Thank you in South Carolina Voyager Magazine for featuring Non Disclosure Apparel! We love being a women owned business in South Carolin and SC Voyager has provided the opportunity to share more about our purpose and story behind the Elli Bralette, Nipple Concealing Bra.
South Carolina Voyager Online Magazine
APRIL 28, 2022
Today we’d like to introduce you to Becky Connelly.
Becky, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
On my desk sits a framed photo of my 11-year-old self. It’s an Olan Mills “holiday” portrait and the studio lighting is perfectly highlighting the breast buds poking through my red knit dress. When I first saw it in print, I remember being completely mortified, cringing at the thought that other people would also be able to see my “boobies” showing through my dress. Since then, I’ve been self-conscious about it my nipple profile being obvious to anyone looking my way.
Fast forward 35 years, working in the traditionally male-dominated profession of construction, I used many tricks to keep my “nips” under wraps. At school in Boston for construction management, I was one of three girls in my graduating class and during my subsequent career, I was often the only woman in the meeting room or on the job site.
The simple fact of my being female in the construction industry, at least in my mind, brought on unwanted attention and I certainly didn’t want to add emphasis to “that” part of my body. For years, I used medical tape, bandaids, adhesive petals, folded tissue squares, silicone concealers, you name it, to keep my nipples under wraps. And as far as bras go, padded bras were too bulky, molded bras never fit properly, both made my boobs bigger, and were not at all compatible with my “eyes up here” methodology.
I became so frustrated with the “extra” of all of it. I longed for a simple solution and looked everywhere for what I considered to be my ideal bra: a non-padded, lightweight bralette with a thin, strong as hell concealer inside each cup to hide my nips.
Turns out, I couldn’t find it. This “dream bra” of mine didn’t exist and I couldn’t come to terms with the fact that it wasn’t available to me. If it were, it would not only alleviate my nipple phobia, it would also help other girls and women, just like me, longing for the same type of solution.
I couldn’t get this concealing bra idea out of my head. I finally started to bounce it off of friends, family, and ultimately, my life coach, who encouraged me to get off my ass and do something about it. So, I did.
With no experience in textiles, sewing or much less, the fashion industry at large, l still believed that somehow, I would make this bra a reality. Obviously, I needed to start somewhere, so I began an online search for manufactures that help develop new products. One phone call led to another and all of the sudden, six years had gone by.
In January 2020, after hundreds of prototypes, handfuls of manufacturers, and several grey hairs later, I finally launched my company, Non-Disclosure Apparel, and its first product, the Elli Bralette, a nipple concealing bra. Designed without padding, wiring, and completely seamless, the Elli features a small, thin, flexible “system” of fabric, heat-sealed into the cups to conceal any potential nipple protuberance. My dream bra had arrived.
Today, at a little over the two-year mark of this bra being on the market, I consider it a success. Not the overnight success of Sarah Blakely’s power panties by any stretch of the imagination, but a success nevertheless. It’s a solution for me, my 13-year-old daughter, and many girls and women across the US and beyond. Often, women write to tell me their story, about their struggle to find a comfortable bra that also hides their nips and thanking me for bringing the Elli Bralette into the world. Hearing from my customers and learning that this bra is helping them, their daughters, and granddaughters feel more confident, makes it all worthwhile, and that my friends, is indeed a success.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
The years spent on developing this bra were full of downtime. It seems as though I was always waiting for prototypes to arrive. I’d tweak a strap location or pull the bra cups in a smidge and then, three or four months would go by before I’d receive an updated proto. I busied myself with while “waiting” to feel like I was moving forward. I spent money on consultants, memberships, graphic artists, marketing companies, photographers, and even models. I hired a developer to build a website that wouldn’t launch for three years! I didn’t have a physical product to sell so ultimately, I was spinning my wheels in order to “feel” like I was being productive.
In hindsight, I wish I’d at least learned how to sew during the downtime. That, and of course, develop daggum marketing plan (head in hands). I was under the illusion that as soon as the website went live, as soon as I pressed the “publish” button, that the bras would just fly off the shelf. I mean, who wouldn’t want a nipple concealing bralette, right?
Not surprising to anyone reading this, especially those with any online marketing prowess, I’ve had to learn all about a little thing called, SEO. I’m an inventor turned entrepreneur, so telling the world that this bralette actually exists, especially on a small budget, has definitely been a challenge.
Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Non-Disclosure Apparel (NDA), a first-of-its-kind bra company, creating bralettes specifically designed for nipple concealing. The bralettes are non-padded, made of superior grade, nylon knit, and have a thin, flexible, patent-pending concealing petal, heat-sealed inside each cup for modesty. Aside from the fact NDA is a woman-owned solopreneurship, each component of our bralettes is made in small and family-run businesses in the USA. The primary focus of our company is to help girls and women feel more confident in their clothing. From the developing tween to her grandmother, this bra is a comfortable, no-frills option for modesty. Many have called it the ultimate, game changer.
As the founder, I am most proud of my perseverance to see this product through. When I set out to create this bra out of thin air, my children were very young so developing it took on more of a stop-start, life getting in the way, type of cadence. My father-in-law once asking me, “Why I don’t you just quit?” He had been hearing the same story, year after year, about how I was still working on this bra, and it didn’t make sense to him that I was still going at it with, in his mind, no end in sight.
Quitting was never an option for me. This idea, this bra idea, was bigger than me and the drive to make it a reality was not backing down. The nipple concealing bralette needed to happen, to be brought into the world as a solution. There is no other bra like it on the market and because of this, I was compelled to invent it.
I designed the Elli Bralette around my build (34B) so it’s great for small to medium-sized boobs (28A – 36C/34D). The Elli style doesn’t for work everybody and our number one request is “more coverage” so our next style will offer just that. By summer 2023, my goal is to roll out a swimwear line. In order o do it right, I’ll need an amazing swimwear manufacturing partner and most likely, an investor(s) – which is scary and exciting!
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