When Elizabeth Rietz’s daughter was eight, she was an “early bloomer.” Like many preteens, she wasn’t quite ready for a bra, but started wearing a second layer under her shirts to feel more comfortable. When Elizabeth scoured stores to find a next step solution—a comfy cami with a shelf bra—she wasn’t impressed with the options. “That became my first idea: to create a super soft cami with a shelf bra to add more coverage and help girls get used to wearing a bra,” shares Elizabeth.
A few years later, the mom of two says she needed a better solution. “When it came time to her moving to a bra at age 10, all of them were too itchy, scratchy or too sexy with too much padding. We tried soooo many brands!! Even though my daughter is extremely sensitive to clothing, I talked to other moms and realized that we weren’t the only ones struggling with finding appropriate, comfortable bras and camis,” says Elizabeth. Shortly after, Elizabeth and her husband, Bill, launched Bleuet, a line of first bras that are comfortable for all children, even those with clothing sensitivities.
We spoke to Elizabeth about this passion project, what separates the line from other training bras, and more.
Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?
My husband, Bill, and I live in Los Angeles with our two teenagers (ages 16 and 13). Bill and I are high school sweethearts, and we both grew up in Dallas, Texas. We moved to LA when he went to business school at USC, and we settled in the Silver Lake neighborhood. He decided to join me in founding Bleuet together in the fall of 2019.
What were you doing prior to launching Bleuet?
Before Bleuet, I had a marketing consulting business helping a variety of clients with their marketing and PR efforts. While this is my first time to have an apparel company, I did partner with my brother to create a recycled billboard bag company years ago. That one didn’t work out, but that didn’t stop me from having another go with a DTC (direct-to-consumer) e-commerce business. I was raised by a serial entrepreneur who had a fair share of failures along with successes.
How is this completely different from other “training bras” on the market?
We tried lots of brands, and the problem they all had was the seams. That’s also what I heard from other moms, too. I worked with an apparel designer to create a simple bralette with clean finish to reduce the number of seams. I also searched and searched for THE softest fabric I could find. Our bras are reversible, so that also makes them different from other training bras. We wanted to give tweens and teens two fun color options in every bra they purchase.
In addition, our bras are double-lined to provide coverage in the first stages of breast development. As girls develop more, we offer a few styles with light padding. We strive to make sure our bras are age appropriate without lots of padding and being too sexy.
How else do you address specific sensory issues?
We minimize the number of seams and have selected incredibly soft fabrics. Some with sensory issues don’t like the feel of the elastic or the hardware (bra adjusters and sliders on the elastic), so we created our Aster Bra without any elastic.
Why is size inclusivity such a core part of your brand?
Girls come in different shapes and sizes, so we wanted our sizing to fit a range of different body types. We continue to add new styles and sizes to our collection so we can fit even more girls.
What is the Bleuet Girl Entrepreneurship Program?
We partner with tween and teen entrepreneurs who have either started their own non-profit organization or give back in some other way to their community. We support and invest in their organization or social cause and help bring awareness to their efforts. Each month, we feature a different cause supported by one of our entrepreneurs and invite our customers to participate in donating with us.
What is your signature item?
Our Bleum Bra is our signature bra with over 1500 5-star reviews. Many customers say “it’s the best first bra ever” or tell how their daughters forget they are wearing it and will sleep in it. Next, would be our Iris bra, which is for more developed tweens and teens. It is still a pullover bra, but it has more shape and light, removable padding. This bra has over 200 5-star reviews and is loved for its cute style and coverage.
How has social media impacted your business or been a part of your growth?
Social media has been an integral part of our business. We work with lots of tween, teen, and mom influencers who try our products and share their reviews. It’s also a way for customers to chat with us, give us feedback, and learn about the latest products or what cause we are supporting for the month.
What is the feedback you hear most often?
The most rewarding feedback ever was when one mom told us her daughter was using our racerback as a backpack for her heart pump instead of having to wear an external backpack all day, every day. The mom sent us photos of her beaming with confidence. Her daughter said, “Look mommy, I can be just like regular kids!”
Anything else you’d like to share or I haven’t asked about?
Our brand is committed to giving back to those in need as evident in our Bleuet Entrepreneurship Program. We also encourage our customers to join us in giving back, and we want to spread kindness out in the world. It’s hard being a tween or teen today, and we want to be a brand that helps them feel loved and celebrated as the beautiful, unique kids that they are.
What’s next for your brand?
As mentioned above, we plan to expand our product line to fit more body types, especially those with larger cup sizes. We are asked all the time about underwear, socks, and swimwear, so maybe those, too? We’ll see! We are always open to customer feedback on new product ideas!
We love to support local businesses. What are your favorite places in LA to:
Go out for a girl’s night: Salazar
Go for fun as a family: Los Alamos
Get your hair done: Casey Crawley Hair
Get your nails done: I don’t really have a favorite & don’t really have time to get them done these days!
Go shopping: Abbott Kinney in Venice
To add one: My husband and I have lots of business meetings at Eagle Rock Brewery!
This story is sponsored by Bleuet.