Founded by Kate Low in 2012, Perk by Kate was born out of the ideology to bring real lingerie, to real women. The business started out as a multi-label retailer of cult lingerie labels like Eberjey, Lonely Lingerie and For Love & Lemons, but in 2014 Low took a leap of faith and branched into lingerie design to launch her debut in-house brand, the Perk by Kate label. Now, Perk by Kate has debuted its first multi-label lingerie store, the Perk by Kate Lingerie Studio.
BAZAAR sat down with designer Kate Low to talk about padded bralettes and her first brick-and-mortar store.
What originally inspired your love of lingerie?
I’ve always had a keen interest in fashion and loved lingerie simply for its exquisite designs and air of romance. I shopped around a lot for lingerie but being a petite lady, I noticed a distinct lack of comfortable lingerie in the market for small ladies. It was really my love for lingerie that inspired me to start Perk by Kate.
Can you tell us a little about your padded bralette and why you think it has become your best-selling style?
When I started Perk by Kate as a multi-label five years ago, bralettes were our bestselling style. However, those bralettes were unpadded or sometimes unlined, and that was a pain point for many of my customers. A common feedback we received was, “If only they were padded.” It took me three years before I managed to find the right workshop to manufacture and produce our first collection of padded bralettes. Once our customers tried them on, they were sold. We sold out within two weeks and we never looked back. You might think bralettes are only for the petite ladies, but we do have fuller ladies coming to us to look for wireless options too. They just want something that looks good and fits well. And that’s where our pieces come in, because our bralettes look better than the average everyday lingerie you see out there, and they fit well.
What is the most important thing to keep in mind when designing lingerie for real women?
Lingerie is the most intimate piece of garment a woman will own and wear on a daily basis. It has to be well designed, well constructed, and it must provide enough support yet not sacrifice comfort and style. Most importantly, a good bra has to fit right. Fit is an often overlooked feature. The bras in the market can be “overly standardised” – they seem to fit everyone, but yet fit no one. Over the years we have developed a size range that fits most body types (32 – 36 A-C cup), and we are looking to perfect our fit for the fuller ladies (32-38 C/D cup). On top of our own sizing guideline, if a customer writes me to say that the band of her piece is still too loose for her, we will alter it for her.
What is it that sets Perk by Kate apart from other lingerie brands?
If I have to compare Perk by Kate with other lingerie brands, the differentiating factor would be our customer service. Perk by Kate is managed by myself, together with a very small team. I am extremely hands-on in every single aspect of the business’ operations. As such, our speed to change can be really fast. I can also make customer service decisions which may not be considered wise decisions by an employed CEO or staff, but they are decisions that will benefit and keep my customers happy.
Why did you decide to make the transition from from e-commerce into a physical retail store?
The studio was a natural extension of our e-commerce business; while buying lingerie online is no longer unheard of, there are still so many ladies with unmet lingerie needs and fitting concerns. We wanted to reach out to this particular group and create a space for heart-to-heart conversations where we can get to know them, and craft lingerie that speak to the actual needs of real women.
You can visit the Perk by Kate Lingerie Studio at 134A Telok Ayer Street, Tuesdays – Saturdays, 12pm – 7pm or online here.