Here's Another Nudes-For-All Label, With A Compelling Twist

Photo: Courtesy of TruNude.
Over the past few years, a small but promising crop of brands focused on offering a range of nude shades have emerged, particularly in the shoe and lingerie categories. Now, there’s a new contender on the market, with a unique, tech-enabled twist on existing nude-for-all labels touting, say, seven or nine skintones instead of the typical two or three options.

TruNude, which completed a successful Kickstarter campaign during the fall (amid the attention-diverting climax of this presidential election cycle, no less), joins a small but gradually expanding pack of nude-hue lingerie upstarts, like Nubian Skin and Naja.

But TruNude’s founder, Danai L. Pointer, emphatically has a “more the merrier” outlook on her competitors (more on that later). After a year of research, Pointer focus-grouped the concept before crowdfunding; TruNude’s site launched last month. Ahead, Pointer tells Refinery29 about the very personal impetus for launching TruNude, the brand’s high-tech twist on best-match nude hues, and more.
Why did you decide to launch TruNude?
“Like most women, I’ve always hated bra shopping. It’s overwhelming, sizing across brands is confusing, and it’s impossible to find a comfortable bra that makes me feel confident and secure. Because I’ve had so many bad experiences, I’ve tended to avoid bra shopping and wear that one good bra until it starts to poke me or fall apart. A few years ago I was in three weddings and needed to go shopping for sturdy, nude undergarments to wear with my bridesmaid dresses. My complexion is cocoa brown with red undertones, and I’m a busty girl.

"I knew that finding the right bras would be difficult, so I made an appointment at a specialty bra store in midtown Manhattan, hopeful that they would have what I needed. I finally found a few bras that fit me in shades of black and beige – and the feeling of wearing the right bra for my body was life-changing. But when I asked the owner for the bras in my skin tone, she said, ‘That doesn’t exist.’ I settled for the beige versions because jet black was sold out – and you can see the ‘nude’ bra contrasting against my skin in some of my bridesmaid photos.

“The bras I purchased were expensive, so I still wear them today, but they’re a daily reminder of the fact that I don’t fit someone else’s standard. I wanted a product that makes me feel sleek, sexy and sophisticated, and that goes from day to night. So, a year and a half ago, I started thinking about ways to fix this problem and use technology to improve bra shopping.

"I spent a year researching the tech, learning about bra manufacturing, and building a team of experts to help me do this. To understand if there was a broader need for it, I interviewed, surveyed, and tested our process with hundreds of women and learned about their experiences and desires. Our Kickstarter campaign was the final step to help me validate our market, and it helped prove that our research was true.”

What distinguishes TruNude from other nude-for- all brands already on the market?
“We love those brands and any company that creates products that reflect and celebrate women. What we’re doing is putting the control of the color match in the hands of the customer and making the experience unique and fun. We’re asmall startup, so we can be more bespoke for our customers. My main focus is getting the fit and comfort right and offering a wide range of cup and wing sizes. We all have breasts and wear bras every day; TruNude provides another option for women to choose from! We’re excited to personalize your most personal attire.”

How does TruNude work, exactly?

“The TruNude website, which is optimized for Apple and Android, and allows you to get matched in just four steps: First, you snap your selfie and get your Personal Color Code. Second, you select your garment. Next, you get fit. Lastly, you finalize your purchase and get your bra. That’s it! The platform merges spectrophotometric technologies with fabric color-matching to beautifully capture your over- and under-tones in your bra. We’re building in tools to help you get fit for your bra and offering t-shirt bras, bralettes, and seamless panties when we launch in May. Right now, just the T-shirt bra is available for pre-order on our website.


What will this database of customer selfies be used for?

“Now that our Kickstarter campaign is completed we’re hard at work perfecting our software. We’ve been blessed to have a lot of pre-orders and the opportunity to learn more about our early adopters and how they’ll engage with the platform before we launch in May. Part of that process is seeing how they take their selfies for their match. So, we’re creating a database of early user profiles and including these images in it.”

How did the Kickstarter campaign go?

“Well, if you can imagine launching a Kickstarter campaign a week before the election and ending it 3 days after Thanksgiving, the weeks of October 26 to November 26 were not the most restful for me. But we were thrilled to raise half
of our goal on the first day, and to close out successfully in just over three weeks.

"We did the campaign with virtually no advertising dollars and a few Facebook and Instagram ads, so it really was an organic campaign. The product and the heart of what we’re trying to do resonated with women internationally. We gained over 5,000 new Facebook followers, our online mailing list is now over 500 people, and we’ve gotten lots of requests to model for our line, so it’s been exciting to see the momentum grow and people excited to be a part of TruNude."

Have you already sought out investments beyond crowdfunding?

“We’ve had conversations with several investors over the past few months who are very optimistic about our brand. We’re looking to complete our first round in the next three months.”

How do you see TruNude expanding throughout 2017?
“Between periods and babies, winters and springs, our bodies change so much over the course of our lifetimes. We want TruNude customers — TruNudies! — to go through life with our products, and we’re catering to the realness of those fluctuations. So, part of the selfie database we mentioned, and our work leading up to launch, focuses on getting the exact color match and making it easy for customers to come back and update their profiles when their skin tone or body changes.

"We’re spending a lot of time testing the system and nailing our user experience, so that you’re hooked from the first selfie and then stay with us. We want TruNude to be a gift you give yourself, and you can be sure that no one else has it because it’s uniquely yours.”
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