SUPPORT YOUR BUST
Constance Tipis has "big" girls covered
How did Double Dee’s come to be?
The idea started as a joke actually. One day, Charity Migwi (one of the co-founders) and I went shopping for second-hand clothes and bras. We are both busty and found it hard to find bras in our sizes at shop stores. It was easier to find our sizes at mitumba stalls, and even that wasn’t guaranteed; you’d have to go through piles and piles of bras before settling on a few possible fits. Then, after buying five of them, you’d get home and find only one of them really fits… and that’s it! I told Charity, “This can’t be our life! We can’t be buying mitumba bras forever! We should start our own company and make our own bras.”
How did she respond to that?
She was all for the idea, although I’d been half-joking. She asked, “What would we call it?” Still joking, I replied, “Double Dee’s”. She said that sounded like a strip club. A couple of months later, she pushed me about setting up the company. When we were choosing the company name, we found that Double Dee’s wasn’t taken yet, so we went with it.
How did you get the other co-founders (Millicent Wanjiru and Stella Langat) on board?
Like Charity and I, they were both busty too and had gone through the same challenges we did. We talked to them and they were excited about joining the venture. At the time, Stella was studying at Skidmore College where we applied for the Kenneth A. Freirich Business Plan Competition and later, the Harvard Undergraduate Women in Business Innovation Competition. We won $25,000 and $2,000, respectively.
This is the money you used to set up the business?
Yes. Before we won the competitions, we were also making monthly contributions of 1,500 shillings each to cater for the initial expenses of setting up the company. Winning the competitions gave us the confidence to continue pursuing our dream. However, the money we had wasn’t enough to start our own independent line; for that, we needed approximately $100,000. We were still very passionate about the business and were excited about providing a solution for buxom women in Nairobi. Finding a good bra as a big-bosomed woman is no mean feat – some bras have a cup that fits but a band that is too wide or vice versa. We decided to go ahead and open the shop and retail other brands alongside our first line.
When did you launch Double Dee’s?
We incorporated the company in 2014 but opened the shop in July 2016. The business is still very young but growing fast. The four of us work hard at the business, even though both Stella and Charity are based in the US. Currently, I’m the one handling the day-to-day operations at the shop with Millicent’s help. We are still pursuing our different careers on the side. I’m also pursuing a Masters in Psychology for which I attend classes in the evenings.
CONSTANCE TIPIS, 26, IS ONE OF THE FOUR WOMEN BEHIND DOUBLE DEE’S, A UNIQUE LINGERIE STORE THAT IS MAKING BUSTY WOMEN SEXIER THAN EVER. SHE SHARES ON THE STRUGGLE OF FINDING BRAS AS A BUSTY WOMAN, AND HOW TOGETHER WITH THREE OF HER FRIENDS, THEY FOUND A SOLUTION.
Prom Dress, Mr Price, Kshs 2,100 Black Necklace, Kache by Angie, Kshs 2,900 Silver bracelet with circular discs, Kache by Angie, Kshs 3,900 Gilet Cream, Mr Price, Kshs 2,100 Silver Cascading chain, Kache by Angie, Kshs 3,300 Black Corset, Double Dees Kenya, Kshs 5,000 Black Tights, M&E Sportswear, Kshs 1,500 words Pauline Muindi Photography: Kevin Buo Mua: Cathy Nderitu Stylist: Natalie Kimani Hair: Kate Gathoni