Specialty Shop Is A Perfect Fit

Linda Dela Cruz
Wednesday - January 17, 2007
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(from left) Erin Earles, Kyra Rollin and Marty Woodward at Brava Bras
(from left) Erin Earles, Kyra Rollin and Marty Woodward at
Brava Bras

As owners of Brava Bras, a specialty bra shop that offers custom fittings, Cynthia Surrisi and Marty Woodward say the most common complaint they hear is that bras are uncomfortable. “I’m hard to fit” is a common refrain.

The problem is that at least 75 percent of women are wearing the wrong size bra. But Surrisi says Brava Bras can usually find at least five different types of bras for their customers.

“It’s not uncommon for them to buy some, and then call back later on to order some more,” says Surrisi, noting that nude, mocha, beige and black are among the most popular colors.

Surrisi and Woodward say helping post-surgical patients who have had breast surgery is quite rewarding. Some of ladies have never been fitted in more than 20 years, since people didn’t talk much about it in the past. Surrisi says once women learn that this service is available to them, they’re so delighted. And, of course, delighted is what the entrepreneurs want their customers to be.

One reason the specialty bra shop was established is that Surrisi and Woodward had dealt with their own bra troubles. Surrisi had breast surgery more than 11 years ago, and she needed a better bra without underwires. She had a custom-fit bra shop that she went to in Minnesota. Similarly, Woodward, a former flight attendant and a human resources director in the travel industry, experienced her own bra dramas sometimes with the under-wire poking out uncomfortably.

When the two colleagues realized that Hawaii didn’t have a custom-fit bra shop, they decided to open one. When they read an article by MidWeek columnist Katie Young where she wrote about her search for the right strapless bra, they felt validated that Hawaii needed a specialized place for women to find the right bra. The two-year-old shop takes five different measurements to ensure finding the right product.

Surrisi and Woodward say women should have a minimum of five bras in their wardrobe.

“You need three good everyday bras so you know there will be at least one on the body, in the drawer and in the laundry,” advises Surrisi. “Additional bras you ought to have are one good strapless bra, and a T-shirt bra with a nice, smooth cup.”

They suggest that women should be fitted at least once a year, and make it a tradition on a birthday or other special occasion like an anniversary or holiday.

“There’s a lot of dieting going on, and that has produced a difference in the size of women’s rib cages and breasts,” Surrisi adds. “Some people even have two different sizes they keep just in case. It’s a good investment to be comfortable and be in the right size bra.”

The uncomfortable bra may be something that men have heard the women in their lives complain about. Surrisi and Woodward say some women have asked their husband or their boyfriend for a gift certificate for Brava Bras for them, and even for their mother. Besides nursing bras and post-surgical bras, a fitting for an entire bridal party is another of the shop’s specialties.

Besides being business partners, Surrisi and Woodward have been good friends for a very long time.

“Our friendship has brought a sense of camaraderie,” say the business owners. “We want everyone to have fun, and there is a lot of laughing that goes on in our shop. We set that standard for our employees and our customers to enjoy. We want to put people at ease.”

Brava Bras is located in the Pan Am Building at 1600 Kapiolani Blvd., Suite 716. For more information, call 941-0884, or log onto www.bravabras.com

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