On Creating a Comfortable Bra: Adriana Arispe of Meer Bra
this spring, our theme is: synergy.
It’s time to invest in relationships, projects and people that will help us grow. It’s time to create a little synergy.
synergy (n.): the benefit that results when two or more agents work together to achieve something either one couldn't have achieved on its own.
It's the concept of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. In life, at work and in our communities, synergy is that space where the magic happens—where things fall into place, values align and our ideas find a home.
So, what does professional and personal synergy look like? How do we reject cultures of comparison and approach collaboration? How do we protect our own energy as we navigate opportunities, success and failures? This Spring, our programs will serve as a moment to hear from and amplify women and nonbinary leaders in our community who create synergy through their work.
As we prepare for craftHER Market Spring ‘19, we’re interviewing some of this market’s featured makers to learn more about their businesses and the ways in which they create synergy through their work. Read on for a peek into their process.
about today’s featured maker:
Based in Austin, Texas, MeerTM combines fashion and function to create high quality, everyday clothing.
We believe you should be able to start and end every day without needing a change of clothes. Gym, work, class, and everywhere in between. Merging unique and exclusive designs with responsible materials, Meer accentuates your life without compromising on your principles.
Combining exclusive design with everyday style and sustainable fabrics, the Meer Bra feels like a sports bra and works better than underwire. Designed by engineers, you'll never need a change of clothes again.
Find your support anytime by adjusting the X-bands. Tighten for a little extra support or loosen for relaxed bliss. Meer Bras are never restricting and always work with your body. Click here to learn more.
Tell us the background of your business: How did you get started? How big is your business (employees, storefront, etc)? And where do you sell your work? In-person, online, only at markets?
To me, it seemed strange that many people, including myself, have relied on underwire bras for so long. I used to take off my bra the second I got home because underwires are uncomfortable. But that didn’t mean I didn’t want to be wearing a bra or feel supported. So, my partner – being an engineer who loves to tinker with things – took it upon himself to re-engineer the bra. He would literally go out and buy cheap bras and panty hose, come home and cut and sew pieces together, until we found a design that really worked.
We currently sell online on our website (meerbra.com), at a few local stores, and at markets.
How do you approach collaboration within your work? When and where do you collaborate on making products?
We collaborate in lots of different ways – a friend of mine owns a Pilates studio in East Austin called Feel Good Pilates – as an example, I love to collaborate with other WOB’s in Austin, whether it’s for an event or otherwise. I’d love to eventually collaborate with a local artist to design a print for one of our bras.
How do you balance the creative side and the business side of your work?
This was really hard for me at first because I felt like my “to-do list” needed to be done in order of priority since it seemed the most logical. But it was overwhelming pushing myself in that way and I’ve since learned to do what inspires me at the moment. I know what needs to get done and I do my best work when I’m in the mindset to do so.
What resources have helped you grow your business? What resources do you need more of? As a WOB what would you like to see more of?
The greatest resource has definitely been other small business owners and being able to pick their brain and learn from them. As a WOB, I love organizations like Bossbabes ATX that inspire us to share ideas and spread the love (because *yes* and *thank you*). I think it’d be great for there to be a platform where craftHer vendors and like-minded groups could ask questions, comment, answer… Similar to the Austin Startups group on Facebook except more specified.
How do you handle perceived failures within your work?
I always remind myself of the phrase – “If it was easy, everyone would do it”. I’ve learned that if I’m determined to achieve certain things, that also means I have to be ok with the fact that some of my efforts won’t pay off.
Who is your target audience for your product and how do you connect with them?
Meer Bra’s target audience is anyone who wants something that will support their boobs without having to wear underwire across their body, who wants their clothing to be fashionable and functional, well-made and also eco-friendly.
Tell us about the production process required to make a single product.
Meer Bras are made with 100% recycled plastic water bottles and hand stitched in Mexico, everyone is paid above industry average with a portion of sales reinvested in the local community.
What is a good leader to you?
A good leader recognizes their own weaknesses and celebrates those strengths in others.
What do you wish you knew before starting your own business?
As nice as it is to be self-employed, there’s a freedom you give up. When you work for someone else, you get to “clock out” at times (I guess, depending on your job). But when you own your own business, it never ends unless you make time for yourself to “clock out”. I think that was really hard for me in the beginning – realizing that nothing will ever be perfect and learning to be ok with that.
Would you like to meet Adriana in-person? Come out to craftHER Market on April 14, 2019 at Fair Market and stop by her booth. Click here to learn more.