I had the great pleasure of interviewing Linda Crawford of Uplift Custom Bras. Linda is just lovely and she is clearly following her passion as a creator of custom bras!
When Linda Crawford graduated from the fashion design program at Mohawk College, she decided that sewing clothes for other people wasn’t going to work for her. She began exploring other options – including a lot of specialty classes such as tailoring, until one day her pursuits landed her in a Beverly Johnson (aka The Fairy Bra Mother) bra-making classes. From that point onward, she was “hooked”!
She eventually went to work for Beverly in her storefront / studio in Hamilton, and spent a number of years there as a primary instructor until she left to start her own business.
Originally Linda had the idea to work with breast cancer survivors but her business plan backfired when she purchased a large supply of mastectomy products and two new stores opened up nearby serving the same population. As a home-based business it was difficult for her to compete for customers. Things went from bad to worse when she hired someone to build her a website and the relationship didn’t work out.
However, this setback turned out to be the biggest turning point for her when she went to her local small business support centre and had a consultation with a marketing expert. She ended up entering, and winning, a biggest marketing mistake contest, which provided her with $15,000 worth of marketing services for her new business.
At this point her business changed names from Heavenly Bodies to Uplift Custom Bras – complete with a brand new website and marketing strategy. Today, 75% of Linda’s customers find her through her beautiful website – and they come from all over the world.
I asked Linda why people seek out custom bras versus buying a regular commercial bra. She told me that even though many companies are addressing more fit issues than they once did, many people have issues (small rib cases, large breasts, asymmetrical breasts, etc.) that are just better managed with a custom bra. Many of her customers are baby boomers looking for bras that “give them a lift” – without the need for cosmetic surgery.
Linda is still passionate about making bras after several years in business. She tells me, “I love it when someone puts on their new bra and loves how they look.”
She gets many of her supplies from Bra-makers Supply – which is close enough for her to drive to on a “regular basis” (I can’t tell you how envious this makes me…). She also admits to spending some time on Etsy looking for beautiful new laces and claims she may have a bit of a “lace problem” (and who can blame her!).
The turnaround time for one of Linda’s beautiful, custom creations is usually a week, but can be two to three weeks for specialty bridal work. She says that one of the great things about sewing bras is that you can create something beautiful and custom in a relatively short time compared to some other kinds of custom sewing.
She recently had a brush with fame when she was contacted by a production company to reproduce some vintage 1960’s style bras for two Academy Award-winning actresses!
In the future, Linda would like to have a sewing studio and storefront with one or two employees. She continues to operate her business at her home-based studio and says she would love to find a partner working in a different, but complimentary type of business, to possibly share a storefront.
Linda has some great words of wisdom for any would-be bra-maker thinking of getting into the business. “To do it well, you need to be a really good fitter – practice, practice, practice! Practice on friends and family. Customers don’t like to do twelve fittings…”
She also suggests not quitting a full-time job until you have enough clients to make ends meet. It takes time, passion and a lot of work to build a successful, custom business.
Check out Linda’s beautiful bras at Uplift Custom Bras.
Stay with us through to the end of the tour for a chance to win additional prizes:
- complete kits to make your own bra,
- bra- and swimsuit-making classes,
- fabric, and more …
Follow the magical tour to see what we all have under our clothes
♥ Sunday, September 11
♥ Monday, September 12
- Valérie, la Élégantine, gets us airborne with some lingerie of her own, même en français
Her Bosom Buddy Michelle S. from Little Heart Threads, balances with more sweet lingerie
- Lisa who drinks Glitter in my Coffee brings us an Uplifting post
- Rachel of The Wild Stitch manages a little tête-à-tête with Emerald Erin
♥ Tuesday, September 13
- Lisa fits right in as a new Pin Up Girl
Her Bosom Buddy, Shelaine, also makes her first bra
- Rachelle gets up close and personal with Carrie from With Love Lingerie
- Valérie returns with a whole new Bosom Buddy to tell us about Miss Maika Fabrics (This girl gets around!)
♥ Wednesday, September 14
- Rachelle gets to the bottom of things with her review of a Craftsy class
Her surrogate Bosom Buddy Michelle N. from Michelle’s Creations dishes on the same Craftsy class
- Jess from the west designs her own assets.
- Deb of Sprouting Jubejube chats with Emilie from Jalie
COMING UP (not available until dates posted)
♥ Thursday, September 15
- Karin gets chaotic (twice!) with corsets at Mrs. Weaver’s Finest Unmentionables
Her BB Marsha flies by the seams of her pants into the corsetry web
- Shelaine is up to something and we have no idea what
- Michelle gets Mrs. Weaver to talk about her Finest Unmentionables
♥ Friday, September 16
- Wild Stitch Rachel tries her hands at designing her own assets
- Jessica from Gracious Threads gets the skinny on our Fairy Bra Mother
- Valérie est du rétour avec une entrevue de Blackbird
- Michelle N. takes us to a secret spot in the centre of things
♥ Saturday, September 17
- Michelle S. returns to talk to Wendy about her bespoke bras. Be what??
- Marsha gets a taste of what’s behind Farthingales’ corsets
- Meanwhile BBs Deb and Michelle N. go bottoms up in panties
♥ Sunday, September 18
Whoohoo! It’s giveaway day today!
♥ Monday, September 19
Have you entered the giveaways yet? Today’s your last chance.
♥ Tuesday, September 20
Giveaway winners announced on all the blogs:
Life of a Fairy Bra Mother, Little Heart Threads, Glitter in my Coffee, Michelle’s Creations, Mrs. Weaver’s Finest Unmentionables, Braphoria, Gracious Threads, Élégantine!, Shelaine’s Designs, That’s so Venice, Sprouting Jubejube, Flying by the Seam of my Pants, The Wild Stitch, Farthingales Corset Blog
♥ After September 20
- Come back to visit all the blogs for followup posts. It’s always fun!
- Craftsy class discounts expire at midnight Sept. 30