Goldstein said the traditional way of buying women's undergarments has disappeared. "I remember going to the bra lady as a 12-year-old who developed early, and the bra lady was an institution in every community," she said. The "bra lady" concept faded with the rise of department stores.
These days it's difficult in the U.S. to find bras engineered for women outside the norm, even at Victoria's Secret. Most of the time, bras are crafted so that smaller chest bands are matched with smaller cups, and vice versa.
"I would either wear a D cup, and be falling out of it, or if I went to go find a double D, it was a 38, 40-inch band, more of a plus-size woman," she said. The dilemma made her feel like "there's something wrong with my body."
She discovered better-fitting bras in Europe, where generations have maintained the craftsmanship and engineering necessary for well-made undergarments that also have lace and color.
These bras exist. Why aren't they being sold in the United States? Goldstein asked herself. She turned to her husband, artist Aaron Noble, to complain, Why doesn't someone open a store like this? he replied. Why don't we do it?
Goldstein then wrote up what she calls her manifesto for a new company, Jenette Bras. "It was from a feeling of anger and righting a wrong," she said. Part of the manifesto read: "We are the girls who skipped the training bra and went straight to the major leagues. We are the girls who had wolf whistles."
She had one problem. It was 2009, in the middle of the recession. "No one would lend us money." However, Goldstein had earlier opened a line of credit "when they were giving lines of credit to anyone," and she tapped into it. She began researching where to find bras in Europe to import, spending $10,000 to buy her first shipment. She found retail space on the cheap in Los Angeles and set up shop. "We offered personal service."