Finding a bra that fits isn’t as simple as it sounds. CUUP is the direct-to-consumer, intimate apparel brand that has created stylish, minimalist bras for all shapes and sizes. CUUP’s bras are offered in sizes from 30A to 38H, and the company’s website helps women discover their true bra size through 20-minute virtual fittings. If the customer orders a bra and it doesn’t feel right, she can freely return or exchange it. CUUP presently offers four bra styles and two underwear options.
AlleyWatch sat down with Cofounder and CMO Abby Morgan to learn more about the need for CUUP, the company’s future expansion plans, how CUUP is modernizing the bra shopping experience, and the company’s latest fundraise.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
$11M Series A. Investors include Insight Ventures, Forerunner, Global Founders Capital, Lerer Hippeau, and Bullish.
CUUP is a direct-to-consumer brand creating bras focused on fit, quality, and performance. CUUP’s collection of essential, unlined bras is designed to eliminate the compromise between style, support, and comfort. We’re revolutionizing the way intimates fit, using natural shape as our guide. CUUP offers four bra and underwear silhouettes.
What inspired the start of CUUP?
CUUP began with a vision: a collection of flattering, comfortable, and unrestrictive bras built for all women; that doesn’t compromise comfort, fit, or aesthetic. A collection that lifts, shapes, and supports — without excess materials that pinch or bulk. We also aimed to create a brand that supports women both literally (with our product) and figuratively (with our content and community). Working in fashion for the past five years, I was never able to find a bra that supported me like a sports bra, styled and shaped like a bralette that was actually in my size. This felt like a massive opportunity as that’s what women want. Most competitors offer around 17 sizes and cap at a D cup while the majority of the population is a D cup or larger. We aimed to change that.
How is CUUP different?
At CUUP, we really focus on merging the mindset of a DTC brand with a designer eye and an editorial perspective on creative and brand. Given our prior experience, we lean on our intuition to create a brand that we, ourselves, would want to shop and back it up with the strategy of a DTC business to scale. We are creating a customer-centric brand that views our customers as subjects, not objects. This is a woman who is dressing in a way that makes her feel her best, for herself. This does not exclude design, aesthetics, or beauty, but she balances these external elements with inner confidence, deep-rooted self-acceptance and total freedom of expression.
We also created a proprietary grading system to address the nuances of fit in a larger size. Given our unique relationship with our manufacturer, we get priority access and complete ownership over our product IP.
What market does CUUP target and how big is it?
CUUP targets the $45B global intimate apparel (bras, underwear) market.
Who do you consider to be your primary competitors? V
Victoria Secret, Wacoal, Chantelle, Natori, Thirdlove, Lively, True & Co
What’s your business model?
What was the funding process like?
We ran a narrow process focused on a small handful of venture capital funds that focus on DTC, have a high interest in the category, and can scale with our brand. We commenced our process in October 2019 and closed in December 2019.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
There is some challenging sentiment towards DTC brands.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Highly attractive industry fundamentals, distinctive CUUP brand, and product capabilities, best in class loyalty and retention rates, very strong growth trajectory to date. One of our investors Rebecca Liu-Doyle from Insight Partners said:
“The CUUP team exhibits that rare combination of intuition around brand ethos and capacity to scale a direct-to-consumer business. They’ve rejected the status quo to architect a product that I, and other CUUP customers, believe is fundamentally better.”
The CUUP team exhibits that rare combination of intuition around brand ethos and capacity to scale a direct-to-consumer business.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
Double the size of our business in the next 6 months, selectively expand product offering including sizing, meaningful expand our fit capabilities, and build out the team.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Focus on your business fundamentals, have a clear POV on what drives the economics of your business model (e.g. your unit economics) and target initiatives that move the needle the most. Having a clear plan that focuses on the highest impact initiatives resonates well with investors. And think ahead in regard to how you want your team and talent base to evolve and grow.
What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
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