The Women Behind Bandelettes... We Have the Story

The Women Behind Bandelettes… We Have the Story

Special savings for PLUS Readers at! BOGO 40% Off – Buy one item, get 40% off the second. Use code PMM40 at checkout

We remember watching the models walk the Chromat NYFW runway wearing Bandelettes and feeling such immense pride.

The collaboration was absolutely elating for those of us in the seats that have met Julia Abasova and Rena Abramoff, the women behind Bandelettes. This month we are excited to share this exciting story about how two women from the same country immigrated to the US and met HERE and realized their dream. Today they are part of the conversation when it comes to loving ourselves unapologetically.


Get to know Rena and Julia…

PMM: Tell us a little about yourselves and how you met.

Rena: My family came here in 1996; we are refugees who came to the United States and started from scratch. I have a master’s degree but I started at the very bottom until I landed a position in my field. I was a controller at a well-known insurance company and when the opportunity came I decided to take a different approach to my career path.

Julia: Funny story… Rena and I went to the same University and lived in very close proximity to each other back in our country, same city but we never met. It was not until we came to the United States that a mutual friend introduced us and we became fast friends. I also have a financial Master’s degree as well and just like Rena started from scratch and took a job that was not exactly in my field but I climbed the ladder pretty quickly.

PMM: So let’s fast forward a bit… you’re fast friends and Rena you move ONE house away from Julia… how do we go from friendship to business partners?

Rena: So my place of business was about to close and I was offered other positions but I really felt like I wanted to own something for myself and so I brought up the subject to Julia. In the beginning, we thought about creating preserves and of course, there’s a funny story behind it!

Julia: I have scars! I have scars from Rena! LOL!

PMM: Please explain… LOL!

Julia: So Rena wanted to try this thing that they sold in our country. It’s like popcorn with caramel in lollipop form, so like a big round popcorn lollipop. Well, we set out to try it…

Rena: I’m not sure exactly how it happened but I was preparing the sugar for the caramel and the next thing I know the hot sugar was all over Julia’s legs.

Julia: So yes, we scratched that idea after Rena fixed my leg back from the burning incident. So back to how Bandelettes came to us… we decided to go for a walk one day and Rena asked me how many ideas I came up with because she had like 100 ideas in her head. So I simply told her that I was not sure how she would feel about this idea but I suffer from thigh chafing so I shy away from wearing skirts or dresses and when I do I would cut pantyhose and create something that would cover my thighs.

Rena: So after our walk, she showed me what she created and I thought it was a really good idea. We did our due diligence and made sure there was nothing else on the market that was similar and we moved forward. I thought it was a great idea because Julia and I are all about helping people and this was a business idea that was a career for us and would also help people. We realized this was not a size-specific issue we were addressing it was a people issue.

The Women Behind Bandelettes... We Have the Story

PMM: So from idea to conception… how long was the process?

Rena: During the development process, Julia was the ginny pig and wore the samples for days as we made edits.

Julia: I’m still the ginny pig actually lol! We also asked our friends and did research about launching the brand. One of the big revelations during this process was that people did not want to talk about thigh chaffing or admit that they suffer from it.  Personally, I thought I was the only person in the world that suffered from thigh chafing because no one talked about it.

PMM: So the sexy lacy Bandelettes are HOT! Can we talk about the other options as well?

Julia: Yes, so in the beginning we just thought about the sexy lacy option only. We were looking for someone to try it and we were introduced to this very nice blogger who wore Bandelettes to a party. The feedback was so eye-opening, the person who wore them was on a date and she said she did not have to worry about taking off “biker shorts or shapewear” before getting into an intimate situation because the bands were so sexy and protected her thighs from chafing.

We also noticed after she posted that the people in the comments section were asking about options that were not lace and why there wasn’t a Unisex option. Again, we saw the need and decided to offer a Unisex option that was not lace. Now we also carry bikini panties as well!

The Women Behind Bandelettes... We Have the Story

PMM:  You were featured at The MET at A Lexicon Of Fashion In America alongside Chromat. Can you tell us about this experience and what it means to you to be part of a community that is body positive?

Rena: We are very thankful to Chromat for collaborating with us during NYFW at her size-inclusive shows because it really put us front and center in the fashion world.

Julia: We were always thinking through a size-inclusive lens but did not realize there was an entire industry about it. We just naturally wanted to offer our brand to as many people as possible. So from the very beginning, we offered sizes up to 3X.

The Women Behind Bandelettes... We Have the Story

PMM: I feel like we were not really openly speaking about thigh chafing back then.

Julia: I like to think that Bandelettes helped to start and encourage the conversation around thigh chafing. Instead of keeping this secret, we are addressing a need and we want people to feel good as well. I believe we played a major role in helping people accept that some of us have this issue and are offering a solution.

PMM: Lastly, you are a small business, women-owned, your friends, how do you make it work?

Rena: Business-wise I would have to say that our degrees and our experience helped us, although we did not know anything about “fashion” we were able to build a business. I handle the design and financial aspects of Bandelettes and Julia is very much a people person.

Julia: We are complete opposites actually and I think that’s why it works. We also got very good advice from Rena’s husband in the very beginning. He told us to look at our partnership as a marriage, “You have to figure out how to be in a marriage together”! So sometimes we don’t see things the same but we have learned how to walk away and come back to resolve the situation.

Most importantly, we follow one rule, we BOTH have to agree on decisions before they are made.

PMM: This was such a great interview, thank you both for your time, the laughs, and all that you do for the plus-size community.

Special savings for PLUS Readers at! BOGO 40% Off – Buy one item, get 40% off the second. Use code PMM40 at checkout

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