Colette Summers
Queen's Accelerated MBA


My company, BraTopia, is a women’s lingerie and swimwear store specializing in perfectly fitted foundation garments and swimwear. We fit women across the size spectrum, from petite to plus and everyone in between, in a comfortable, all-female environment. We also feature specialized products, for nursing mothers, cancer survivors, and athletes looking for the perfect sports bra.

Scope: Calgary store employs 9, and has revenues approaching $1 million

My ‘aha moment’: While looking for a proper-fitting sports bra in Calgary, I could not believe how challenging it was to find such a thing, especially in a city this size. When I finally did find one, it was at a store in an industrial area that operated by appointment only. That’s when I knew I wanted to make this process easier for women.

The most important thing I’ve learned about starting a business is that nothing is certain. Your best laid plan can get derailed, and your pay is typically unpredictable. You need to trust your gut instinct, and be firm when necessary. Nobody will care more about your business than you, the owner.

The most fun I’ve had so far was when I saw the elation that a properly fitting bra can bring to a woman. Some women have been reduced to tears of gratitude, so it’s been incredibly rewarding to be able to help them. I was also extremely gratified when I requested donations from my suppliers to help Calgary’s flood victims. I was amazed at how highly these women valued the donated bras, especially those who had lost so much.

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