If you were following the Fabulous Finds for a Large Bust board on Pinterest nine weeks ago, you were privy to my late-night discovery of the Russian clothing company, DD Shop. I had to stop myself from pinning every image from their website! I posted a message on the company’s Facebook page right away asking for an interview. With Monday’s launch of their English-language website, DD Atelier, it’s the perfect time to share founder Olga Promptova’s and designer Taisia Kaygorodova’s answers to my questions. (In a hurry to figure out your DD Atelier size? Scroll down for Pepperberry/BiuBiu conversions.)
1. Please share your background. What gave you the idea for you company, and when did you have it? When did you launch your first store?
What challenges did you overcome from the time you had the idea until you launched?
From Olga Promptova: It was not a quick Eureka decision. I’d been an economic journalist for more than ten years and felt that this job didn’t satisfy me. I didn’t feel that I do something really useful. I asked myself: What do you really love to do? Sewing! I had been sewing all my dresses myself before I started the career of a journalist, and I had been enjoying it most of all. But as I was neither genius designer nor a wife of a millionaire, I had to come up with a small niche. I am 70F [US Size 30F] and have always had problems with good fitting clothes, and I decided to make clothes for women like me.
In 2007 I resigned from the magazine I worked for, took a $25,000 loan and started to look for fabric suppliers, sewing factories, etc. I met an excellent constructor who used to make patterns for individual clients and understood the idea very well. Factories didn’t want to take our order, as it was very small for them. At least only one factory agreed, because the owner, who started her business not long time ago, decided to support my start-up.
I didn’t have enough money to open an offline store, and I launched a small simple online store and a showroom in my own apartment (and I had to move with my son to a rented apartment). For the first two months we didn’t [have any] clients! I was a lonely mother with a debt and NO clients. Let’s say, I was a little worried. But then couple of magazines published small news about us and we saw first clients. There were not many of them, but I’ve heard so many words of thanks from every customer, that it inspired me.
In two years the showroom became too small for us, and we had open the first store. And soon I realized that I could not be a CEO and a designer at the same time if we want the brand to grow. I decided that I’ll be CEO. It was a difficult decision, as I started this business to be a designer myself! But I am very happy now that the very talented designer Taisia Kaygorodova works with us! And I found out that I could enjoy to be just a manager.
2. Now that you have been in business for a while, what new challenges do you face? What feedback have your received from your customers since beginning your company, and what changes have you made as a result?
We have always had feedback from our clients: personally, in offline stores, via social networks and emails. And we always try to answer their requests, if we can. For example, this autumn we are launching denim pieces because girls asked us about them. I must say that many of our clients are much more critical and demanding than usual customers. Because many of them couldn’t find clothes in usual stores, they used to sew themselves or have pieces sewed by their mothers, aunts or professional couturiers. They are often well-versed in the technology of garments sewing. And when they discovered our brand they started to buy most of their wardrobe at our shop, but they request very high quality, as if we were an expensive atelier. It is difficult to serve such customers, but it is a good school for us and helps us to become better.
3. Please describe the design and production process that you typically go through.
The process of developing new items starts with the choice of fabric. Next, create sketches, design patterns and the technology of sewing.
Sometimes, until final approval of the item, we [make up to] 5-6 prototypes. But there are exceptions, such as the black top Cayenne
[my favorite from from the Fall 2012 collection, pictured below]. For this top only one prototype was produced. And we all loved it at first sight.
4. How do you handle disagreements over your designs?
Creation of clothes is the collective work. The item does not [go into] production until it reaches the mutual approval of all involved specialists. We have a friendly team of professionals, and in case of controversial issues, we always find a compromise solution. As a rule, all issues are resolved in favor of our clients. Creating our collections, firstly we take care of their comfort and beauty.
5. How does your sizing compare to Pepperberry and BiuBiu?
Please don’t take the D or F cup in our size names literally, it’s just the name of a size. To understand your DD Atelier size you will need to know only your bust, waist and hip measurements. Then you can use our size chart to work out which size is best for you.
Also, we started to compare our sizes with BiuBiu sizes and found out that our D size almost absolutely correspond to BB Biu-Biu size, and our F size almost absolutely equals to BBB BiuBiu size. So their biggest bust size is the same as ours and not bigger as we thought.
So according to measurement tables which are published on their sites we can approximately compare them with our sizes:
DD Atelier 70D = Pepperberry 8RC = 34BB BiuBiu
DD Atelier 70F = Pepperberry 8SC = 34BBB BiuBiu
DD Atelier 75D = Pepperberry 10RC = 36BB BiuBiu
DD Atelier 75F = Pepperberry 10SC = 36BBB BiuBiu
DD Atelier 80D = Pepperberry 12RC = 38BB BiuBiu
DD Atelier 80F = Pepperberry 12SC = 38BBB BiuBiu
DD Atelier 85D = Pepperberry 14RC = 40BB BiuBiu
DD Atelier 85F = Pepperberry 14SC = 40BBB BiuBiu
7. How much does shipping typically cost? What about returns?
Shipping charges when shipping to the U.S. are €10. Within fourteen days of receiving the purchase, we accept returns on non-sale and non-damaged items for full refund to the credit card, minus shipping charges.
In the months ahead, Corporate Curves Reporter Tina will travel to the DD Shop in St. Petersburg to try their clothing in person. In the meantime, please let us know if you order and try something from DD Atelier!