Finding love in Chico

Heidi Zak

Photo by Meredith J. Cooper

When Heidi Zak and her husband, David Spector, decided to launch a bra company four years ago, they had no idea how much work would be involved. The most obvious difference between their shop, ThirdLove, and others is their offering of half-cup sizes, as well as their range of sizes—AA-K. And they developed their own blend of memory foam for those cups. Then they looked at the straps—how could they be more comfortable? Itchy tags—who needs ’em? With the help of a professional designer, they’d created ThirdLove. With headquarters in San Francisco and sales done 100 percent online, the company recently expanded to Chico, opening a customer support center that’s currently housed in the Wanderful offices downtown. ThirdLove employs 45 people in town, with plans to add another 20 positions by year’s end. Zak anticipates ThirdLove’s Chico office at the airport will be completed this winter. She was in town last week and took time to speak with the CN&R about the company, Chico and finding that perfect bra. Find ThirdLove online at

How did you get into the bra business?

It was really about seeing the need for a more convenient shopping experience and better product. The last thing a woman wants to do on a Saturday afternoon is go into a store to buy a bra. So everything we do centers around fit and helping a woman find a really great fit. We do that through technology, selling direct to consumer with our Fit Finder, and in a really targeted way being able to provide that size and style recommendation.

What sets your bras apart from, say, Victoria’s Secret?

The half-cup sizes, and that focus on the little details—the hook and eye, the memory foam—that are going to make the bra fit better. Fit and comfort are one and the same for me. When a woman’s like, “This bra is super comfortable,” it’s because it fits really well. Everything about our marketing feels very different from Victoria’s Secret—models who are in different shapes and ethnicities, they don’t necessarily look at the camera. When a woman’s shopping for a bra, she doesn’t necessarily need the sultry stare from another woman. We’re really marketing product to women. For women, by women, which is a very distinct difference from Victoria’s Secret, which basically sells sex to men and expects women to buy into it.

Where’d you get the name ThirdLove?

When you think about your favorite items of clothing, there are three things you love—you love the style, you love the feel and you love the fit. So those are the three things we think about when designing each product.

Why Chico?

We picked Chico because of the quality of the applicant pool. Also, our brand is really about the customer experience, about being friendly, positive and helpful. And a lot of the Chico vibe and culture is that.