A FITNESS instructor who was disappointed with the range of practical bras on sale has developed her own line in lingerie.
Catherine Batey, 33, is now aiming to create around 30 jobs in the first year, kicking off with eight apprentices in the autumn, ahead of the County Durham-based Intimate Kitty brand’s launch in the New Year.
The bra uses a moulded 3D insert designed to give women the support they need to avoid backache or other discomfort.
Batey said: “The bra I’ve got is front-fastening, it’s like putting on a waistcoat really. There are no metal bones which can break through and be quite sharp.
“It’s got different inserts which complement the breast and support it a lot more. It’s really comfortable.
“It’s like wearing a sports bra but it’s for everyday use. It’s designed for bigger-breasted ladies but it can also be used by women who have had mastectomy, and can be worn with or without an insert.”
Batey struggled to find funding to research her idea. But she impressed the team at concept-to-manufacture organisation C2M (UK), based in Spennymoor, which used its top-of-the- range 3D CAD software to engineer her idea.
C2M also secured finance from the Business & Enterprise Group, which allowed Batey to carry out detailed market research with almost 700 women in the North East.
Although statistics estimate around 70% of women wear the wrong size bra, figures that came back suggested that proportion could be as high as 90%.
Batey is working with C2M to ensure all the Intimate Kitty range is manufactured in the UK.
She said: “Everything about this bra is all made in Britain, from the fasteners to the material. I am pleased to bring business back to Britain.
“So many companies go abroad but the cheapest isn’t always the best. After the recession, this is my way of trying to help get Britain back on its feet.”
The range will initially be produced by a team of eight apprentices, whose training will be managed by Nottingham-based KTL which worked with Mary Portas on the Channel 4 TV show Mary’s Bottom Line, where the retail guru started her own production line to produce 100% British knickers.