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What sizes have been selling and what does that mean we will make?

  • By Catherine Clavering
  • 2 comments

What sizes have been selling and what does that mean we will make?

You can just skip to the bottom if you want to know what sizes I'll be trying to add!

It is a truth universally unacknowledged that the size ranges brands make are based on;

  • previous sales data - especially early and full price sales 
  • survey data on your customers or core demographic (small brands use the former, big brands the latter)
  • what your factories will actually make
  • what you can afford

and, sometimes, personal or group bias.

I know 'don't ask doesn't get', normally, but in business it's don't buy, don't get.

Obviously there are some flaws with this. By definition you can only sell sizes that you have had in stock previously - hence the use of surveys or size data.

So for a long time when thinking about size ranges  I was reliant on surveys and er, crystal ball gazing. 
That and the knowledge that, for example, doing an extra DD-G or 2XL-6XL for a range would cost min £5000, IF the factory was feeling nice and excluding marketing costs. 
It is also often more effective to do a wider range of styles in a narrower range of sizes for small brands. I don't know why, but more choice in what you can buy is often more compelling than a wider range of sizes - overall. Obviously for you as an individual that may well not be true.

On the upside, now there we have guest brands who cover everything from a 26 back (albeit on +0 so more like a 30 in our sizes) to H and K cups and from XXS to 7XL. So I can look at actual sales data from those! Hurrah!

3 including a plus size and full busted woman wear mint green mesh strappy lingerie  sat on a red velvet sofa
Playful Promises Eddie in Aqua runs across more than 80 sizes


Regrettably Shopify, the sales platform we use, doesn't make this easy. You can find sales figures per product, but they were never really set up for anyone who has a possible 85 size variants! So I have to go through and do this by one of the most old fashioned methods ever; look at each product and add up the numbers. At least I can order them by the best-selling, so to produce the sales map above, I only did that for the top 50 or so bra sized products.

After dragging out some figures I coloured things in, so that the darker a size is, the more it sold. It's a bit patchy - I suspect if I went through  and did more products it would smooth out. But roughly what we're getting is this;

Sales are clumped around a 34DD - which will please people who know that this is the 'UK average bra size'.
Personally I've always been confused as to what they mean by that since the usual way to calculate an average isn't possible for bras, but let's assume they mean most often sold, in which case - matching! Anyways, basically I need to boost how many I order around that size, if I can. Honestly a lot of the time we're just ordering the minimum order quantity and no extras, because money.

38 back bras have started to sell again - we used to do them as standard but for a while they didn't sell well enough to justify them. It looks like I should try making them again.

We're still not seeing the sales in fuller bust cups the UK market has generally, possibly due to using the +4 method, but it looks like it would make sense to do E and F cups if possible.

Graph showing mean, median and mode  for skewed distributions in clothing

All the data we have ever been able to find shows that sizes in clothing tend to follow the pattern above

I haven't included the sizes sold for briefs, shapewear and so on, but the most often sold size has been drifting upwards. Whilst we only sell a handful of 3XL or over items, 2XL sales are definitely strong enough to mean I'll be trying to do more of those. Meanwhile XS and XXS sales are basically non-existent. This is pretty consistent with my first ever article about what sizes brands make and why - the line through the middle has shifted and thats about all.

Plus size black longline open bottom vintage girdle in a retro lingerie style
Playful Promises stock the retro classics in sizes S-2XL


Conclusion; in the next range it's possible for (Kliterati II, return of the print) I'll be adding in 38 backs, E and F cups, and 2XL's. And I'll try to keep doing that, within the bounds of money and practicality.

 

So though the samples here are medium, the longline bra, roll on girdle, high waist knicker and more will come  in sizes 32-38 A-F and S-2XL.

 

 

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