The Black Pepper team are conscientious, professional and clearly know technology. They are not just code monkeys, they are true technologists. Teaching our internal team how to use an agile test based software development approach added real value to us internally. We have already begun planning our next project with Black Pepper and would happily recommend them to other high street retailers.
Bravissimo was founded in 1995 by Sarah Tremellen and her friend following their own frustrating experiences trying to find pretty bras that fit them. They realised that there were a lot of women who, like them, were fed up of being offered enormous matronly contraptions and being told they couldn’t possibly expect to find a good choice of bras in bigger cup sizes. Adamant that big boobed women like them deserved a better experience when buying bras, Sarah and her friend started Bravissimo as a mail order company from her sitting room. Right from the start, their aim was not only to offer a great choice of bras, but to champion and celebrate big boobed women and to inspire them to feel good about themselves.
Today, thanks to the phenomenal response from its customers, Bravissimo is a successful multi-channel retailer with a turnover of £50m. The company is headquartered in Royal Leamington Spa, has over 700 employees and runs a successful e-commerce operation (which accounts for approximately 40% of the company’s turnover) as well as 26 shops throughout the UK. Bravissimo has won many awards for its service, products, entrepreneurial approach and originality, and for the last 11 years has been one of the Sunday Times Best Companies to work for.
The Business Problem
During February 2016 Bravissimo contacted Black Pepper seeking to establish whether it could potentially be a local provider of software development expertise and talent, as it sought to find a means to manage peaks and troughs during its software development life cycles.
Finding and securing this expertise was proving to be highly challenging and Bravissimo did not wish to bring in external contractors who would work independently from their existing teams and then exit with valuable domain knowledge after their contracts had ended.
After exploratory meetings and workshops with Black Pepper, Bravissimo decided to push the green button on developing a Bravissimo, Black Pepper relationship, which resulted in two highly capable Black Pepper software developers, working hand-in-glove with Bravissimo’s internal software development teams, at their Head Office location in Royal Leamington Spa.
The primary objective was to help Bravissimo to build its completely re-designed website to better service its customers. The new site needed to be scalable for international markets, and responsive. In addition to this, it needed to effectively handle peak seasonal traffic fluctuations, and provide an omnichannel shopping experience to effectively serve Bravissimo’s loyal customer base.
Bravissimo was keen to find an organisation that would understand and embrace both their tech stack and their philosophy, which revolves around being intensely customer focused as a retailer that’s continually seeking out opportunities to improve the shopping experience for new and existing customers. Bravissimo was also keen to enhance its own expertise in test-driven agile software practices in order to benefit from software development reliability and efficiency gains.
By working with Black Pepper, Bravissimo were able to develop their existing agile development expertise, which meant that its own internal teams were skilled up to meet the needs of future challenges. The augmentation enabled Bravissimo to increase the pace of software delivery in order meet its critical deadlines.
It has been a pleasure to assist a retailer as impressive and forward thinking as Bravissimo, with such an important strategic delivery. Augmenting with their development teams has enabled skills and knowledge to transfer across both organisations and this domain expertise will help Black Pepper to service Bravissimo’s needs on future projects. We have been continually impressed by how well Bravissimo understands its customers, and how Bravissimo puts them at the start of every thought process, when redesigning and building software systems.