By Hailey Almsted
For eight years, Edina’s La Bratique has specialized in fitting women with the correct bra size and providing them with quality undergarments. Four out of those eight years were spent raising funds for Tubman, a Twin Cities organization dedicated to helping women, men, youth and families who have experienced trauma, including relationship violence, elder abuse, addiction and sexual exploitation. Though La Bratique shuttered its doors three years ago, they reopened in June, and they’re ready for another bra drive.
“Fifty percent of bras are never, or hardly, worn,” says La Bratique owner Tracy Anderson. “People are buying the wrong things and don’t want them, so it’s a great opportunity to find a home for [those bras].”
Anderson first became partners with Tubman when the organization asked her to come and fit women into bras for Harriet’s Closet career day, where Anderson noticed the lack of options. “Most of the bras were small cups … there’s a lot of women with full busts, and they didn’t have anything. They might be trying to fit into a D cup when they’re a J cup,” she explains. “At that point, I said ‘Let me try and see what I can do.’”
After discussing the opportunity with her vendors and other local businesses, Anderson realized that stocking the shelves was a real possibility. So she began the bra drive, and also dedicated an entire day to bra fittings for the Tubman clients, making the day completely about the clients and finding the right fit.
But after a three-year hiatus, Anderson says she’s found it difficult to raise the amount of funds she has in past years. “We used to almost get $10,000 in vendor donations. We could supply bras for Tubman for at least 6-9 months,” she says. “Now, we’ve been out of the market, so we’ve had a harder time getting vendors; they’re donating, but not in the quantities that they used to.”
Anderson is hoping to garner the same support she had in past years, and has partnered with St. Paul’s Flirt Boutique, an intimate apparel store, and Edina’s The Riveter, a coworking space. “Hopefully we can make a bigger impact and have easier drop off at areas around the Twin Cities,” Anderson says. “I’m hoping we will get a lot more community support.”
Donate your gently used bras, underwear and clothing throughout the month of February at the following locations: La Bratique is donations at 4420 Valley View Road, Suite 404, Edina. Underneath It All is accepting donations at 7942 Mitchell Road, Eden Prairie. Flirt Boutique is accepting bra and underwear (primarily sizes L and XL) donations at 177 Snelling Ave. N., St. Paul. The Riveter is accepting bra, underwear, clothing and accessory donations at 4388 France Ave. S., Edina.