|Aarthi Ramamurthy and Michelle Lam|
Forget the measuring tape and fitting halls, two former Microsoft employees said they have cracked the code to find you the perfect bra, and it does not involve standing naked in front of strange men.
Aarthi Ramamurthy, a San Francisco businesswoman, and Michelle Lam, announced the launch of their online store True & Co. on Wednesday, saying they've come up with an algorithm to help women find the best possible fit in the privacy of their own homes.
"The bra shopping experience is one of the most uncomfortable shopping experiences out there," Lam said, recalling the day she realized that there had to be a better way.
"I was trying on 20 different bras looking for a good looking strapless bra. Only one, and literally, one worked for me. The question that came to mind was why it took 20 bras and tape measure to find the one," she said.
The customers will be asked to fill out an online survey that takes about two minutes to complete, answering questions on a number of factors including the shape of the breast and problems with your current undergarments.
The algorithm then produces a page of personal recommendations and allows buyers to choose three bras to test, while the real experts of True & Co. choose two "mystery" bras based on customer responses to the test.
These five bras are sent for free so women can try them on at home and decide what works. Everything on the site is priced at $45, including high-end brands like Calvin Klein and Natori.
"The idea is to wrap a very complicated technology in a simple online questionnaire to make it fun for women," Lam said, noting that 80 percent of women are not wearing the correct bra size.
The more you use it the algorithm learns to accept and reject certain bras. It also adapts to provide different options, including more accurate ones.
Deepa Subramanian, 34, had jumped at the opportunity to beta test the service in March and skip "the misery of shopping for a bra."
"It was a revelation," the bra True & Co. has chosen for her. "It fits like a second skin for me. I've never shopped so easy in my life," she said.