When Chloe Beaudoin and Jessica Miao, friends, classmates and now business partners, realized that they shared the same struggles around bra shopping during puberty, they knew they had to make a difference for other girls struggling too. Reliving this awkward shopping experience through the lens of Miao’s younger sister, who was twelve years old at that time, these two friends invented the world’s first bra that grows as she grows, lasting through the different stages of puberty. “We started Apricotton as our capstone university project and while we were doing our research, we discovered that a lot of people, especially women, young girls, moms, resonated with the cause. This gave us the push to start Apricotton,” shares Beaudoin. With 90% of girls feeling intimidated and uncomfortable by the process of buying new bras, Apricotton Co-Founders wanted to make girls feel confident through their products and a supportive online community.
A venture born during the pandemic, Beaudoin and Miao decided to dive right into the world of entrepreneurship after their graduation despite their different educational backgrounds. “Jessica has always been inclined towards entrepreneurship, but I started my education in nutrition and made a switch to entrepreneurship and business. Despite our different educational journeys, we were both so passionate about this issue that we wanted to truly make a difference and bring a solution to the market for this,” shares Beaudoin. The love for creating a difference, helping girls navigate their lives as teenagers and fashion, Beaudoin and Miao went back to the drawing board to dig deeper and research the features that their customers wanted in this bra. Involving Miao’s sister, her friends, and their larger target audience, the Co-Founders came up with the ideal bra design, only to tackle the difficult part of making the product come to life. Reflecting on their product development journey, Beaudoin shares, “It took us about 4 months to find a manufacturer as everything was shut due to the pandemic. We did end up finding an amazing manufacturer in China, but it took a lot of time, research and resources for us to get there.” Miao’s proficiency in the Mandarin language has helped this duo in coordinating and aligning production requirements and expectations with their manufacturer to bring the Apricotton magic to their customers. Coming out like champions through this challenge, Beaudoin and Miao officially launched their business in November 2020, featuring bras that are made of stretchy, breathable fabric with removable padding and adjustable straps to help tweens and teens get through the different changes in their body.
Selling out in the first three months of their launch, Apricotton started by introducing three different designs and eventually expanded their product offerings to also include accessories such as scrunchies and dryer bags. Each pack is hand wrapped by Beaudoin and Miao with a personalized note to celebrate girls, tweens and teens getting their first bra. Going above and beyond their product, Beaudoin and Miao scrutinized their puberty journeys, only to realize that building and feeling confident during the teenage years is another difficult road to maneuver. “I remember having acne and feeling self-conscious all the time. Social media was just coming up and so, those perfect pictures of models or friends used to make me even more self-conscious. This is when we thought of building an online community to help girls find that confidence, not just in their bodies, but in everything else that they’re dealing with.”
Harnessing the power of the online world, Beaudoin and Miao have a huge social media presence with 90K+ followers and 15 million views on TikTok and Instagram along with an active blog page on their website that educates and provides insights on a variety of topics related to the awkward teenage years. Building a personal brand for themselves, the Co-Founders started amplifying their social presence through Miao’s TikTok account initially to portray themselves to the community as their ‘elder sisters’ who are constantly looking out for them. This has not only helped the Co-Founders in creating a strong and supportive online community, but has truly inspired girls from around the world, “I still remember the day when a girl walked up to Jessica and said that she’s inspired from her TikTok and started volunteering at her elementary high school to support girls and teens like Jessica supports everyone online. I had tears in my eyes as this is exactly what we wanted to do,” shares Beaudoin.
The online world truly has no leaps and bounds, and it was sooner than later that Apricotton started reaping the benefits through high demand for their bras in the United States. Beaudoin shares, “We started in Canada and a month and a half later, we saw a huge demand from the American customers on TikTok. That’s when we decided to turn Apricotton into a global brand and so, we launched in the US.” Continuing to pursue this dream, Beaudoin and Miao are now expanding their footprint to launch in the UK as well. “We received so many email queries from the UK, so, we decided to launch there too. We had a trip to the UK and so, we’re very excited for this launch,” shares Beaudoin. Currently available to all the customers in UK, Canada and US through their e-commerce store, the Apricotton Co-Founders have big milestones for this brand and plan to take it on a global scale. Beaudoin shares, “We really want to become a global brand and make it easier for girls to buy bras worldwide. The struggles around puberty and teenage years are common amongst all teens and we want to continue supporting, helping and growing our community.”
TechAlliance’s Project Lead, Tyler Wilson, has been working closely with the Apricotton team throughout their journey of global expansion, ““It’s been impressive to watch Chloe and Jessica grow, from discussing customer feedback during product launches to pitching at Elevate Fest — these two leaders have crossed barrier after barrier and have propelled Apricotton onto a trajectory for global success”.
To know more about Apricotton, visit https://apricotton.ca/