Forever and a Day is an up-and-coming lingerie brand with a mission to empower women to feel confident and sexy. With a unique approach to sizing, the brand is committed to representing different body shapes and sizes online. We spoke with founder Apryl Yii about launching the business as a side hustle while studying and eventually working as a lawyer, and how she made the decision to ditch her day job and pursue Forever and a Day full-time. Inside Retail: Tell me the story behind how you
w you launched Forever and a Day Intimates and what inspired you to quit your day job to work in a start-up? Apryl Yii: I had always wanted to start an e-commerce business, but as it is with most people, the struggle was deciding what product or service I wanted to provide to my customers. I was studying a double degree in commerce and law and did a marketing unit in China where we were brought around to various businesses, including visiting the wholesale markets over there. I was amazed by the array of products, literally set up in a large multi-storey open-plan building, with vendors selling everything you could think of, but in-bulk…100s and 1000s of units. During my free time, I’d visit the vendors and I saw that there were so many retail stores selling lingerie and this was what piqued my interest as something that would satisfy the creative side of me, and also give me the product that I needed to start my business. When I came back to Melbourne I started looking into suppliers in China and initially started wholesaling lingerie. I did all the aspects of my business back then, including photography and photo editing for my website. I found the set0up, work grind and everything I was learning along the way so interesting and different from anything that traditional corporate work could have taught me. It’s a different feeling of satisfaction when you see a passion project come to life and really gain traction! When I started the brand, I was working as a legal assistant and once I had graduated uni I was at a boutique law firm for a little while. I had a taste of the 9-to-5 but it was nothing like the thrill of running your own business, seeing your products on influencers and models and then having customers purchase and give great feedback about how my lingerie made them feel and look. Being able to work on your own terms, set your own schedule and plan all the decisions was something that really got my gears turning, so during Covid, I quit my day job and started working full-time on the business. IR: A lot of brands want to be sustainable and ethical. What are some of the challenges when it comes to adopting those approaches in a business? AY: With every part of the business that you want to make more sustainable or ethical, there is an unfortunate markup associated with it, and managing the pricing so that it’s still competitive but meeting the needs of your customer is a challenge. As a small business, wanting to reduce your footprint can make it hard to compete in an economy of scale. Sustainability within the supply chain was a big focus for me in the early days of my business, reducing the plastic from manufacturer to my warehouse was something I tried hard to work on. Compostable packaging was not so prevalent back in 2018, so I had to get creative to find ways to reduce plastic. For example, prior to 2020, we had products shipped in cardboard boxes and had suppliers pack in bulk of 50 or 100 pieces per satchel. Over time, and a year’s worth of product releases, that’s thousands of plastic bags that we save from landfill. Now I’m proud to say all the packaging we receive and send out is recyclable or compostable, and the next step is working on being carbon neutral to our customers! On the production side of things, finding a factory that would produce in small batches but still maintain a high quality was one of the biggest challenges. I’ve been really blessed to be able to work with a small factory in China that can make and dye all my embroidery lace to order, or use up trims and lace from other brands to reduce wastage. Managing mark-ups when producing small is definitely a challenge, but I think customers are becoming more conscious and understanding of the production process. IR: How would you describe your core customer and what she is looking for? AY: My core customer is a girl who is fashion forward, appreciates the finer details in her clothing and accessories and isn’t afraid to embrace her body. She’s looking for lingerie that’s functional and elevates her wardrobe in an effortless way. IR: What have been some of the most interesting insights that you’ve gathered when it comes to designing for women and what they’re looking for? AY: One of the most powerful pieces of feedback I get is that our lingerie has helped our customers embrace their bodies to feel sexy and confident for themselves. I love that I get to be part of a woman’s journey in finding that part of herself, so I always [ask myself], is this design unique and special and will it fit and feel like that killer LBD? I’ve found that women don’t necessarily want clothes that are trendy, they want pieces that give them that boost of confidence at their lowest. IR: What are some of the challenges for lingerie brands in this current climate? AY: Seeing, touching and trying your product before purchase is especially important for lingerie and underwear and in an increasingly online world, making this easy and accessible for customers is something we’re continuing to work on. Sizing is really personal and being able to provide accurate fitting advice through our customer service and online sizing guides is something that all lingerie brands would love to get right in the first go. It goes hand in hand with building credibility and trust with our customers. I also think the inflation squeeze at the moment has a lot of customers being increasingly wary about the functionality and comfort of their underwear, as opposed to spending their money on luxuries. Brands have to keep this in the forefront of their minds to ensure they’re ticking more boxes that they otherwise might have considered. IR: In recent years, there has been a backlash against major lingerie retailers like Victoria’s Secret due to their lack of diversity and inclusion. What is your take on that for your business? Tell me about the flexible sizing system and how it works. AY: I love that women are demanding more and more for inclusivity and diversity. Not only does seeing your size make it more practical to shop online but I think it’s so important for women to see themselves being represented in a positive and empowering way. With younger girls growing up with social media constantly comparing themselves, it’s so easy to feel discontent about their bodies. I think that empowering this generation to own who they are, to have good overall health and mental wellness and to know that we aren’t all or always will be what we see online, is especially important so that future generations can be empowered and not repeat the mistakes of the past. In every collection, we try to shoot with two to three girls of different sizes, so we can represent a range of bodies, and especially bust sizes! We try to avoid always shooting with girls that you might typically think would fill out a bra, we love having our ‘ittie bittie tittie’ girls there too, because our lingerie looks superb on all sizes! As a small business, we don’t have the resources to be able to provide every specific cup size, so we offer a flexible sizing that aims to capture most of our customers. Bra sizing works like sister sizes, for example, a girl who is a 10B could also wear a 12A bra. We’ve been able to make the most of this by including an adjustable slider back that adjusts from an 8-14 to capture the cup sizes from an A-DD within our size range. IR: What are your plans for Forever and a Day this year? Do you see the brand launching a physical presence at some point? AY: There are some super exciting things in store for the brand, including a cheeky new product launch, new sleepwear and of course, beautiful lingerie that we can’t wait to share! We would love to have a physical presence in 2023, maybe in the form of a pop-up or partnering with existing retail stores to offer a physical shopping experience to our customers.