Is Brexit a bust for this local bra business?
'I’ve got a nice business that was running along quite smoothly and suddenly everything has been derailed.'
In the town of Liepāja, on the shores of the Baltic Sea in Latvia, the population is hard at work making lingerie.
It’s a little-known fact, but Latvia is the bra and knicker capital of the world, an industry that grew up back in the days of the USSR, when the Soviet fleet was anchored off-shore. The fleet brought women with them — some working for the navy, others wives and girlfriends of servicemen — and their clothing needs had to be catered for.
The area gradually became a hub for lingerie manufacture, with somewhere between 75 and 100 factories still in operation and even a “lingerie college” to train up local people in the business that flourished long after the Soviet bloc had broken up and the fleet sailed away.
And that is where Caroline Jackson, situated 1,670 miles away in Hyde, Manchester, did her business. Caroline runs littlewomen.com, an online company that specialises in a very niche market — making matching underwear for, as she puts it herself, “ladies with small boobs”.
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