For years, Victoria’s Secret has held a monopoly on the lingerie market, but recently, e-commerce startups like ThirdLove and True and Co. have loosened its grip. The space for new bra and underwear retailers is thriving — ThirdLove raised $8 million in a Series A funding round last year — and Amazon has noticed.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the online retail giant will soon launch its own line of women’s intimate apparel in the U.S. Amazon recently started selling inexpensive bras under the label Iris & Lily in the U.K., and a source told WSJ that it could start selling in the U.S. in the next several weeks.
Amazon’s entry into lingerie has the potential to upend the market’s existing business model. The average price for a bra at Victoria’s Secret is $40, but Amazon’s will reportedly retail for under $10.
What’s unclear however, is how the company will deal with sizing. Bras are notoriously hard to fit, and other online retailers have had to find innovative ways to solve that.
When former Google employee Heidi Zak started ThirdLove, for example, she sought to reshape the experience of bra shopping. In addition to shifting away from the Victoria’s Secret supermodel ideal, Zak launched an app that allows women to determine their bra size by taking a photo. While the app is no longer available, the site has created a quiz to replace it.
But, this isn’t Amazon’s first foray into online apparel. The company is poised to become the biggest clothing seller in the U.S. and, last year, it quietly launched seven of its own fashion labels. Recent job postings suggest the company is now eying active apparel.
The company’s shift into selling its own products hasn’t always been smooth sailing though. In 2015, it announced it would stop selling “Amazon Elements” diapers due to design flaws. While Amazon never specified the problem, one can only imagine the fallout.
Hopefully, the company’s jump into lingerie will be less messy.