As a small-chested woman, Ms Kate Low, founder of home-grown lingerie label Perk by Kate, understands how frustrating it can be to find pretty undergarments that also fit well.
Just five years ago, she could shop only at a limited range of brands such as La Senza and Triumph, or at Victoria's Secret's e-commerce site. Even then, she often found the bras too big for her.
The 32-year-old says: "It was difficult to find good lingerie that could fit and last well, so I kept thinking about this (gap in the market)."
Eventually, despite having no background in entrepreneurship, the former digital marketing manager launched her e-commerce site, Perk by Kate, in 2012.
The multi-label store started off selling lace bralettes from American lingerie labels Eberjey and Honeydew Intimates.
When customers started asking for bralettes with removable padding soon after, Ms Low quickly responded by designing her own bras and launching them under her in-house lingerie label, also called Perk by Kate, in 2014.
One reason for the popularity of her range, say her regular customers, is practicality: They do not need to worry if the bra straps are visible.
A regular customer, housewife Karen Goh, 43, says: "The strap on T-shirt bras tend to be thicker and come in boring colours such as nude or black, which don't look good when they show."
"But Perk by Kate's bra straps are skinnier and come in pretty colours."
Ms Low's range of pastel-coloured bralettes with thin ribbon straps were a hit, selling out within a week.
Prices for her Perk by Kate line range from $39 for panties to $69 for a bra.
One of the label's best-selling styles is the Alexis ($49), a triangular-shaped padded bralette with delicate eyelash lace trimming.
Ms Low, who quit her job in February last year to focus on her label, also designs unlined bras for special occasions.
On Valentine's Day last month, for instance, she launched two front-clasp styles: Ada, a triangular lace bralette, and Flora, a sheer bralette with floral applique.
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And when customers wrote in last year to request different colour, strap and style options for their bralettes for different body shapes and needs, Ms Low launched a bespoke service to accommodate them.
She recently also introduced convertible-style bralettes, which allow the wearer to change the straps to suit racerback or sleeveless tops.
Ms Low, who is married to a lawyer and has no children, says that the company's revenue tripled last year to hit a "healthy six-figure sum".
She is in talks with a multi-label lingerie retailer in Hong Kong to carry Perk by Kate.
In April, she will launch a maternity bralette as she says many of her customers are nursing mothers who "want something nice to wear during and after pregnancy".
The brand's nimbleness in responding to customers' wants has resulted in continued support, which helped the business to grow, she says.
Fashionable lingerie may be trendy now, but Ms Low thinks pretty lingerie will remain an essential item in every woman's wardrobe.
She says: "Singaporean women are practical. They want a bra that fits well, that they can wear every day, and that looks good."
This article was first published on March 2, 2017.
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