Interview with Lively's founder
Lingerie is getting a lift, thanks to LIVELY founder Michelle Cordeiro Grant
and her diverse brand ambassadors.
By Britt Burritt
Every woman who's ever returned a fallen strap to her shoulder or felt the pinch of an underwire has pined for a better fitting bra. Michelle Cordeiro Grant, who oversaw merchandising and strategy at Victoria's Secret for five years, did too. "What I was hearing and seeing is that women just weren't comfortable" she says. "There had to be another conversation to be had in this $13 billion lingerie industry."
Since launching LIVELY, Grant has become conversant in underwear designed for and by women, with an accessible price point of $35 per bra regardless of size, style or color. We spoke with the LIVELY founder and several fans of the brand about comfy lingerie and finding the perfect bra—it's possible!
Michelle Cordeiro Grant,
What was it that you weren't seeing that caused you to start LIVELY?
A couple of things. One, comfort in general came second to style. It was always, "Does it look good first? Do I look good for someone else?" And then let's make it comfortable. The second thing was what does sexy mean. Things like maternity and certain sizes weren't allowed in the conversation. Lastly, I think it came down to what we decided to push first. We decided to be more about being natural than provocative.
What should women know about finding the right bra?
There's a statistic that 80% of women wear the wrong size bra. What normally happens is that we find our bra size when we're 14 to 18 and never look back. You're a 34B for life. So the idea for me was how do you get women to check in on their bra size. You have a baby, you get a job, you have a boyfriend and your bra size changes because your body is changing. Even if you have a big cup of soup you can swell!
What was the inspiration behind inventing the term "leisurée"?
When we were creating LIVELY it went back to things that women were wearing that they felt their best in. I saw sports bras. We took active and athleisure and combined it with the functional details of lingerie to create leisurée. From a business standpoint, too, as soon as you say the word lingerie around men you can imagine what they see: corsets and supermodels. And it's not that kind of a brand.
Giselle Cayme, Physical Therapy Student
Where do you live? Los Angeles
What's your passion? Helping people get back to what they love doing.
Most lived-in LIVELY items? The mesh trim colorblock bralette in pink. I love the delicate feel of the bralette. It's sexy, super comfortable and pairs well with almost anything!
What makes you feel powerful? A pair of heels.
What words do you live by? "If you can visualize it, if you are dreaming it, it's already on the way."
MJ Livingston, Dental Hygienist and Blogger
Where do you live? The Big Apple
What's your passion? Living LIVELY!
Most lived-in LIVELY items? My no-wire strapless bra in the shade warm oak. When in doubt, pack this bra on your next vacay. And it's my shade!
What makes you feel powerful? Succeeding in something that I never thought I could do and accomplishing something that I've been told I can't do.
What words do you live by? "Change is growth and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is gratifying. Change your thoughts, shift your reality."
Niki Pilkington, Illustrator
Where do you live? Los Angeles
What's your passion? Everything neon.
Most lived-in LIVELY items? My red bralette—I'd live in it if I could!
What makes you feel powerful? Other strong, kind, hard-working women. My work is all about women's empowerment and body positivity so when I share new work, I'm lucky that the response is always so positive and this keeps me motivated to keep creating and doing what I do.
What words do you live by? "Do it with color or not at all." You'll have to take a peep at my work to know what I mean.
Massella Dukuly, Leadership Trainer and Coach
Where do you live? New York City
What's your passion? I'm passionate about helping others harness their innate strengths and skills. I love to talk it out and be a cheerleader for whomever might need it.
Most lived-in LIVELY items? The Long-Lined Bralette is my favorite LIVELY item at the moment! It is SO comfy. I have it in two colors. The material is soft yet durable and gives me a great lift even though there is no wire.
What makes you feel powerful? I feel powerful when I'm most comfortable in my own skin. I'm most comfortable in my own skin when I take care of myself, which can be through working out, eating well, saying no to things, saying yes to other things, connecting with others, learning, and being able to form community with others—especially women.
What words do you live by? "In life and love, be all that you are asking for."