It was only when Sarah Tremellen became pregnant that she realised how restricted the market was for curvaceous women who wanted sexy lingerie.
After growing several cup sizes in nine months, Ms Tremellen's choice became limited to matronly bras which seemed "more suitable for landing parachutes" with none of the glamour of lingerie for smaller-sized women.
"There is a vast array of pretty bras in shops but if you ask for F-cups, you are taken to a dark corner to be shown a few matronly designs with large straps and double hooks," she said.
Ms Tremellen had worked as a waitress and researcher and thought she would be a full-time mother. That changed when she set about rectifying the gap in the market by creating her own mail-order company, Bravissimo, which provides for women whose bra cup size ranges from D to JJ.
A decade after starting the business from her home in Twickenham, Ms Tremellen's company has a projected turnover of £25m this year and she is among five women to be short-listed for the Veuve Clicquot businesswoman of the year award.
The shortlist, for which the winner will be announced on 28 April, includes Chey Garland, 48, chief executive of Garlands Call Centres in Tees Valley; Lara Morgan, 47, who founded the Bedford-based toiletries firm, Pacific Direct; Carole Nash, 62, who created an insurance firm for motorcyclists, and Elizabeth Wagstaff, 56, founder of Robinia Care, a healthcare business.Reuse content