A few months ago, I got an alert on Instagram that said, "theheavyhanger started following you." The Heavy Hanger is an interesting name, so I clicked on it and discovered that it is Exclusively Kristen's lingerie counterpart. The Heavy Hanger by Melons: The Complete Bra Shop is a lingerie boutique located in Wichita, Kansas that only sells D+ cup bras and swimwear and the owner, TeOnya, is an expert full bust bra fitter. I thought that Exclusively Kristen and The Heavy Hanger would be an excellent pairing, so I contacted the boutique and TeOnya agreed to host an Exclusively Kristen pop up shop.
When I told people (particularly in NYC) that I was going to hold a pop up shop in Wichita, they looked at me like: "Why?" and then followed up with questions that revealed their skepticism such as: "What is their population size?" "But you don't do plus sizes." "Are they willing and able to pay $100 for a shirt?" "Why aren't you focusing on The City (Manhattan)?" As someone from the Midwest, I understand that access to up and coming fashion brands can be limited so Midwesterners are usually very open to more options. A lot of companies only focus on the coastal areas like NYC, DC, and California, but the USA is vast and we cannot disregard the people who reside in the middle. Coastal cities have much larger populations, particularly high income populations, but that doesn't mean that there aren't opportunities elsewhere. One must go where there are gaps in the market and where capitalizing on those gaps, especially if one is a small business, isn't going to cost an arm and a leg and require the business to have Anna Wintour on speed dial. On a side note, the night before the pop up shop, I went to Dillard's at Wichita's Towne East Square Mall and noticed that they had some H cup bras! So clearly, there is a big bust market in this small Midwestern city.
What I first noticed when I walked into The Heavy Hanger was that it's a family business. TeOnya is married with three kids and they were ALL helping her prepare for the pop up shop. Her husband and sons were moving boxes and cleaning the windows while her very smart daughter (she skipped a grade in school) helped tidy up the shop. She stayed the entire day to greet guests and assist her mother. TeOnya even had a close friend/mentor volunteer to help her for the day. This is definitely not a soulless corporate environment!
For all of those skeptics who didn't think that an Exclusively Kristen pop up shop in Wichita would be worth it, well...you were wrong. I'm used to having friends and family come to my events in order to give their support, but complete strangers came to the Exclusively Kristen pop up shop at The Heavy Hanger just to support me. It was such a friendly environment where I chatted with many of TeOnya's customers and they all offered kind words and encouragement. I even sold a shirt to a man who was video chatting with his daughter in Idaho. He had visited the shop with his fiance in order to purchase bras for her and his daughter. His daughter even did a virtual fitting with TeOnya. We started chatting and he said that he'd ask his daughter if she was interested in Exclusively Kristen shirts. Not only did he send her photos of my shirts, but he also sent her photos of the different styles and colors of bras for her to choose. Gotta love technology!
From 2pm to 6pm TeOnya was BUSY. There was a line of women waiting for bra fittings but despite being on her feet the entire time, she exuded positive and upbeat energy. She is clearly passionate about what she does. Also, The Heavy Hanger has an impressive inventory of D-K cup bras; the biggest I've seen thus far at a brick and mortar store. I can see why TeOnya has customers who drive a few hours just to visit her shop. I had plans to get a fitting prior to the event and buy ONE "nude" bra (which is mocha for me), but I ended up leaving with four Freya bras for myself and two Goddess bras for my mom who's an M cup. I could've easily purchased a dozen bras and a few swimsuits if my bank account allowed for it. I even called TeOnya after I returned to NYC and ordered another bra. Like The Rack Shack in Brooklyn, many of the bras carried at The Heavy Hanger are colorful and youthful-looking. I've been to boutiques that carry my size, but usually only a few fit me and maybe one or two were stylish.
I'm so excited to have met a kindred spirit and fellow member of the Big Bust Revolution. I'm glad that a boutique exists that caters to the needs of full bust women and hope that this trend continues. I will definitely return to Wichita in the near future :-)
Note: Exclusively Kristen shirts are in stock at The Heavy Hanger
HUGE selection of D-K cup bras
Big bust swimwear
Tankinis are in this season
Lots and lots of full bust sports bras
I was only supposed to buy ONE bra