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kelly franko gossamer and grace bra fit studio
Have you ever struggled with finding bras that fit and didn’t know where to turn? Welcome to our Best Lingerie Stores series, where we’re chatting with the best local lingerie stores and sharing their bra fitting expertise with you. These lingerie stores have helped hundreds of thousands of women find their favorite bras — and they want to help you look and feel your best too. This week, we chatted with Kelly Franko of Gossamer & Grace Bra Fit Studio.

All About Gossamer & Grace Bra Fit Studio:

 

Parfait Team: What inspired you to start a business? 

Kelly: I had originally opened a private label mineral makeup and skin care salon in 2002. That business was called Kelly’s Elite Makeup Studio. My sister and I were bra shopping with my mom several times, and she would ultimately end up in tears feeling as though something was wrong with her since there was nothing that fit in any of the department stores. I told my sister that there had to be something better than what the stores had to offer and set off in search of that something better. I fell in love with the lingerie industry and have been on a journey of helping women find a great fit ever since. 

 

PT: What about the lingerie industry interested you?  

Kelly: I have worked in healthcare for 25 years and had started the makeup line because it was fun and women had fun with it. My business was a distraction from the seriousness of my day job. I had stumbled into lingerie in search of a solution for my mom. When I originally was trained in bra fitting, it was with custom fitted bras by Jeunique. These bras served a niche population.  I wanted to continue to find more brands that offered more selection as not everyone wanted the look that the Jeunique design provided. The lingerie industry is full of beauty and confidence and once I found it, there was no turning back.  I have loved being able to help women discover the fabulous brands that are out there and how great they feel when wearing the right size bra. The opportunity I am given every day to serve women by providing professional fittings and great bras allows me to share the beautiful world of lingerie with everyone that visits my boutique.

 

PT: Your store is located in Cortland, OH. How did you decide on the location?

Kelly: I have had a few different locations since opening. The challenges at the first 2 locations gave me a lot of learning experience on where I didn’t want to be. Each had their own challenges that I had not considered because I had taken them at face value without realizing some truths that existed. I am now located where I live which is also where many of my customers are at as well.  The lakeside community has many specialty shops which host events throughout the year. These events along with the tourism to the lake bring potential customers into town as well.

 

PT: Tell us about your store name. What inspired the name Kelly’s Intimates (now Gossamer & Grace Bra Fit Studio)? 

Kelly: As I mentioned earlier, the original name of my business was Kelly’s Elite Makeup Studio. When I decided to get into the lingerie industry, I wanted to keep the name similar so that I did not confuse my current customers. Adding the “Intimates” to the shortened original name implied what could be found inside.

 

PT: Congratulations on your seven-year anniversary! Do you have any big plans you can share with us?

Kelly: I am always thinking and planning.  I have a huge vision for where I want to go from here. The focus on my boutique has been on bras which limits what women would come to shop for.  I am building on what I have now to add more sleep and shapewear along with active wear, loungewear and resort wear. I plan to add accessories and totes along with other items that women can pick up for gifts.  Finding exclusive items in town is difficult and most residents drive elsewhere to shop.  I plan to make it available locally and expand the footprint of where I am.

 

PT: What do you enjoy most about your local community?

Kelly: I have lived in the community for 15 years. It is a small town with great values and residents that appreciate what the community offers.  The specialty shop owners support each other and come together to promote events and activities happening around town. From the mayor to the police and fireman to the schools and everyone in between, there is a sense of connection and positivity. When there is a cause to rally around, everyone gets involved. It is the connections and friendliness that I appreciate most.

 

Bra Fitting at Gossamer & Grace Bra Fit Studio:

 

PT: Why is it important for women to get a professional bra fitting?  

Kelly: As girls, we receive minimal education on breast health and bras so we grow up knowing only what the marketing gurus have shown us; which is minimal. It has been my experience that most women buy what they can find and have limited information on what they need. By working with a professional fitter, women gain access to education on bra structure and function which helps them understand what type of bra will work best for their body type. A fitting also exposes women to brands that they may have never known before which offer a higher quality fit and level of comfort. This helps women understand that bras do not have to be uncomfortable or painful.

 

PT: What do you wish all women knew about lingerie and bra fitting?

Kelly: I would love for women to know what I know. If I could show them a glimpse into the Curve expo where all the beautiful products are displayed, I could help them see that there is so much more beyond the big box stores.  With such limited access to these products, women believe that what is stocked in the department stores is all there is to choose from. I find that women “accept” what the store clerk sells them because that’s all there is to sell them, and that is the focus of the store clerk; to sell you something.  I see ladies everyday who are settling for a poor fit because they are unaware that something better is out there. My focus has always been to educate first so that women can make their best decision on what works for them and what fits the best. I always tell my customers that I would rather get them what they need than sell them what I have. That’s what I want ladies to know; they have choices.  That’s what I offer: quality, fit, selection and options.

 

PT: You’re committed to offering a diverse range of styles and sizes for your customers. What do you look for when selecting new styles?

Kelly: Quality, fit, and comfort are always my top indicators for a new style. When a bra looks pretty, but doesn’t provide comfortable support and proper lift, it doesn’t make my inventory. I have learned a lot about fabrics and design over the years and know what will work for my customers. When I visit shows to see new products, I am a hands-on attendee. I like to see the product on the model, but I also need to feel the fit of the band and check how the bra is sitting on her. I found myself apologizing for wanting to touch everything until one vendor told me that was how they could tell I was good at what I do. I know what to look for. I know where poor structure hurts my customers. I am very careful in the selections I curate so that quality, fit and comfort are never sacrificed. I also like to focus on brands that offer an extended size range so that quality, fit and comfort is available for all my customers. I do not want anyone to feel there is nothing pretty “for them” because of their size.

 

PT: What is the largest bra size you carry?

Kelly: 56N is the largest manufactured size we carry.  We also have seamstresses on hand who have creatively extended that size range for us when needed. Being able to take what is available and customize it for someone is an added service we are proud to offer.

 

PT: We love that you carry bras under $50. What are some of your favorite budget-friendly bras?

Kelly: We have been able to successfully offer budget-friendly, quality bras from a variety of brands. This is true too for all sizes that we carry.  Some of our favorite brands include of course, Parfait, along with QT Intimates, Paramour, Coobie, and Elila.

 

PT: What are your current best-selling bras?

Kelly: Rosa Faia was the second brand I brought in after Jeunique. This brand has been on the best sellers list from the beginning. Parfait, Curvy Couture and Fit Fully Yours offer a fabulous range of options for ladies sized 30A – 46H, with some styles available to K.

 

PT: How many bras does a woman actually need in her lingerie wardrobe?

Kelly: I was trained that women need at least 3 good everyday bras: one to wear, one to wash, and one as a spare. This is a great starting point. From there, we add in specialty bras such as multi-way or strapless, sports, fashion, sexy, or leisure. Once a woman finds what works for her, she has a new view of what is possible!

 

PT: Some of us are shy about buying colored bras. What advice would you give to a woman who loves color, but isn’t sure how to incorporate it into her wardrobe?

Kelly: My experience has been just that; women love to look at the colors in my store, but won’t buy them. What I have found to be successful is to bring the colors in to the fitting room and have her try them on.  When she asks if it comes in beige or black, I’ll ask what they do not like about the color. If it is because they dislike purple – ok.  If it’s because they think the color will show through their clothing, then we discuss what colors they usually wear on a daily basis and we go from there. I have found that most of my customers do not wear sheer, light colored clothing too often. Color, then, becomes an option other than black.

 

PT: What can you tell our readers about Gossamer & Grace Bra Fit Studio?

Kelly: The small, intimate nature of my boutique offers a personal experience that allows women to take their time in finding what is best for them. I have a personal interest in every customer and in helping them find the right solution. I enjoy sharing knowledge with my customers so they understand they differences between styles of bras and what may work for some may not work for them, and that’s ok. I find that many customers come in to my boutique feeling that there is “something wrong” with them since they cannot find anything at the stores. I let each customer know that the fitting process may take some time so that we are able to try on many styles to see which fit is best for her. This helps reassure women that we are all different; not wrong. Once we find the right bra, we are then able to see all options available in that fit. Most women that visit me for a fitting are not familiar with having options especially color options. When they see what all we make available to them, they become excited about the experience with a new-found confidence in their image.

 

PT: Do we need an appointment for a bra fitting?

Kelly: Appointments are definitely recommended. When I know a lady is coming in for a fitting, it allows me the opportunity to have a “pre-fit” conversation with her on what to expect, what to wear and how much time to allow. When clients “stop by” for a fitting while their husband is in the car, or their friend is next door shopping or it’s her lunch break, the fitting is rushed and she is not focused on the bras; she is focused on time. Trying on bras is not rocket science but there is a science and a skill to fitting. Most women that have come to me for a fitting have minimal awareness to the structure that goes into the design of a bra. They know what they want though and finding that perfect bra can take some time.  This is the value of an appointment – she gets my undivided attention, and I get an opportunity to provide education about the how’s and why’s of the fit. It’s a win-win for both of us. The added-bonus, is the human connection that is created. That connection is not easily found online or during a 10-minute rushed fitting. {Editor’s Note: You can book bra parties too!)

 

Untitled design 12 - Best Lingerie Stores: Gossamer & Grace Bra Fit Studio in Cortland, Ohio

Shop at Gossamer & Grace Bra Fit Studio

Store Address: 2959 Fallehn Dr, Cortland, OH 44410

Phone Number: Toll Free- (877) 424-9655 | Local- (216) 464-1080

Website: Gossamer & Grace Bra Fit Studio

 

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Feature image provided by Kelly

Published by

Katie Donnelly

Katie Donnelly is a full-time freelance writer, content manager, and founder of Katie Rose Creative. An experienced bra fitter, Katie has helped hundreds of people shop for lingerie. Her favorite bra is the Sandrine Plunge Longline Bra.

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