the look you were going for?
SIMONETTE: We really love how women were presented particularly in the 40s and 50s—this idea that curves are sexy and beautiful. It’s disappointing to us how this notion has evolved over time in the media and we wanted to bring back the retro ideals of beauty and femininity.
TANNIS: But, we still wanted it to feel fresh and modern! We started off researching pin-up artists, such as Gil Elvgren and Vargas. Taking inspiration from their work, we designed a collection that celebrates the female form, made up of beautiful pieces that we wanted to wear.
I really love the name: it feels like lingerie I want to wear an on an ordinary day, yet it’s something special and unusual all at the same time. Will we see other bras besides the Monday and Tuesday inspired by different days of the week?
TANNIS: The name came from the Etta James song, “Sunday Kind of Love.” We were drawn to this idea of “a love to last past Saturday night.” The same is true of our collection. They are sexy pieces that work for the boudoir, but they are also meant for you to live your life in. Form and function.
The UK has been a major leader in the full-bust market for a long time, so it’s really exciting to have a new brand that’s designed and made in the USA. How did you decide manufacture locally? Have there been any unique challenges or opportunities?
SIMONETTE: We are so proud to produce in Los Angeles and support our local economy. Plus, we can go check up our production regularly and ensure things are up to our standards. This luxury is not without its challenges, though. Our bras are more expensive to sew than ones sewn outside of the US. This drives up the purchase price of our product, which has not been an easy sell to retailers. We hope that retailers and consumers recognize the importance of buying/selling local-made goods and will support our growth.
TANNIS: It was also difficult to find a factory to take on our production. The apparel industry in LA is driven by denim and swimwear. You tell people you want to manufacture intimates and they look at you like you’re from Mars. Fortunately, we landed somewhere with a positive outlook and capable hands.
What’s it been like preparing for the launch? How did you go about sourcing materials and production venues? Did you face any challenges in terms of developing the full size range or any particular style?
SIMONETTE: It has been a rewarding experience for us, but has had many ups and downs. As we said, we had to start from scratch when it came to developing the product. We did a lot of research and asked many questions. We visited textile showrooms around town and had swatches sent to us from anywhere and everywhere—Belgium, Italy, Japan, New Jersey…
TANNIS: The size range was definitely a challenge. We, originally, planned to carry 36 and 38 bands in addition to what we currently stock. There were so many complications involved though and we had to scale it back and come to terms with start-up/indie brand reality. Down the road, we’d love to expand our size range.
Have there been any surprises along the way, pleasant or otherwise?
SIMONETTE: Many surprises! Everyone warned us that nothing happens as you expect in this industry and even with that advice in our heads, it can still come as a shock. We find that all of our deadlines come and go and we almost always have to reevaluate our plans. I would say that everyday something unexpected happens. Sometimes it’s great news and sometimes it’s not so good. It has been such a learning curve for us to adapt, change, and learn how to just get it all done against the odds.
We are lucky to have each other. When one of us is down, the other can build her back up. Our process is a dialogue with multiple opinions and visions, allowing us to create something different and special.
Knowing what you know now, what’s the single biggest piece of advice you’d give an aspiring independent full-bust designer?
TANNIS: Ask us in five years! We’re still on the receiving end of that spectrum! If we had to offer one piece of advice, it would be to be flexible. Things aren’t always going to turn out how you want, but if you are amenable to change, there is always a solution.
The full-bust world has grown so much over the last few years, but even with all the new players and new designs, Sunday still feels really special and unique: sophisticated and luxurious without being stodgy or dated, fresh and fashion-focused without being frilly or girlish. I assume this was deliberate, so I’d love to know: who is the Sunday customer? For having such a unique look, I feel like the brand has the potential for really broad appeal.
SIMONETTE: Thank you! It’s so nice to hear that, because we wanted to create an ageless lifestyle collection. We think our debut line achieves this goal—Your mom would feel completely at ease in a Sunday Intimates bra, but your younger sister would love to rock it as well. We decided a while back to write our version of, “Who is the Sunday Girl?” (See below)
“She is sexy yet approachable. She is nostalgic for the past but looks forward to her exciting future. She is comfortable in her own skin but enjoys slipping on Sunday Intimates at any moment, for any occasion.”
Apart from your website, where else can customers find Sunday Intimates?
TANNIS: While you can only find the bras and undies on our website, we are pleased to announce that ModCloth.com began carrying a selection of our sleepwear in January.
Your first collection was so stunning I can’t wait to see what’s next! Do you have any goals for future seasons, in terms of the kinds of garments and the sizes you offer? Any major design inspirations for 2014?
TANNIS: Like we said, we hope to expand our size range and, eventually, we’d love to add swimwear into the mix. More immediately, we just redesigned our website to accommodate e-commerce and our new lifestyle blog.
SIMONETTE: For AW14, expect to see something a bit more sultry and dark. We took inspiration from Film Noir, so it’s definitely a different vibe from SS14. For sneak peaks, make sure to follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and the new blog.
A huge thank you to Tannis and Simonette for sharing the Sunday journey with us! The Sunday Intimates e-commerce site goes live today, and you can begin placing preorders. Bras are available in sizes 28 DD-H and 30-34 D-H (UK cup sizes: D, DD, E, F, FF, G, GG, H), knickers in sizes XS-L, and loungewear in sizes S, M, L, and S/M or M/L. I can’t wait to place my order! Which style from the lookbook catches your eye?