Sourced from Dubois County Free Press
A new business in Jasper will provide women with some relief from dealing with a dreaded shopping experience; bra shopping.
Missy Helderman opened The Bra Market at 112 East 7th Street in May to help women find a comfortable and attractive bra.
The Dubois resident’s path to opening the shop began about eight years ago when She turned 40 and decided it was time to do something different. She had worked at Springs Valley Bank and Trust for about ten years and felt that she was a round peg in a square hole.
“The HR director at SVB&T mentioned that I should check out Magnolia’s,” Missy explained.
Magnolia’s was a specialty shop on Jasper’s north side that outfitted women with prosthetics after a lumpectomy or mastectomy. “I had had five friends and an aunt that had gone through breast cancer,” Missy explained.
With that history, she was curious about what Magnolia’s provided. The curiosity led to a job and a 500-hour certification as a mastectomy fitter. It was fulfilling work to help women feel whole again, but it led to questions.
“If they found out I was a bra lady, the questions came,” Missy said. “‘Can you just help me find a good fitting bra? I hate my bra. I can’t find a good bra.’”
That’s where the idea for a specialty bra business originated from. Missy put together a business plan for a special bra fitting boutique but then, due to some health issues, put it on the backburner.
When Magnolia’s closed, Missy continued to receive calls about prosthetic fittings so she approached HLS about providing the service. HLS had Missy help them add the prosthetic service to their line and then brought her onboard as their certified fitter.
Then she kinda accidentally wrote a book. It was supposed to be a free two-page handout about leadership, encouragement and goal setting. She finished the two pages and then wrote a little more. And then a little more. And then a little more. Before long, she had a book.
Then a publisher contacted her about it. Missy who wasn’t sure about whether the book would be accepted, sent it to them with some trepidation.
In 2014, “She Believes: Uniquely Designed with Purpose in Mind,” was published. The book is designed to help people determine how they fit in the world around them. “I truly believe everyone has a piece to play. Kinda like a jigsaw puzzle,” she explained. “The book goes over the process of finding out where you are at and what you are supposed to be doing.”
For Missy, the book is another aspect of her mission to help women. Plus, the book has led to some speaking engagements and in Missy’s eyes, the bra business, book and speaking all fit together.
“My dream is to really help women find their fit whether it is physically or spiritually,” she explained.
Back to the bra business though. While working at HLS, Missy was still getting those questions about how to find a good bra. She decided to hold a fit clinic to help women determine their bra size. “I walked out of there and cried on my way home,” Missy said. “I felt like I was giving them a crumb when I could really give them a steak.”
There was only so much she could do with a fit clinic and most retailers only selling 30 to 35 different bra sizes. She decided it was time to move forward with her business plan to offer a fitting service with more than 150 different sizes of high-quality bras.
It was a toss up between Jasper and French Lick, but she found a nice cozy spot on Seventh Street. With her decorative touch and a lot of painting, Missy created an attractive boutique that offers an upbeat, classy and private atmosphere to find the perfect bra.
Missy is open by appointment only at this point. Clients are brought into a private vestibule where Missy completes the necessary measurements and determines what the customer’s likes are. Based on this, she will bring out several options for the customer to try. Once they are happy, she orders the bra and has it either delivered to the customer’s home or the store for pick up.
If a customer is then brought in for a final fitting. If they customer isn’t happy with the bra, Missy will work with them to ensure they have a good fit.
“I may not have something that is perfect for you, but I bet I can find where I can send them,” Missy explained. “To me, it really is about finding that perfect fit.”
Although some popular women’s shops like to portray their bras as empowering and beautifying, that doesn’t translate to comfort nor do the images on TV necessarily translate to reality. With three different shapes of breasts as well as multitudes of breast sizes and chest sizes, mass marketed bras that are engineered with one breast shape in mind and then just made larger or smaller can’t provide the comfort and image a well-engineered bra can.
“Buying a 36B off the rack because you have always been a 36B doesn’t necessarily work,” Missy explained.
With her years of experience and her empathy for her customers, Missy will do whatever she can to help find the right bra. So far, the work has been very rewarding. A good fitting bra not only allows women to feel good about their appearance, but it can also help with physical issues like neck and back pain.
“That feeling once you get a bra on them and they say, ‘I didn’t know I could look this good. I didn’t know I could feel this good,’ is wonderful,” Missy explained.
Or when a 92-year-old comes in with a little knit bra. “She said she didn’t feel pretty in it,” Missy said.
Missy brought a bra out that she thought would work. “And the first thing she does is say ‘oh, they are in the right spot again,’” she said with a laugh. “She was thrilled. It’s moments like that that are magical.”
The Jasper Chamber of Commerce is hosting a ribbon-cutting this Tuesday at 11 a.m. Missy will hold an open house beginning at 10 a.m. and offer a chance for attendees to win a bra.