Empowerment and body positivity are the foundations of a new lingerie business in Bay City

The road from concept to reality was long for Lex & Co., a new lingerie shop in Downtown Bay City.

The journey began when Lex Sherman was running Boudoir by Alexa, a boudoir photography studio in the Phoenix Building. She noticed clients had difficulty finding the right wardrobe for photo sessions.

“There weren’t any good places in town to get something like this – even just everyday underwear is hard to find,” she said.

She set out to fix the problem. In late 2019, she won $10,000 in the 2019 Pitch-A-Dream competition. In February, she traveled to New York City to earn a certification as a bra fitting specialist. But then, the COVID-19 pandemic struck and the Lex & Co. opening day was delayed until late May.

A couple months later, though, and Sherman says she’s thrilled to help women feel confident and beautiful.

She hasn’t walked away from her photography business, but combined her love of photography with a desire to help her clients feel more confident. Then, after the recent closure of a similar boutique in Saginaw Township left a void in the market, Sherman saw an even greater need to help meet the undergarment needs of women in throughout the region.

Making the leap from photography to bra fittings wasn’t as daunting as Sherman expected. Sherman traveled to New York in February where she took a class to become a certified bra fitting specialist.

During the class, Sherman learned nearly 80% of women wear ill-fitting bras. More importantly, she learned how to make sure her clients get the best fit for their particular bodies. “The first half of the session was learning the different types of bras, how they’re supposed to fit, what a correctly fitted bra looks like, and what an incorrectly fitted bra looks like. Then the second half of the day was spent actually fitting bras.”

Offering personalized fitting services gives Lex & Co. an advantage over online and big box stores. “I pride Lex & Co on being size inclusive,” she said, and that means an inventory of band sizes from 28 to 42, and cup sizes from A to G. She can also order other sizes as necessary.

She also carries about 20 different brands, because she said there is a huge gap in the market that leaves out certain sizes and she wants to fill that void. Sherman said not only is it important that bras fit well, but also that they’re pretty. “I wanted to bring in products that are not only size inclusive, but that are going to work and people are going to love them.”

She wasn’t home from New York long before the COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses to sell products online. At first, Sherman couldn’t even offer that.

“Initially when the shutdown happened, I wasn’t even able to go online right away because even my suppliers were shut down.” She said because Europe is the lingerie capital of the world, she couldn’t get any inventory until Europe reopened and shipping started up again.

Even when Gov. Gretchen Whitmer eased restrictions and allowed Michigan businesses to re-open, Sherman wasn’t sure people would want to come to an opening day celebration or shop in a store.

“Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect,” she said, “I knew there was a lot of excitement for Lex & Co to open, but then with COVID I wasn’t sure if people would feel comfortable coming out. I kind of just left my mind open and I had a really great turn out.”

Sherman said the day was not only exhausting because of the number of fittings, but it was also a very emotional day.

“I didn’t expect that. One girl, she was larger chested than the average woman – I fitted her and she was actually in tears because she had never felt more secure and comfortable in a bra before. It made me feel really good to make her feel really good.”

That cemented for Sherman that she is doing the right thing. “Little moments like that are life changing for a woman. It’s just very rewarding,” she said.

Lex & Co. finds itself opening in a unique time in the history of women’s fashion. The undergarment business today is focused on promoting body positivity and empowerment of women.

 “There’s a huge movement right now for body positivity and loving yourself,” she said.

As a successful boudoir photographer, Sherman said she will also bring that experience to Lex & Co. “Between the products that I offer and the client experience that Lex & Co offers as well, nobody’s going to find anything like this.”

Lex & Co is open at 908 Washington Ave. in Bay City. Updates to store hours are posted on the Lex & Co Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/lexandcomi/.