Breast Cancer Awareness Month is wrapping up. It’s awesome to see local and national businesses showing their support. From pizza boxes to NFL game apparel and everything in between! (My sister and I got a picture with P.F. Chang’s warrior horse outside of the restaurant in Las Vegas. P.F. Chang’s is donating $1 for every photo of the warrior horse posted with the hashtag #PFChangsPink). It’s estimated that 231,840 new cases in women and 2,350 new cases in men will be diagnosed this year. Don’t forget to perform a breast self-exam at least once a month. Get more info here http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-self-exam.
Written by Mac MacDermaid, Marketing Assistant
“There are more boobs in Detroit than there are people.” Not a sentence you hear every day, but for Lee Padgett, owner of Busted Bra Shop™, it rolls right off her tongue. She backs up her statement with data, “Females make up over 52% of the city’s population but there’s nowhere to buy a bra!?” I had to let that sink in a moment. And not just because I was caught off guard with her statistics on breasts, but because prior to opening her store 2 years ago, you actually had to drive outside the city limits to get support for the girls.
When I arrived at the Park Shelton in Midtown, I made my way from the attached parking structure (2 hours of free parking for customers!) to a corner of the first floor where Busted Bra Shop™ is nestled. Although it’s tucked away (the space was once home to a storage closet) there are plenty of signs to help you find your way. Lee, along with an employee, greeted me with a friendly “Welcome to Busted”. And you might think they only did that because they knew I was coming. But up until that point, Lee and I had only communicated via e-mail. With a name like Mac, she was expecting a guy – which would have made for an interesting on-location interview. But as I photographed the shop, new customers came in, and they were welcomed by the same warm smile. They really are that nice to everyone!
Initially the store was a little overwhelming. Even Lee admits that she didn’t expect to need more space so quickly. Just when you think there can’t possibly be any more bras, there is another room with floor to ceiling racks carrying the goods. I guess you could say they’re BUSTing at the seams (I couldn’t resist). My first thought was that it would be impossible to navigate the shop to find what you’re looking for, which is why I’m so glad I got to see Lee and her staff in action. It’s no surprise that the two older women who walked in were referred by a family member who had gotten great service. Padgett hasn’t paid for any advertising thus far and has still managed to earn almost 5,300 likes on Facebook. One of the ladies gravitated toward a rack and immediately started to browse the selection based on what she thought looked similar to her current bra. The woman was actually looking at bras made for dancers (I didn’t even know those existed). Without making the customer feel like an idiot, Lee explained that they like to start out with a fitting – then you can go shopping! I think I let out a very audible sigh of relief at that moment – my anxiety level had been rising with the enormous variety of options. But, based on your fitting, the employees take what seems like a never-ending supply of bras, and narrow it down to the ones that would work best for you. Did you know that 80% of women are wearing the wrong bra size? I’m glad someone knows the science behind this stuff because I am totally clueless.
There is definitely a method to the madness. Busted Bra Shop™ carries cup sizes ranging from AAA – O and band sizes from 26 – 56. Even specialty items, like nursing and mastectomy bras, are available, as well as Nubian Skin – which provides 4 shades of nude for women of color. All that inventory has to go somewhere! Luckily Busted’s crew is there to guide you and everything is organized so you’re not running all over the store. The addition of private parties, panties, pajamas, lingerie, novelty items, awesome stockings, men’s items, and other accessories make this a one-stop shop.
Ok, ok, I’ll stop raving about this uniquely fantastic store (for today). When it comes down to rocking a small-business, Lee has put in her time. She has ridden the roller coaster of surprises, learning along the way. One unexpected twist was the popularity of her store’s name, which couldn’t be more fitting in my opinion. It wasn’t even on her radar 2 years ago, but the name is now trademarked. She also didn’t expect to be thinking about franchising and expanding so soon. In late 2014 Jim Bieri helped her find a space and negotiated a 6-month lease for a pop-up shop in the Penobscot Building, located downtown. “I’ll never negotiate a lease on my own again,” she said during our conversation. Since high-dollar stakes could mean closing up shop for small business owners, the guidance of an experienced Broker is truly invaluable. We’re excited that business is better than she expected. People drive in from all over, especially those who are looking for specialty sizing. With a large customer base in Cleveland, all signs point to store #2 in the Rock and Roll Capital.
Near the end of my visit with Lee I asked her if she had any advice for new business owners. Nothing like a loaded question to wrap things up, right? But she calmly responded, “Follow your own vision.” She explained that along the way people have offered her (unsolicited) suggestions on how to run her business, but she has continued on with her journey. Simple words with a huge impact. Stay true to yourself and rock it out!
Check out Busted Bra Shop™, located at 15 E. Kirby Street, Suite A, Detroit, MI or online at http://www.bustedindetroit.com/. Also, please don’t be part of the 80% – visit with Lee to get a proper fitting. Knowledge is power.