Homegrown Business: Jiayi Lyu of Understance

Jiayi Lyu heads Understance, a lingerie company prioritizing comfort and inclusivity. They address common bra problems and offer personalized fittings both online and at their Vancouver store. Understance’s mission is to help everyone feel confident and comfortable in their lingerie choices.

Homegrown Business: Jiayi Lyu of Understance

What is your business called and what does it do?

Understance is a solutions-based lingerie company that focuses on helping people feel comfortable and confident in their own bodies. We work closely with our customers to identify pain points in traditional bras and provide designs and styles that address common ‘bra’-blems. Each of our products is thoroughly fit-tested on real people, ensuring the perfect fit.

What made you want to do this work?

Sometimes people shop because they have a genuine need. Sometimes people shop when they are bored. If the world stopped shopping simply out of boredom, we aim to be one of the companies that will still be around. In other words, we want to be a company that is useful to people, a company that creates real value. We aim to address undergarments discomfort – back pain from improper support, poking from poorly positioned underwires, chafing from starched fabrics, the annoyance of yanking up your shoulder straps 20 times a day, skin irritation from skin-on-skin contact. Understance is not an aesthetics- or trend-forward bra company. We don’t spend a lot of time putting together mood boards or analyzing the Paris runways. We spend a lot of time in the fitting room and at the factory tweaking product fit and finding high-performing materials. We don’t sell our customers fantasies. We sell them comfort and relief.

What problem did you want to solve with the business?

While the bra industry doesn’t need a revolution, reform is overdue. The bra industry isn’t the most tech-forward and is sometimes slow to incorporate innovations in material science. We aim to change that at Understance. While we don’t claim to have re-invented the bra, we believe an expertly made traditional bra can be comfortable, flattering, and attractive. At Understance, we have the most inclusive sizing by a single brand in North America. We approach every size from 28-48, A-K cups with the intention of ensuring the best fit possible.

Who are your clientele/demographics?

Our demographic is anyone with breasts looking for a comfortable bra solution.

How does your business make money? How does it work?

Customers can either shop online or in-store at our Robson Street location. Our store team ensures that every customer receives personalized attention and expert guidance during the fitting process. Our trained professionals take the time to understand each individual’s unique preferences, concerns, and body type, ensuring a tailored and comfortable experience. Online, customers can input their measurements into our size calculator to receive recommendations on which styles would best suit their unique needs.

Where in the city can we find your profession?

The Understance team is based in Vancouver with our flagship store located on 1024 Robson Street. You can also find us online.

Homegrown Business: Jiayi Lyu of Understance

What is the best question a prospective customer could ask a member of your profession when comparing services? Give the answer as well.

What is the most important thing to prioritize when shopping for a new bra?

When shopping for a new bra, the most important thing to prioritize is your fit. Many customers walk out of our store with a completely different size from the bra they walked in with. More than half of the people who first come into our store wear the incorrect bra size, which is why at Understance, we offer virtual and in-person fittings with our bra experts to ensure you are comfortable and properly supported.

What is the best part about what you do? What is the worst part?

The best part of what we do is the “aha” moment when our customers finally put on a bra that fits just right. You can see the expression on their face light up when they realize they have found their perfect bra. Everything we do at Understance is aimed at creating this moment and we aspire for everyone who wears bras to experience this. The challenge with getting to this end goal is that each body varies and there is not necessarily a one-size-fits-all solution.

This is why at Understance, we take great pride in providing a wide range of styles and sizes, and customer support so that anyone can experience this “aha” moment!

What is your favourite joke about your own profession?

The funny thing is, most bra jokes are about how uncomfortable bras are. We get the humour but the reality is, at the core of all these jokes is the truth. Bras are inherently uncomfortable. That’s why we’re dedicated to designing bras that actually fit comfortably.

Where can we follow you?

You can follow Understance on social media at the following handles:

Instagram | Facebook | TikTok | YouTube | Pinterest

You can also stay up to date with Understance by subscribing to our newsletter, where you’ll receive Understance updates, bra care tips and more.

PAY IT FORWARD: What is another local business that you love?

I’m a big fan of Happy Cat Vancouver. They take good care of both their human and feline customers.


About Emilea Semancik 155 Articles
Emilea Semancik was born in North Vancouver. Emilea has always always wanted to work as a freelance writer and currently writes for the Vancouver Guardian. Taking influence from journalism culture surrounding the great and late Anthony Bourdain, she is a recipe author working towards publishing her own series of books. You can find her food blog on Instagram: