Bonnie steps up her mission to help women wear better bras with permanent store

By Sam Pither [email protected]

Published: November 19, 2023 | Updated: 17th November 2023

Oabona Matlhape, better known as Bonnie, is on a mission to help women wear better bras.

Poise Lingerie logo

Bonnie, who runs Poise Lingerie in Poole, recently moved into a permanent space in the town’s Dolphin Centre.

Before, she was a familiar face in GATHER, The Dolphin’s free-to-hire community space, with her bra-fitting business offering a key service to women in the area.

Oabona ‘Bonnie’ Matlhape

“Having the right sized bra is really important,” Bonnie explained.

“It improves your posture – the way you sit and walk around – and it means there’s no extra spillage.

“This gives you confidence.

“Sometimes women will come into the store wearing the wrong size.

“After we’ve measured them and found the right size they ask us to throw their old one away. They walk away wearing the new one because they can’t imagine ever wearing the wrong size again.”

Before opening as a permanent store on the centre’s first floor, Bonnie operated a stall at The Dolphin Street Market, where she supported women of all ages in finding comfortable lingerie.

Bonnie explained that the demand she saw here pushed her to grow her business.

Poise Lingerie

“Some people would travel miles away to find a properly fitted bra.

“It’s a specialist bra and lingerie shop. I stock all different sizes right up to extra-large.

“I realised there was a big demand and there was no one else stocking the range of sizes which I do in the area.

“There are studies which suggest 80 per cent of women wear the wrong sized bra. Even myself – before I got into the business I was wearing the wrong size.

“We are different from other shops. To give an example, a woman might have a tiny waist, but a large bust, maybe 34J.

“In a normal shop, they’re unlikely to stock that as they stick to the most common and general sizes. In my shop we aim to find the perfect fit, like a glove.

“But also, the fitting itself makes us stand out – a lot of shops have moved away from doing actual fittings.”

While her drive and determination are undoubtedly a large part of her success, Bonnie also pointed to the location as helping her achieve her growth.

“Everyone at the Dolphin Centre has been really supportive, as well as the wider community.

“There’s a really high demand and there’s a lot of other shops round here, including independents. Having this community helps to make the centre a destination for people to travel to.”

And while she has taken the step to move to her permanent location, Bonnie is still planning on returning to GATHER.

On the 28th November, Poise Lingerie will be offering a free bra fitting service in the space from 10am to 4pm.

In conclusion, Bonnie said: “Size matters – each and every inch matters for a perfect fit and therefore for everyday quality of life.

“A lot of my customers will come in having experienced  back pains they’ve been suffering their whole lives. Wearing the right bra is a relatively small thing, but it makes such a massive difference.

“Of course this is a business but sometimes I forget about the money. What I really get from it is how someone feels and the difference it makes, that’s more rewarding than anything.”

Read next: Arts University Bournemouth sets up (pop-up) shop in The Dolphin Poole

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