(Joshua Yospyn/For The Washington Post)

There’s two different reactions when people find out what I do: One is that they think it’s more a Frederick’s of Hollywood-type business. Men generally think what I do is sexy and glamorous. They don’t realize that I’m also selling Spanx and sports bras. The more common reactions are questions. Women who have had challenges with their bras genuinely need help, because most of us are wearing the wrong size bra. Ever since Oprah did her big bra show, the statistic
that’s been floating around is 85 percent. But I can attest to the fact that 100 percent of our new customers are wearing the wrong size bra.

I admire the business that Victoria’s Secret has done, but they’ve also done a disservice. I get so many women who think they should have their breasts up here to their chin. We’re a European-style bra store. Europeans believe in the natural shape of the bust. We don’t do a lot of padding or big fills. What we’re doing is providing women with a comfortable support system. We’re not trying to make someone into a doll. We think they are much more beautiful and comfortable when we fit them into a bra, instead of a bra that can walk around by itself.

What happens with an ill-fitting bra is that it floats around your body; you’re fooling with the straps all day. It doesn’t provide any support. Your wire moves on you and chafes. You get lines. You get bulges. You stretch out ligaments in your chest. And it hurts. It is something you wear every day. Imagine wearing something that hurts you every day, all day. Imagine how that affects your life. Being in pain — that changes you.

One of the things I’ve had to learn is to be much more sensitive in my approach and interaction. Just because I’m so comfortable in the [dressing] room doesn’t mean my customers are. Sometimes we take that personal space for granted. Women are so hard on themselves, especially in a dressing room. They’re very judgmental regarding their appearance. If they could see what I see all day, they’d see how unique we all are, and it’s that uniqueness that makes us beautiful. They should celebrate their shape and let us fit [the bras] to who they are and not try to be more or less than that. There’s just no good that comes from trying to be something you’re not.

When someone puts on a bra that actually fits, she walks taller. I’ve had women in tears. “I’ve never worn a bra that fits me in my life.” These are [comments from] usually larger, fuller- breasted women who’ve had back and neck issues. Taking a literal and figurative weight off your shoulders — it’s life-changing. I never imagined that spending 30 minutes in a retail dressing room could be this rewarding. There’s nothing better than that.