Woman Owned business / Bra Bridge
Alist Nation Magazine interviewed
Judith Samson founder of Bra Bridge. brabridge.com
Tell us a little about yourself and your childhood.
My name is Judith Samson, I just turned 50, have been married for 24 years and have 3 sons. I grew up in the Netherlands and moved to the US when I was 15 years old. My husband and I moved to MN approximately 23 years ago. I’m fortunate to call Amsterdam and Minnesota my homes.
When did you decide you wanted to start your own company?
I always knew I wanted to be my own boss. I prefer to lead rather than to follow. I started my own law firm in 1999. I tend to go into things with pure confidence and the expectation things will work out and I will figure it out as I go. Fortunately, my firm has been a success. I really had no plans to start another company until I invented the Bra Bridge. I came up with it not intended to start a business, but rather as a solution to my own personal bra fit issues that I was unable to address through bra fittings or trying different bra sizes or brands. So I created this clip that when applied to the bra would provide better overall support and also minimize bounce, sagging and side drift. When I looked at myself in the mirror, I could see an obvious difference. My friends and colleagues were also noticing a difference in the way my clothes fit and in my confidence level so I started to share my secret with other women. Before I knew it I was taking individual orders for the Bra Bridge and sewing the clips in my spare time. I started to receive a lot of positive feedback from women that were wearing it. That led to me taking it to the next level; mass production so that it would be available for all women!
Was there a specific moment when you knew this was what you wanted to do?
After I shared my idea with my husband and he was a on board, we started our plan. Coming up with the name Bra Bridge was the easy part. Neither of us had any prior experience in retail, or the knew the process of making a product. So we brought on two partners who had experience launching a brand and could assist in the areas that we did not have experience. We knew the right branding was important so we tackled that first as it would set the tone for all of our marketing vehicles from packaging to website, social media, advertising etc. Then we tackled each initiative step by step, including finding a manufacturer, designing the site and packaging, finalizing product development and so forth.
After you made the decisions, what steps did you take?
It took us 1 full year from conception to having the product landed on our door step.
How did you fund this project?
Bra Bridge was funded by my husband, me and our two partners.
What were the hardest hurdles?
We have run into a few hurdles along the way. The biggest hurdle was knowing how to educate women about the Bra Bridge. Because it didn’t exist in the market place, it’s challenging for women to understand how it works and how it can help them. Most women have been brainwashed to believe all the need is a bra fitting. Unfortunately, that is not true. Every bra brand sizes their bras differently so if you have been fitted for one brand, it doesn’t necessarily extend to a another brand. Most women wear bras that are too small and tend to be unflattering. The Bra Bridge makes every bra fit better and addresses issues such as too much bounce, not enough support, sagging and side drift.
What advise do you wish someone would have given you?
I wish someone had advised me on how to overcome the hurdles of your target market not understanding your product as we still struggle with that, but are grateful for so many customers that take the time to provide us with positive feedback. So we know Bra Bridge works, we just need to convince more women to give it a try!
Did you have a mentor?
I have one mentor. She started her business 5 plus years ago. She is the one I would email late at night or on the weekends and ask a million questions. We have never met in person but she is always willing to help me out.
At any point did you want to give up?
I am not the type to give up easily. I am so lucky with my law firm’s success and I expected Bra Bridge would simply follow suit, but that was not the case. Running this business is so much more challenging with many more ups and downs. The things that keeps me going are the positive reviews, people still ordering Bra Bridges. It reminds me this is a great product. So while there are definitely challenges, what drives me is knowing the impact this product can have on a woman. It is truly a game changer.
How long did it take to become profitable?
We are still building the brand and company and re-invest all profits back into the business. We knew that would be the best strategy, not to focus on immediate profits but long term growth. The best thing I did to grow the business was to drive publicity and press coverage by diligently reaching out to media outlets, newspapers, magazines and TV. Those media placements initiated a lot of interest as well as sales.
Do you feel it was more difficult because you are a women?
Since we are selling a product that is for women, it has been beneficial for me to be able to speak to our customers from a personal perspective. The fact that Bra Bridge was invented by a woman who couldn’t find a solution to bra fit issues, makes it much more relatable to other women experiencing the same issues.
Do you think social media is important?
Yes, social media is a crucial part of launching a new product as it offers the opportunity to continue to educate and build a relationship with those prospective customers who are interested in the product but haven’t been ready to make a purchase decision.
Was there any life lessons you learned along the way?
The life lesson for me is that not everything is easy or comes easy. My fearlessness doesn’t always translate into instant success. It takes years and years of hard work and patience. My happiest memory is simply seeing my idea come to life and having a positive effect on women.
Please tell us if COVID-19 has affected your business? If so, do you have a plan in place to try and get back on track?
Covid 19 has affected Bra Bridge. Sales have been impacted, unfortunately. People don’t have as much expendable income and are sticking to purchasing the essentials. In addition, there is not much bandwidth among consumers right now for new products that they are not already familiar with. Our plan is to wait it out until the focus is no longer on the virus 24/7.
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