Miss Mary – the DNA of success
Interview: Future success as a company mindset
February 29, 2024

Miss Mary of Sweden is a successful lingerie company, continuously adapting to new technology and production methods. The secret behind the success is an organisation founded in adaptation, flexibility, and solution-orientation. Or as the CEO Elisabet Sandström says:
— It’s in our DNA to test new ideas.

Founded and still headquartered in the textile city of Borås, Sweden, Miss Mary is today most known for their high-quality lingerie. Today good bras are high-tech products, aiming at making the everyday more comfortable.
— We aim at making products that offer high value for the money. Quality is everything, including longevity and outstanding fit. Wearing one of our bras should go by unnoticed by the wearer. The whole idea is that women with larger bust shouldn’t have to worry about fit, comfort, or back problems. A high-quality bra offers all that, something that demands a lot from us as designers. As the right bra will change your life.

Elisabeth Sandström, CEO of Miss Mary.

Testing is key
Elisabet explains that they always work in small production series and do a lot of tests. They did A and B testing long before there was an expression for it. And their production always starts in small numbers. As they control the whole production chain and own their production facilities, they can quickly adapt to changes and adjustments.

“The right bra will change your life”

Miss Mary did away with their print catalogue some years ago. That catalogue’s main purpose was in the end to test the market. But as e-commerce took off, other ways of testing and probing the market were more efficient.
— Controlling the process, from design to sales, is vital. And that we can adjust and readjust all along that process. Plus, the fact that the whole company is onboard and well-aware of how we operate, from the board of Directors to the sales organisation.

Elisabet describe herself as an entrepreneur, even if she has spent some 18 years in the company, and 10 as the CEO.
— I have great support from my chairman of the board. We work together in setting our company goals and target. And we work a lot with what’s ahead of us, having goals and plans for several different time scopes. That together with our built-in ability to adapt has over the years propelled us into our sought-after growth in turnovers.

Three conceptual factors
Elisabet pinpoints three main factors for the present and future well-being of the business.

  • Having their own products, being able to both design and redesign them.
  • Short lead times, throughout the operations.
  • Small series, enabling swift testing of each product and simplifying the measuring of sales.

Elisabet also mentions that having their own production and always working with small series is a sustainable win-win. This way Miss Mary doesn’t have to propel overproduced, discounted garments into the market – as many other fashion companies do. To produce only what the customer wants to buy is in many ways more climate friendly.
— The agility and flexibility of our organisation is everything. As we work with quite a technical garment, we need to keep up with demands as they change. And to always know what the current demands are.
— If I should point out another important factors for the future, I would say competent co-workers. People that love to create better products and services. We work a lot to continue develop our sales unit and our design team. Always asking ourselves: which current and future problems are we solving, what challenge should we look further into?
— So, simply put, being agile and flexible is very important to Miss Mary. 

What a well-fitted bra accomplishes
Elisabet tells us more about how Miss Mary looks at what a good bra should do.

History of Miss Mary
Miss Mary of Sweden have specialised in making lingerie for some 60 years. But in the very beginning it was slightly different. In 1957 a husband and wife decided to start a clothing company with its own production in the city. Sewing machine technician Ingmar and seamstress Marwel named their company Marys Mode. Marwel designed garment patterns for garments, made in her own local workroom and sold through Marys Mode’s mail order catalogue. Five years on they also started to produce and sell lingerie. Today, the renamed company Miss Mary is a lingerie and swimwear brand. Still conducting its own design, development, and production.

Read more about Miss Mary and what they do? Click here.