Lingerie Designer Feature: Annika Chaloff

I stumbled across Married & Bright one day as I was trolling Instagram for some inspiration. Am I ever glad I did! This treasure of a website paints such a vivid picture of its owner, Annika – her personality, her values, her goals and, of course, her products! Her fun loving style, attention to detail, and variety of patterns assures there is something for every woman out there.

Did I mention the packaging? Wow. My order showed up in a gold mailer, my new undies were carefully folded into a satin drawstring bag, and Annika also included a personalized message and business card. So personal and memorable! It really raised my expectations about the quality of the lingerie I bought – and Married & Bright did not disappoint. The USA-sourced mesh of my bralette and undie set provides a stretchy, body hugging fit and I am in love with the patterned elastic. These little gems would make great and affordable bachelorette party gifts (or a little just-for-you treat).

Speaking of treats, I had the pleasure of speaking with Annika about her ambitions, and her views on lingerie shopping, dessert and life! Just like a visit to Married & Bright (do it!), the convo was just too good not to share. Have a read.

 

What got you into the lingerie designing/making business?

Before I had my lingerie business, Married & Bright, I had a line of maternity wear and children’s clothing {I know! The opposite end of the fashion spectrum!}, called Expect. I operated it for a little over 3 years before I reached a breaking point and realized that essentially it wasn’t fun for me anymore. Beyond that, it was really making me miserable. I made the hard decision to shut it down at the end of 2014.  Closing Expect felt like such a total and utter personal failure to me that I vowed never to run a business again. But… just a few short weeks later, I was feeling a creative itch. I decided out of the blue to use some of the leftover materials from Expect — the elastic I was using to make baby headbands — to make a bralette. I took a photo of that sparkly bralette lying on my bed and the requests for duplicates came rolling in. On a whim, I set up an easy shop to process payment, and suddenly I was back in business! This product felt infinitely more inspiring to me, and the results of running a lingerie business were so much more deeply gratifying.

 

Where does the name “Married and Bright” come from?

Before I got married I had a blog that I ran under my maiden name. While my husband and I were driving down the coast of California on our mini-moon, I was contemplating changing the name of my blog now that my own name had changed. “Merry & Bright” is a family inside joke, and given that my wedding quickly followed the holidays, the phrase was floating around in my head. I decided to change my blog name to Married & Bright to fit my new status as a Mrs, and when I opened shop about a year later, in my rush to get things rolling, I decided to just use my blog name and change it later when I thought of something better. I bet you can guess how that ended.

 

What makes your products unique?

When I made my first M&B bralette, it was for myself. I hadn’t seen any glittery, fun lingerie out on the market like it, and I was excited to create something that made me feel good. That ethos has been a common thread in all my work since the beginning of Married & Bright. I want to create lingerie that is designed to make women feel wonderful, first and foremost. If your husband, wife, boyfriend, or girlfriend thinks you look cute in it, that’s an awesome bonus! But it’s not my primary goal to please the partners of women. That’s why you’ll never see body-altering products from me, such as push up bras, or shapewear. My goal is to accentuate what you already have, not to change it.

I offer custom sizing for the very reasonable rate of five extra dollars because frankly, very few women I know fit into standard sizing in all areas of their bodies. I don’t want to upcharge a premium, or make someone feel like not being standard is some kind of punishment, and I really want to make sure the fit is as close to perfect as possible.

I also offer colors, styles, prints, and silhouettes that aren’t found anywhere else. My Black Cat Bralette is my top seller, because I don’t believe there is any other handmade lingerie brand putting kitties on ya titties. ;)

 

What's something important you want to share? (This can be anything!)

I guess the most important thing I’d like to convey through my business is to be supportive and encouraging of other women. In a world that seems to becoming increasing hectic and scary, I hope that Married & Bright can be a port in the storm. I’m hoping to create a more safe space around women’s rights, standards of beauty, body positivity, and empowerment. I recently created a Facebook group to be a incubator for these ideals. I’d encourage any woman who wants to surround herself with out strong ladies to join: Married & Bright Mavens.  

I've had a customer tell me that my high waist undies make her feel like a “goddess.” That epitomizes my goals when it comes to why I create lingerie in the first place.

 

What’s your advice on bra or lingerie shopping?

Buy what makes YOU feel good! If you feel self conscious in the dressing room, but you think your partner would like it… skip it. You’ll feel weird in front of them too. Buy what actually fits you, not the size you wish you were. Some lingerie brands inflate your cup size and reduce your band size to make you think you're bustier and more narrow than you actually might be. Don’t let this influence you. When shopping in person, try on. When shopping online, know your measurements.

 

What brands inspire you?

I love ban.do’s branding. Fun, bright, happy, irreverent, slight 80s, and full of attitude. It really speaks to me. I also enjoy the shopping experience of walking into an Anthropologie. Everything is so well curated. The scent in the air, the music, the floors, walls, the way the clothes are laid out; it’s totally immersive.

What’s your favorite dessert?

The first thing that comes to mind is something chocolate! I love chocolate mousse or a lava cake. I’ll also never turn down a donut.🍩 🍩 🍩

 

Last question!!!!:  What can we expect to see in the future?

I am super excited about the Spring Collection that I released on March 15th. I introduced some new styles to my line that you’ve never seen from Married & Bright before. This spring launch also comes with a change in my business model. I used to make every bra and undie to order, but now I will be fully stocked with ready-to-ship inventory so everyone can get their lingerie faster! I will still make to order any customized item, but I’m hoping to bring down lead times for that as well by reducing the volume of items I have to make on command. I’m also bringing on brand reps — My Married & Bright Models — for the first time. I’m excited to share my lingerie being featured on every day women of all sizes.

 

Thanks for reading!