Industry: Consumer & Lifestyle
Products: Intimate apparel, activewear and swimwear inserts
Co-founders Meghan Marsden and Nancy Trangmar are innovating on the bra with 3D printing and a nimble approach.
When Marsden and Trangmar couldn't find bras that were both pretty and comfortable during a shopping excursion to one of Denver's most exclusive lingerie shops, they decided it was time to do something about it.
"We decided, naively, to launch into one of the most challenging garments there is to make," says Marsden. "It wasn't just that bras didn't fit -- they were uncomfortable. And you bought a beige, nondescript, unflattering bra that's uncomfortable, it was just sad."
A third partner, Kathy Heimann, who wasn't on the shopping trip, had been involved in previous discussions about better-fitting fashion bras and was involved in researching the industry.
Veil Intimates has a patented design and patent-pending process to make bra cups that eliminates various comfort and design limitations in women's apparel. The fledgling company uses 3D printing technology to create cups that women's apparel manufacturers can easily and cost-effectively incorporate into their product lines.
After that shopping trip, the women traveled to Las Vegas to attend MAGIC, a comprehensive fashion trade show showcasing the latest in apparel, footwear, accessories and manufacturing. That was the beginning of their education into the world of manufacturing women's garments. "We couldn't even tell you the difference between two-way and four-way fabric," Marsden says. "We met a lot of generous people who humored us and educated us."
Marsden and her partners started talking to The 3D Printing Store in Denver about a support structure that could be inserted into women's garments, whether they're traditional bras, sports bras, swimming suits, or dresses and tops with built-in bras. Using ANSYS 3D Design software, which is used to develop cars and aircraft, Veil Intimates learned how breasts move and what shapes and support structures in bra cups experienced the most weight.
Earlier in 2018, Veil Intimates worked with the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York to validate its research and create a prototype.
Veil Intimates is negotiating with companies that make these products to use its 3D cup support. Marsden says she has talked with Adidas, Fruit of the Loom, and Brooks, and says she hopes to have a deal completed by the end of 2018.
"We don't want to be a brand facing the consumer market," Marsden says. "We want to fix the problem with an existing brand."
Challenges: Marsden says figuring out how to work through large brands to efficiently manage the manufacturing process is one of the challenges Veil Intimates faces. "We're vetting the manufacturing process right now," she says. "We've prototyped domestically, but a lot of manufacturing happens overseas. We want to manufacture in the United States. It's not a lack of interest from brands. We've had a lot of people very interested."
Opportunities: The opportunities are in the brands Veil Intimates partners with, Marsden says. "The question is, do they have the heart for building a better product," Marsden says. "There are certain brands that are really good at articulating a market message. The people we're going after truly have a heart for innovation and are consumers themselves. They see the benefit in making the change in support structures."
Needs: Veil Intimates' goal is to manufacture all of its products in the United States, so it's been looking for partners that can make that happen. The company also is continuously looking for consultants in a variety of fields, from experts who keep on top of what's new or coming to the market to people who are well-versed in the composites industry. "We understand marketing and finance and we've been successful in building a team," Marsden says. "What we're looking for is people to fill a void."