When Elizabeth “Liz” Rietz set out to buy bras for her oldest daughter who had just hit puberty, she was “shocked that so many options for girls were overly sexy, padded and lacy”. I have to agree with this sentiment. Many bras marketed towards pre-teens are of the same types and materials as those made for adult women. For children who are confident in wearing these pieces of clothing, this isn’t an issue. But there are many kids out there who are uncomfortable dressing like grown women, and want to continue with the comfort of the materials and styles of clothing they already know.
It is concerning that baby clothes are becoming sexualized and that the clothing that lines the racks of department stores somehow quietly exists with a purpose of turning girls into women as soon as possible. While girls should be able to express themselves however they see fit, and some girls feel good by expressing themselves through lacy or sexy clothing, this makes many girls uncomfortable. But in a world where this is what is marketed to young girls, what’s the suitable alternative?
Enter Bleuet. Liz was upset by the over sexualization of the clothing made for young girls, and decided to do something about it. When I asked Liz what inspired her to start Bleuet, she said that she “started Bleuet after a frustrating search for comfortable camisoles and bras for [her] oldest daughter. [Her daughter] was an early bloomer and needed an extra layer under tops around age 8, but [Liz and her partner] could not find a camisole or bra that she would wear. As a sensory sensitive child, seams and many fabrics bothered her.”
According to Liz, Bleuet’s purpose is essentially this: “We create bras and camisoles with the sensitive child in mind and designed to be right for their age. All of our products are tag-free, itch-free and super soft.“
But Bleuet is doing much more than just making sure young girls can grow into their bodies safely and comfortably. In fact, Bleuet has a strong belief in environmental sustainability. According to Liz, “The apparel industry is notorious for generating A LOT of waste, so we want to do what we can to reduce our waste. We decided to use the extra scraps of fabrics to create scrunchies that match our products. We plan to explore other products that can utilize our excess fabric such as headbands and wristbands. We also decided to donate our gently used returns to foster tween and teen girls to give back and further reduce our environmental impact.”
So in addition to making comfortable clothing for young girls, Bleuet works hard to reduce their environmental impact through turning their scraps into other products. And, they try not to throw away their returns and instead donate them, which many companies do not do. Through these scrunchies, Bleuet helps support young social entrepreneurs.
Through the Bleuet Girl Entrepreneurship Program, Liz says Bleuet supports “girl social entrepreneurs who have started a business that gives back to their community. We highlight their stories, feature their causes and enable our customers to help support them, too, during the holidays and throughout the year. With each purchase of a Scrunchie for Good, we donate $1 to Hailey’s Haven”.
So Bleuet recycles the fabric scraps that comes from their clothing and makes them into scrunchies, and when the scrunchies sell they donate money to Hailey’s Haven, a community organization created by a young girl.
But what is Hailey’s Haven? When Liz heard about Hailey O’Donnell, a New Jersey teen, she was immediately intrigued. Hailey was donating clothes to kids in the foster system, so Bleuet decided to reach out to her to see if she would like to distribute Bleuet’s returned bras and camisoles.Then, Bleuet and Hailey’s Haven formalized their partnership. They began sending products to her once per quarter as well as supporting her financially through scrunchie sales and customer donations. Bleuet has been able to help her expand her operations to a second location in Newark, NJ. Check out Hailey’s Haven here.
Check out Bleuet’s products here, and definitely purchase them for your younger children, siblings, or people you know who have children that age!