When it comes to good bras good support is hard to find, especially for the 25 million women that fit bra sizes with 30-38 bands and DD-I cups? Introducing Behave, a new line of intimates (that just launched this week!) developed and designed for the most under-served consumer segment.
Athena Kasvikis, founder of Behave calls this segment “Curvy In-Betweeners” because they’re stuck in between standard and plus sizing, with neither providing great options. With a mission to level the playing field for the curviest consumers, those with large busts and small bands, Kasvikis, hopes to change their lives through her innovative design, and her first-hand knowledge of the consumers needs.
Behave is the first ever product line with exclusive patent-pending Stayz technology that provides innovative vertical and horizontal support. Read on for more with Athena discussing body positivity, e-commerce trends, and tips for starting your own business!
What is Behave?
Athena Kasvikis (AK): Behave is a new intimate brand designed for the most under-served consumer segment: 25 million women who fit 30-38 bands and DD-I cups. We call them “Curvy In-Betweeners” because they’re stuck in between standard and plus sizing, without great options in either. We are launching our first product line with our exclusive patent-pending Stayz technology, that provides innovative vertical and horizontal support. We’re excited to finally be bringing real product innovation to the lingerie category.
Why did you start Behave? Out of need? From personal experience?
AK: I’ve been passionate about bras for more than 15 years because of my own struggles. When I finally got professionally sized, I found real happiness and acceptance with my body.
Behave is my ode to the millions of women just like me, who are being fit into bras that are made for other women. Technological advancement has been all but non-existent in the bra space so I created something I needed. My brand is for those ladies who have been told they’re a DD because it’s the largest size a store carries, the ones who are told they’re plus-sized because that’s where the “large cups” live, and for those of us who cannot find something that fits and start to believe that it’s our fault. It’s not!!!
What is your background? Were you always in this field?
AK: My background is in consumer products in the beauty and food space – not in lingerie. This is a major plus because I started Behave without any preconceived notions on what was possible. Instead I was able to think outside of the constraints on sizing that the lingerie category has had. I knew the high level of support big busts and smaller bands needed and how few brands were solving for that, because it is truly a feat of physics! And, I knew that I wanted to design and own something that was beautiful to wear because I had so few bras that were genuinely pretty. Behave came from personal need but also from an eyes-wide-open look at was was a glaring miss in the lingerie space for millions of women like me.
In your experience, how are women changing the way they shop for lingerie?
AK: This is an AWESOME time to be a woman. There has been a palpable awakening of women in the past few years, where we’re all like “Wait, pump the brakes. WHY can’t I have something for me? WHY aren’t brands making things for real women? Am I the one with the weird body or is this industry just stuck in an outdated vision of what women’s bodies should be but rarely are?”
It’s really changed the way women shop for everything, including lingerie. They’ve come to demand options for more body sizes because we all know that no two women’s bodies are the same. It’s driven women online to search for solutions from all over the world, not just the US, and they’re finding so much freedom in that.
Thoughts on e-commerce vs. retail for the lingerie business?
AK: I’m extremely bullish on e-commerce growth in lingerie for the Curvy In-Betweener consumer. For over 25 million women, their experience is to go into a retail store and be unable to find something that fits, leaving them feeling invisible. The broad variety of brands that exist in the online lingerie space changes that; it enables you to find new products designed for all different types of women that a retail store would never carry. It’s a real democratization of the category and is truly responsive to the demand for better fitting options.
How have you made Behave a body positive brand?
AK: For Behave, body positivity is literally why we exist. Shame around breast size is real and many women who have larger than D cup face feelings of over-sexualization, otherness and seek to find ways to minimize. To take up your own space with your own body doesn’t sound radical, but for this consumer it truly is a revolution.
Body positivity has to be more than just showing real women with real bodies. I want to ensure that it also includes the truth that exists in this space. The average size bra in the US right now is a 34/36 DD. It is the new normal and we all need to stop thinking that it’s the max when it’s the average. We are taking a firm stance on representation, not only because it needs to happen for our consumer that has been marginalized and made to feel “other”, but also because young people, men and women who are not in our consumer group need to see that the norm isn’t a photoshopped model.
How do you balance your work / personal life balance?
AK: Ha! Work life balance can feel like a bit of a myth when you’re starting a company, but I’ve found a few things that help me to cope with the never ending mental gymnastics that a startup involves. I’m obsessed with books and read every night before bed because it gives my mind a break from business. I also work out almost every morning for an hour and it really makes me feel like I’ve done at least 1 positive thing for myself that day.
Someday I’ll have a personal life again, but for right now, I chose to focus my passions on getting Behave out to the millions of women that need us.
What are 3 tips for women who may be starting their own company?
AK: Oh I love this question! Here is what I’ve found that is most helpful for me: Be brave. Be tenacious. Be passionate.
Bravery is the mental strength to willingly face difficulties and reality is that there will be many difficulties in building something from scratch, especially as a woman. Tenacity is such an important trait to have because you will have many days where it’s easier to stop and give up. Keep moving forward, even if you’re just taking baby steps. Passion will ultimately be the thing that will get you through the lows and the highs of a startup. Doing something that you feel strongly about and that can help other women live better lives will be the thing that gets you up with purpose every single morning.
Who do you look up to in your industry which helped you take the leap into being your own CEO/founder?
AK: There are so many fantastic women in the apparel industry that have paved the way for a brand like mine. But where I found the most inspiration to start my own company was from the broader feminist movement around 2016/2017. I can only explain it as a gradual awakening for what it meant to me to be a female and to expect more from life. It prompted me to start asking “why” so much more and I wasn’t finding rationale answers.
Why is it easier to take out $100K in student loans than to find a bra in my size? Why am I settling for something that isn’t comfortable even though it’s the most important thing I wear every day? Why am I allowing an entire industry of retailers to ignore me even when I know curvy women are the new normal?
Then I eventually came to the question that mattered: Why am I not doing something about this? That’s when I stopped asking questions and started building!
What is next for you?
AK: There is so much more to come from Behave. We have more products in the works with our Stayz technology and are planning on launching all of the things that our consumer needs: Sports bras, day bras, swimwear, etc. These women need products designed for them by women who share their needs, and we’re in such a great position to do that.
For me personally, I’m super excited to talk to so many more consumers. It’s energizing to connect with other women with the intent of listening and learning. I truly want to help them feel great and every conversation I have sparks a new level of creativity on how to do that.
Anything else to add?
AK: Behave was started to serve the most under-served consumer in lingerie. This does NOT mean that we don’t care about women of all sizes and their bra problems. It means that we’re focused on helping those that we know best that are struggling.
I’m passionate about getting women to a better place with their bodies and any woman that reaches out to us, whether or not she’s a Curvy In-Betweener, will find love and support from Behave. We’re happy to recommend other products that may work for her. There are some awesome brands that are made for women who are smaller some for women with larger bands and for everywhere in between. For too long brands have been forcing women to fit into only what they sell and that’s not the right thing to do by the consumer.
Photos: ℅ Behave Bras