Butterfly Collection: one woman’s mission to fit Canada

Butterfly Collection Canada

Claire Dumican (@bflycollection) left the UK for Canada seven years ago, where her experiences shopping as an ex-pat inspired her to set up Butterfly Collection. Now, her company provides more affordable lingerie for bigger boobs in Canada, with free shipping across the country. But Claire’s ambitions go beyond lingerie retail: Claire is on a mission to re-educate women about fitting, so that everyone can experience the life-enhancing benefits of properly supportive lingerie. As well as offering a personal fitting service to individuals and parties, Butterfly Collection’s Online Bra School is a fantastic resource for finding a good fit by yourself. And Claire, whilst manning the Canadian front of the global battle, has been an invaluable and knowledgeable support in the war on plus four tousles of recent weeks. Fortunately for us, Claire is as lovely as she is inspiring, and was was kind enough to answer a few questions for busts4justice.com. Check her out chatting boobs, bras and body image below.

Claire Dumican Butterfly Collection Canada

What is the lingerie market like in Canada? How does it cater for busty women?

La Senza and Victoria’s Secret dominate the high street. Because La Senza is a Canadian brand it has a lot of customer loyalty here. Neither of these stores is aimed at busty women and currently there isn’t a high street brand that caters to busty women. A lot of busty women have to shop online in the States or buy from boutiques.

What inspired you to set up The Butterfly Collection?

After living here for 4 years I decided I ought to try buying bras here rather than waiting for a trip back home. I knew La Senza and Victoria’s Secret didn’t carry my size, I’m a 32H/34G, so I went to a big department store (the most reputable in Canada). After a cursory browse I asked an assistant if they had bras over a D cup. She looked at me for a moment then said “you mean a double D?” I replied “and the rest of the alphabet.” She shook her head definitively and said “oh no, you’ll need to visit a specialist store.” She may as well have said that I was a freak and needed not to mention my big bosoms in public!

I visited a ‘specialist store’ as directed and they did indeed have my size but they were about $180 each – that’s 120GBP! I went home to find the Canadian equivalent of Bravissimo or Naturally Close. There were lots of companies that would post to Canada but they would have to come across the border which means border fees – not a convenient way to shop for Canadians. My choices were, forever bra shop in England or start an online store for busty Canadians. 18 months later Butterfly Collection was born.

What is your mission?

My mission is two-fold. I want to educate Canadian women about their bra size (the Plus Four Method dominates in Canada) so that they can experience the freedom and happiness of being in the right bra. Secondly, I want to make E+ bras more accessible and affordable for Canadian women so that busty women have choice.

What could lingerie companies do to make things better for curvy women?

I would love North American brands to start making bigger cup sizes and smaller backs. I have a couple of Canadian brands that I love but they don’t do 28 or 30 backs and stop at an F or G cup. The biggest thing I would love to see from lingerie manufacturers and retailers is more education for young women. If we can get 16 year olds interested and passionate about bra size then they could avoid a lifetime of feeling uncomfortable and inadequate in their bra.

What would you say was the single most important thing to consider when fitting bras correctly?

I would say that confidence is really important. I think a lot of women feel intimidated because they’ve been taught to believe that bra fittings are complicated and may ultimately result in an uncomfortable bra that you just have to live with! I want to demystify the bra fitting experience so that it is accessible to women. Bra knowledge is empowering both physically and emotionally.

Do you have any advice for girls feeling unhappy about or pressurised to change their body shape?

Remember that you are a completely unique human being and that is the most beautiful thing about you. The most wonderful moments for me are when a woman who has always felt uncomfortable in her bras and clothes, and consequently uncomfortable in her skin, finds a bra that fits her and rediscovers how amazing her body is and how confident she can feel. Bodies shouldn’t fit fashion, fashion should fit bodies.

Thank you!

Canadian readers near Vancouver can request personal fittings through the Butterfly Collection website, or anyone can check out the excellent Bra School resource for advice finding your own way to a perfect fit.  

This entry was posted in Body Image, Feminism, War on Plus Four, We love... and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Butterfly Collection: one woman’s mission to fit Canada

  1. Thanks so much Beckie! I’ll let you know how the Canadian War-on-Plus-Four goes! I have Sears firmly in my sights 🙂 xx

  2. Lisa Schaffer says:

    Great article! I support Claire in her mission to make us all sassy! Go team!

  3. Gillian says:

    Thank you and thank you and thank you again! I’m Canadian, and even the women who work at the specialist stores look at me like I’m crazy when I ask if they have 28 band sizes.

  4. Samantha says:

    I am so glad to hear this! I hate walking into somewhere like the Bay, Sears or La Senza, and being told I need to visit a specialty store! Isn’t that supposed to be their specialty? Even living in a large Canadian city, the amount of items that any store has in my size (approx. a 30F or G) is so small, and even then, sometimes those just aren’t the right shape for my body, way beyond my price range, etc… Way to go, Claire!

  5. Sysha says:

    OMG this post almost brought tears to my eyes! I am Canadian and I have a small band size (30) and large cup size (I think E but I’m not sure). Right now my best fitting bra is a 32DD from La Senza which is a tragedy! I am definitely looking into the Butterfly Collection!!!!!

  6. Gillian, Samantha and Sysha thank you ALL for these comments, it makes me feel like we really are providing a much needed service! We are looking at bringing in a brand that starts at 26 bands and will be expanding our range of 30 backs to include Freya bras in the Fall which we’re SUPER excited about. I hope to hear from all and introduce you to bras that will become your friends! xx

  7. Samantha says:

    Great news! Have you thought about expanding the items and sizes in the Curvy Kate line you carry?

    • Hafiz says:

      What a pain! Why can’t sales people be more cseaidnrote. The funny thing is that I can’t shop at Victoria’s Secret either… I’m too flat chested. I seriously don’t come close to filling out an A cup. I’ve even tried the “nearly A cup” from another well known brand. No luck. It’s hard at both ends I guess. Way to go on the weight loss! You must feel so proud of yourself!

      • Hafiz, you should definitely check out this blog: http://smallbustbigheart.com/. It’s brilliant for small busts – loads of advice and support. Interestingly, they believe small busts are as let down by traditional fit as big busts – so you may find your solution by sizing down in the back. But they’re better equipped to help you on that front. Good luck! x

      • tony says:

        apologize! at first i wrongly understood butter fly collections with the a butterfly collectors thus why i put a lot about butterflies and insect collection general as my point of concern. but i want to know more about butterfly collection in Canada.

  8. Hey Samantha – we are expanding the Curvy Kate range this Fall to include H cups (and more J and K cups in the Emily and Lottie) then we’ll be adding E-G cups next spring at the latest. Is there a particular size you’re looking for in the Curvy Kate range?

  9. MV says:

    Big thumbs up, Claire! Before moving to Canada I lived in the UK and the USA, and I’m shocked about the comparatively poor awareness and availability of larger cup sizes/smaller band sizes.

  10. Thanks MV! We are slowly but surely changing perceptions. I love getting women into their correct band size, the difference is life changing!

  11. kristinm100 says:

    How is it that I’ve never heard of this and I a) live in Toronto and b) buy from UK all the time because I refuse to pay 180 bucks for a bra at a specialty store. Gotta look into this….

  12. Pingback: Virtual Bra Fitting: Butterfly Collection | Sweet Nothings

  13. Stella says:

    You can certainly see your skills in the work you write.
    The world hopes for even more passionate writers like you who
    aren’t afraid to mention how they believe. Always follow your heart.

  14. Christine says:

    Wow, I’m glad you’ve taken up the cause, thank you. I’ve just discovered the US websites but importing is an additional 18% plus GST, not good on the budget. im at least a DD maybe E, I’ll get a more accurate measurement before I order. It’s amazing that manufacturers think that the bigger the cup the broader the back, mass production is the reason I suppose.
    So many women would look and especially feel better in a proper bra. I’m always a little sad when I see women with ill-fitting bras, they may as well not be wearing one.

  15. Kathryn Gillan says:

    Hey, I love what your doing! I myself am a 38 E to a 38 EE and I cant find a good bra without spending an arm and a leg. Whats most challenging though is finding the right size around. Just cus I have a bigger chest doesn’t mean I’m big around. I live in a smaller community and I’m one of few with a larger chest. Its hard to find a good place with good prices. Thanks for doing this. I know I appreciate it.

  16. Pingback: Virtual Bra Fitting: Butterfly Collection | Sweet Nothings NYC

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