Engineers apply their expertise to everything from food to cars to city infrastructures, working to make everything bigger, better, and more efficient. In Pittsburgh, two Carnegie Mellon University alums saw an opportunity to use their skills in one neglected market -- bras for the well-endowed.
Last September, industrial engineers Laura West and Sophia Berman founded Trusst
, an East Liberty-based lingerie company that specializes in creating a more comfortable, more supportive bra for women with larger busts. What started as a side project that combined their educational backgrounds with their mutual love of sewing has since gained attention for raising awareness of a problem many women face -- finding a bra that actually fits. To drive that point home, Trusst even produced a humorous promotional video
showing men struggling to wear various bras stuffed with melons.
As for their products, the team at Trusst hopes to stand out from other retailers with innovative designs enhanced by intelligent engineering.
"As designers, we are placing form and function as our primary focus, ensuring support and comfort ahead of pure fashion," says Berman. "We are removing the extreme pain that larger busted women face from unsupportive bras."
While most bras on the market depend on the shoulder straps for support -- which can cause various problems, including back strain -- Berman and West's patent-pending design lifts the weight of a woman's bust from underneath. The company also created its own sizing system that determines cup size by breast volume as opposed to more traditionally used band measurement, which allows for a more customized fit.
Aiding them in their mission is the startup incubator AlphaLab Gear
, which, as Berman explains, provided a space for them to grow and build their company. The women also invested in a MakerBot 3-D printer to help them achieve their vision of the perfect bra.
"We used 3-D printing a lot in our initial development to help us rapidly iterate and develop the form of our structures," says Berman. "The first purchase we made as a company was our MakerBot, and it has been extremely instrumental in aiding us in our prototyping."
Their work, as well as their self-promotion, has not gone unnoticed -- recently, Berman and West launched a Kickstarter campaign
for Trusst that reached its $25,000 goal in less than a week. Any additional funds raised over the campaign's remaining weeks will help the company add to its large selection of sizes (the number now stands at 42), as well as its product line, which now includes three bras and matching panties.
"Depending on demand, we plan to expand our core line into additional colors and patterns, as well as expand to even larger sizes than we are initially offering," says Berman. "Future development includes athletic and swimwear for larger cup sizes."
The Trusst Kickstarter campaign will continue until May 22.