Pepper is a new and innovative bra company that makes fashionable products for women who have small chests. The “Pepper All You Bra” is very flattering for women who are size A and B cups and the bras aim to instill feelings of sexiness and self-love. Their first product—the All You Bra—was funded via Kickstarter and garnered 470 percent of funding in only 13 days. The bras are now widely available in America for $49.

The bra is designed to fit women who have small busts while providing natural lift sans any heavy push-up padding. On July 19, 2018, Pepper co-founder Jaclyn Fu discussed the company she established and her hopes for its future.

Business, prototypes, and naming a company

Meagan Meehan (MM): You worked in online marketing, so how did that inspire you to start your own business?

Jaclyn Fu (JF): My career in product marketing at consumer tech companies made me a Jaclyn-of-all-trades, which is proving invaluable as an early stage founder.

In the past, I got to work with almost every team in the company to build a diverse skill set rooted in problem-solving and cross-functional collaboration. It inspired me to jump into the entrepreneurial world because I wanted a job that empowered me to work on different challenges every day.

MM: Why did you focus on bras and how did you design the All You model?

FU: Bras are usually the foundation of every outfit.

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If your foundation is a terrible fitting bra, it can negatively impact how you feel about yourself. As a small-chested woman, I often get a cup gap because my breast tissue don't entirely fill the bra cups. When we surveyed 841 other small-chested women, we learned 85 percent also experience this fit issue.

The All You Bra was designed to eliminate this; everything from the specially molded cups to the less curved underwires, to the mesh overlay, was well thought out to ensure the wearer felt supported and lifted.

My co-founder Lia Winograd and I designed the All You Bra ourselves using the design thinking approach and doing a lot of customer testing to gather feedback.

MM: How different was the prototype from the finished product and was it tough to find a manufacturer?

FU: We went through fifteen prototypes before the final product. To get the perfect fit, we had to develop a lot of our bra materials and components because what was available on the market just wasn't cutting it.

Our current manufacturer is awesome: they employ female heads of households, and everyone is paid fair wages and have a reputation for producing high-quality garments. We were lucky because Lia has connections to the manufacturing and textile industry in Colombia where she's from so it wasn't as tough of a process finding this manufacturer.

MM: Why did you name the company Pepper?

FU: We wanted to stand out from the typical bra companies that were overly feminine, hyper-sexualized and a little old school.

Pepper represents a new approach that is fun and empowering. The name is an alliteration of 'petite' and is inspired from the peppercorn which is small and round but can pack a spicy punch. We decided on this name one day when we were at lunch, and desperate for a name, we started grasping things around us on the table. When Lia picked up the pepper shaker, we knew we found the perfect name.

Kickstarter, colors, and the future

MM: You raised funds via Kickstarter, so why did you go that route and why do you think it was so successful?

FU: Kickstarter was a great way to make sure I wasn't the only one who felt these pain points. Our goal was $10,000 to meet minimum manufacturing requirements, but we ended up raising that in the first ten hours! It proved women have been waiting for a brand and product like ours, and after the campaign, we both quit our full-time jobs to pursue Pepper. I think it was successful because we did a lot of prep and planning before we launched the campaign. A lot of thought went into the story, design and building up of our community.

MM: How do you hope to get your bra models into major stores?

FU: We're starting with direct to the consumer because it allows us to really get to know our customers and refine the customer experience. We're not looking to jump into major stores just yet because it would take away from what makes the experience awesome. However, we are talking to select retailers now who align with our mission and vision of bringing better fitting garments to the mass using personalization and data.

MM: What colors do the bras come in and how much do you foresee the brand expanding?

FU: The All You Bra comes in beige, black, and mint. We've already gotten a lot of requests from the community to develop swimsuits and different types of bras, so we have our work cut out for us!

MM: What are your biggest hopes for the future of Pepper bras and is there anything else that you would like to add?

FU: My biggest hopes for the future of Pepper is that we're able to start a movement of self-love and body confidence for this audience. There needs to be more conversation around resetting misinformed body standards, and it's not ok that insults like 'boy body' and 'flat as a pancake' are still being used today.

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