Once upon a time, I thought I was putting my economics degree to good use.  Until, that is, I learned how Derek Ohly ’97 spends his days at Zyrra, the company he co-founded.  Clearly, I made an egregious wrong turn at some point after graduation … 

I am doing my utmost to refrain from highlighting Ohly’s “big problem, big solution” line in the below-quoted article.  Oh well, I guess my utmost wasn’t good enough … in all seriousness, it is always cool to see an entrepeneurial Eph succeed, particularly one from the most talented class ever to enroll at Williams (or so I was told back in 1993, and I still choose to believe it). 

Zyrra is a Boston-based company that designs and creates custom made bras for women. They have fit cup sizes from A to H; so their bras really are for any woman, regardless of her size, that wants a comfortable and supportive fit.

Co-founder Derek Ohly explained that “Zyrra was hatched at the Babson MBA program, where I learned from my co-founder that women were dissatisfied with their bras. As I heard from her and countless other women, this was a big problem in need of a big solution. Coming out of school, we created the company and set about learning what we needed to learn – essentially everything about apparel construction, bras, suppliers, manufacturers, CAD software, direct sales, and packaging. And we did it.”

The company got its name from a friend’s grandmother who called bras “zyrra’s” as in “bra-zyrra”. “That was perfect. All we had to do was come up with a spelling,” said Ohly.

Zyrra takes 10 measurements in order to create the perfect fit bra; the measurements include back, bust, band, and wire. This is called their Fit Bra Measuring System. The measurements are then used to produce a unique bra pattern for each individual client.

“Because our bras are custom made according to each client’s measurements, Zyrra does not use standardized cup and band sizes. A woman cannot measure herself for a Zyrra bra,” said Ohly.

There are two ways to get measured for a bra; in store and during a bra party. A bra party or “fitting occasion” is just like a Tupperware party. A hostess invites in friends over for food and drinks and a Zyrra Fit Specialist will be there to explain what Zyrra is and what sets them apart from other bra companies. The Fit Specialist will measure anyone who would like to be fitted for their own custom made bra.

Ohly said, “Women hate bra shopping. That’s well-documented. So we thought, how do we offer our product and service in a way that stands apart from the department store experience? The answer: let people relax with their friends at home, and bring high-quality, professional service to them. What could be more comfortable than that?”

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