A lingerie retailer based in the East Midlands has condemned a popular Facebook group that claims to offer expert bra measuring advice.
The boutique owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, has accused Boob or Bust of writing “ill-informed” and “damaging” reviews about lingerie stores and failing to give them a right to reply.
She has also criticised the group’s bra calculator, which allows consumers to type their band measurements – tight and snug – into an algorithm to calculate their bra size.
“They are basically incompetent people advising other women on what their bra size should be,” she said.
“While independents have been battling tape measures for years, Boob or Bust is saying that you can measure volume or liquid with a tape measure. When was the last time you measured a jug of water with a tape measure?,” she continued.
“I think it’s great that they are trying to get as many women as possible into the correct fitting bra, but a static measurement can never replace being fitted by an actual person. It’s taken me six months to get my staff up to speed. You can’t learn it over night and you can’t learn it until you have got those women in front of you.”
The retailer’s comments came after she was visited by two administrators from Boob or Bust and received both negative and positive reviews on the Facebook page.
“The first lady couldn’t have written a better review for me, but she didn’t tell me she was going to review me and my shop, which I think is wrong, because you don’t have a right to reply,” she said.
The shop owner claimed that lingerie businesses cannot become members of Boob or Bust unless they can offer its 30,000 plus members a 10% discount.
A week later, another administrator visited the store for a fitting.
“One of my best fitters was there to help her,” the retailer said. “She measured at a 30G according to the Boob or Bust bra calculator, so my fitter said ‘ok, let’s try that’, and went through the fitting process as normal. She spent a good hour with her and made sure she was happy,” she recalled.
“She went away with a Bestform bra in size 32E and 20 minutes later she left us with the most horrific review,” she said.
“I was absolutely furious because she had come in for a fitting and because she wasn’t the size some calculator had given her, she decided to right a negative review, rather than giving us the opportunity to put right her concerns. The review was not only damaging professionally, but hurtful.”
The boutique owner replied to the review under her personal Facebook account and invited the administrator for another fitting, only to receive another damning review on Boob or Bust.
“I cancelled all my meetings that day and refitted her personally,” she said. “I asked what size the calculator had given her and put her in that size, in several different styles. No matter what style it was, it was biting into her flesh,” she explained.
“As a professional, I said ‘that is not the correct band size for you, but you don’t have to take that advice’. I was very nice with her and I took my time with her. I even reduced a full price fashion bra to half price to keep her happy.
“Two days later, she left another review that said that she went back to our store, but she’s still not entirely happy.”
The lingerie retailer said her fellow shop owners need to made aware of Boob or Bust, claiming its administrators are “keyboard warriors”, naming and shaming individual stores and their staff.
“It’s just hideous. I don’t know how they are getting away with it, but I can’t battle it on my own, there has to be enough of us saying the same thing.”
Lingerie Insight reported in July that Boob or Bust had written an open letter to Marks & Spencer criticising its bra fitting service and range of lingerie styles available in store.
The letter, which was sent to Lingerie Insight, included the results of a study conducted by Boob or Bust on its followers.
The aim of the research was to get customer feedback on M&S’ bra fitting services after it was reported in The Telegraph that the retailer is setting up a panel of shareholders that will advise the board and shape its turnaround strategy.
The study found that 70% of respondents had a bad fitting experience in M&S.
Boob or Bust attributed this feedback to M&S using ‘the old plus 4”’ fitting method, which involves measuring the underbust and adding four or five inches to calculate a back size.
But Marks & Spencer said that this statement is factually inaccurate.
Not content with M&S’ response, Boob or Bust asked its members to go on a mystery shop to determine the accuracy of its findings.
The study found that 32 out of the 35 women had four or more inches added to their underbust, with the other three going up four band sizes (eight inches).