Jené Luciani has been dubbed the official bra expert, or as I like to call Bra-preneur. She is a best-selling author of four books, and has been featured on The Today Show, Dr. Oz, Wendy Williams, and more. Her journey over the past 20 years has led her to become such a successful business woman, expert, and friend to woman all across the globe.
Jené was kind enough to speak with us at The Buzz about how she got to where she is, some expert tip + tricks on how to find the best bra, and some added inspiration you might need as a quick pick-me-up!
CAN YOU GIVE US A QUICK SUMMARY OF HOW YOU GOT STARTED WITH YOUR BUSINESS?
“It was definitely not quick, haha. I always like to joke around that it takes 20 years to become an overnight success.
I actually got my start as a TV news producer for an NBC affiliate here in the Albany, NY area. I moved downstate to New York a few years later and I was still working in news. Then I got a job working for a production company where I was producing fashion content for CNN. So, I would go backstage at fashion week and interview Michael Kors, go to big fashion shows in New York, work with all of the designers, and capture footage and interview them. I became interested at the time to do freelance writing for magazines.
I started pitching a local magazine where I lived and they were an awesome local magazine, but they had no fashion content whatsoever. So, I was like, ‘Hey, can I meet with you? I get to interview these cool designers and I can help you get advertisers with department stores.’ So, they gave me a chance and I ended up starting with my own column, and then I did that fashion and beauty column for 5 years.”
Around that time, Jené began booking herself on camera as a fashion expert. Between living in New York and going to Albany to do morning shows, you could say she was pretty busy. The lightbulb went off when she was assigned to write an article about bras. She quickly realized a whole realm about bras that no one was talking about – no one was venturing into. She wanted to be a role-model that could give objective advice that women all around the world could trust. Not a person trying to convince you and sell a product, but rather a friend.
“So, I started the whole process of proposals and everything and it was a three year process from start to finish of getting my publishing deal. Through that time, I got an agent and my agents had suggested getting a bra company to partner with. So, I reached out to Fashion Forms and she ended up private labeling 20,000 copies of the book. So, that’s how The Bra Book was born and it ended up being at the Oscars in the gifting suite, and the Emmys.”
Fashion Forms does a promotional tool so that catapulted Jené into pitching The Today Show where she landed her own fashion segment.
The Today Show got her foot in the door and she was on that show regularly for a number of things. Then, it led to her eventually being on Wendy Williams and Dr. Oz for bra segments. From there, the term “bra expert” was coined.
After a number of segments on TV, her pink carpet unveiling of the kindle version of her book, and her determination and drive to put her hands in many areas of the field, Luciani has been rightfully dubbed not only “bra expert” but “bra-lebrity” and, “bra-preneur” as well. Now, she is designing her own bra line after working for Soma, an intimates brand.
“In between that time, I wrote another book called “Get it” with Jacqueline Laurita from the NJ Housewives. That book had some information about bras in there but it was more about lifestyle. Through that I learned people really appreciate me as their go-to for bra and boob advice, so I decided that this was my passion and I want to cultivate and stick with that.
On a plane to Chicago, I got the idea for Gigi Gets a Bra, because my daughter is 11, but when she was 9 years old, she had already started developing. I would always get these emails from parents explaining they don’t know what to do, like “do I get my daughter fitted,” or, “do I get her a sports bra?” So, I figured this would be a great way to help them in a lighthearted and fun way. Because what I’ve noticed being in this industry is that women have a very negative view of bras. Women can’t wait to take their bra off at the end of the day. They hate going shopping for bras. They don’t want some old lady groping them. I figured if I can frame it as a positive thing in a girl’s life. It will have been a positive memory with mom or dad and it would have been a positive thing.
So, that’s how Gigi Gets a Bra was born, and I was working with a bra company to have the book on the counters at all of their stores but then the pandemic happened. So, I decided to put it out myself on amazon as a soft release because I wanted to be sensitive to all of the major things happening in the world.
So, in a nutshell that’s about 20 years, and some other things along the way.”
WHAT ARE SOME FUNDAMENTALS OF A GOOD FITTING BRA?
“There are a lot of different options out there for you. I believe you can find something comfortable for you without too much struggle with it. There are so many styles out there that you can find the right bra for you. In The Bra Book, I say you need six different types of bras, but now there’s no basic bra this is suitable for everyone. Do some legwork, and find what works for you – what fits your lifestyle, what fits your body, and what fits your budget.”
HOW DOES A PROPER FITTING BRA HELP BOOST A WOMAN’S CONFIDENCE?
“It helps you immensely. If you’re going through your day and constantly tugging on it, or your shoulders are hunched over and it’s causing you pain, that’s all you can really think about. You can’t think about being your best self, and standing up straight, and putting yourself out to the world – you’re feeling insecure about your bra.
Or, if it’s bumpy and it’s popping out in the front and you feel you don’t look good in your clothes, again, you’re gonna be more insecure. So, I think that having that right bra is going to do wonders for a woman’s confidence. I’ve seen it happen, and I’ve done a million bra makeovers for TV and magazines and help women find their right fit. It’s amazing to see the women and their before-and-after and see that not only does she look better, but she’s also standing up straighter and you know that feels better.”
WHAT ARE SOME COMMON BRA ISSUES YOU SEE?
“The wrong fit is the most common. When I measure women at events with a tape measure, generally they’re the wrong size bra. Even if it’s a sister size situation where they’re kind of close, that’s pretty rare too. Typically, 9/10 women are the wrong size in my experience. So that statistic of 90% of women wearing the wrong bra is pretty accurate.
I would say, not only just the wrong size, but then that misconception that you can take that size bra you were measured at and then you can buy that bra size in every style and at any store. Unfortunately, there’s no standard sizing in the bra industry. The good thing now is there’s so much private labeling going on that there’s one company making bras for multiple other companies so it gives it some consistency. But, one company could make something based off of fit models.
They will use someone with say, a 34D, and then base their sizes going up and down off of that one person’s body. That’s what’s tricky. Every human is different. You can’t say one body type or size is going to fit all. Another company that doesn’t use fit models and uses their own configuration can have a 34D size and they’re not the same. There’s no consistency besides giving us that 6 months-a year, as our body changes, it’s going to affect our bra size. So, besides doing the general maintenance of getting fit, it’s also understanding you can’t buy bras in that size and assume they’re going to fit perfectly.
It’s all about doing your research and being a savvy shopper.”
HOW DO YOU SEE INSERTS HELPING WOMEN IN DIFFERENT SITUATIONS?
“I have been a big fan of inserts my whole career. Not only would I recommend them, but I would use them on the Today Show segments when I would do bra makeovers. I pretty much used them in every segment that I did. A woman having two different size breasts, that is an easy, no-brainer way to use them. Sometimes, depending on the insert you can use them to go braless. They’re good for a bra you really love but don’t have a modesty component to it, or for more shape or cleavage. There’s a lot of different ways that you can use them.”
WHAT BRA TRENDS COULD YOU SEE IN THE FUTURE?
“I can’t talk about it too much right now, but the concept for my bra line is unlike anything that has ever been done before. It goes beyond just the bra and it’s going to uplift women in a way other than just the bra itself. I think that it will set a trend in it of itself, so I can’t wait to be able to announce what that is because I think it will be life changing for women.
I think obviously the comfort bra will continue as we’re in the midst of this weird situation right now with the pandemic. Everyone’s working from home, homeschooling their kids, and looking for comfort, so I don’t really see that trend going anytime soon.”
If you want to read more and keep up to date with Jené Luciani, check out the links below!