Posted on 39 Comments

What is my relationship with Orchard Corset?

I don’t know if there’s something in the water, but many people in the corset community have been under scrutiny this past week. Quite frankly, I’m a bit bored of all the drama.
Since my trip to Washington, a small handful of people have come forward – one asking me about whether I’m paid by Orchard Corset, one telling me not to undervalue myself by associating with OTR companies, and one who has felt that my channel has a bit too much of a marketing feel as of late.
I thought I would answer this openly, to set the record straight. I have always tried to be as transparent as possible while still maintaining some semblance of privacy, and I thought I had made my sentiments towards OTRs clear before, but this situation is worth addressing publicly because for every one person who mentions something, there are usually 100 more thinking it but not wanting to speak up.
My trip to Washington was hosted by Orchard Corset. The owners had gone to lengths so that I wasn’t in debt for the trip, but that is just what a good host and a friend does. However, they didn’t pay me for my time there. I am not an employee and don’t consider myself affiliate – we are friends, but I don’t receive a cut of any sales and they have never paid me to do videos.
They wanted to privately show me how they operated. We also talked about what happened on ABC 20/20 last autumn, and how the corset community on Youtube is evolving as it allows corseters to speak about our experiences without fear of editors twisting our words or taking phrases out of context.
They never asked me or even expected me to film a tour – I just thought it would be something that my audience would find interesting – I had asked Orchard permission to show their place. It was also entirely my idea to interview them, to get a handle on where an OTR company sees itself in the spectrum of the corset market, amongst all the corset makers. The interview wasn’t scripted (I had prepared my questions, but I had no part in how they answered). If the interview sounded contrived, it might be because we had to film it twice – the first time there was a bunch of noise picked up from outside; truck engines and people talking loudly so we had to re-film it – so naturally they had smoother answers the 2nd time around.
I broke even on the trip financially, and can say in all honesty that I didn’t gain from making these videos. Not even a real jump in views or subscribers. I feel richer in experience though and considered it an adventure. I had documented it not only for my own memories, but I wanted to take my viewers along.
In terms of the sample corsets – of approximately 100 corsets, I kept two that had broken in on my body during my stay. I chose about 15 more for auction on Ebay – I could have used all of them for another giveaway, but I personally made the decision that Sidney’s health and raising funds for her was more important.
I’m not trying to defend Orchard Corset, and I’m not saying that their corsets are as good as custom-fit, coutil-based corsets out there, because they are not – even the owner of Orchard says that they are not at that level (and they have no desire to compete with that – OTR companies and bespoke corsetieres can co-exist peacefully).
If you got the impression that my channel was turning into one big commercial and that I promote too many products or makers, that barrage of unwanted media was not intended – but either way, it’s my fault and nobody else’s. If it is a commercial, then I am sure as hell benefiting the least of everyone on a financial level. The money I’ve spent on my channel is well into 5 digits now. And I say this without bitterness, just with truth.
If any of this were “just for the money”, I would be long gone. I have no secure future in maintaining my channel; I keep it because I love it. And I agreed to the trip because it would be a great experience to meet other people who love corsets as much as I do. For anyone who says that I have undersold myself by meeting with perfectly nice people, let me point out that perhaps it’s not me who is undervaluing myself, but maybe it’s others who put me on a pedestal and overestimate my reach. Opportunities to meet other corset makers/ sellers don’t come every day for me, especially where I live.
But I am really appreciative of those who had the courage to step forward and tell me their thoughts, because as they say – where only one person speaks, there are 100 others thinking the same thing.
I’m sorry if I’ve disappointed any of you. And one more reminder that Youtube is not my livelihood – I keep making videos because I enjoy it, because of the great people I’ve met along the way, and I try to support those makers whose livelihood actually does depend on creating beautiful corsets. But if what I’ve been doing has been detrimental to the community, I will have to put some deep thought into what I will do with this channel. This is no way meant as a threat to shut down completely, but perhaps after reviewing the corsets already purchased this year, I will stop doing them.
It’s a sad day when people are suspicious simply for one wishing to share her spotlight with others.

39 thoughts on “What is my relationship with Orchard Corset?

  1. Your name stands for quality.
    The only reason I care who you are affiliated with is I want to buy from companies that listen to you.

    When I see certain quality features on an otr corset I know you had a hand in it.

    Consumers have learned to be Leary of gurus promoting garbage to make a buck.
    That has never been your M.O. so I’m confused why anyone would criticize you and lump you into that category.

    You have contributed so much. You freely give your time and valuable information.

    Personally I think it’s about time you start getting paid your worth. These companies should be throwing money at you and so should ur viewers… Me included.

    Your viewers watch because we are benefiting from your knowledge. It’s ridiculous they say anything to you other than thank you.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and support, Shanda – it means so much to me to have people like you who understand my situation and are willing to stand in my corner. <3

  2. Lucy, if there is a reason I like your corset reviews, it’s because I feel like you can be objective an unbiased. I like that your reviews show the details of the product. You look for those details were the quality can be measured, which makes it easier to compare one corset with another. You review corsets of all price points using the same standards. This is great because it helps the costumers decide what corset they will buy by balancing what features you want, what features you care about less and how much you are willing to pay. So the way you do reviews if fair both to off the rack companies and individual corsetieres.

    Your reviews are not detrimental to the community of corset buyers. The reviews make it easier to decide from where to purchase and give you an idea of what can you expect. Your channel really is all about giving information and it shows. There are more profitable ways to make money on YouTube and if you wanted you could expand to other areas (like beauty) since you already have a big number of followers. I think your watchers should know that you are not doing this for the money.

    I can see how corset sellers would be affected by your reviews. Because all corsets are reviewed to the same standard guidelines, it’s possible to find that some corsets that are similar in features have different price ranges. I’m not talking about comparing otr corsets to bespoke ones, I’m talking about comparing a Vollers to a Timeless Trends or something. Of course, the price will depend on a lot of factors like the cost of living and operating on your country, the time and resources it takes to make the corset, etc.

    Maybe the corset selling community gets scared that buyers will not buy their product because a similar product is available cheaper. This is what causes the OTR vs bespoke war. They are scared that corsets will become a commodity, that the skills necessary to make a quality corset will be more common and they will be forced to lower their prices or accept that they will sell less. But as long as each corset maker has a signature style or technique, they should be able to find their place in the industry. It’s like eggs are a commodity, yet some people will pay more for organic eggs.

    Sorry if I wrote so much and went maybe a bit off topic… what I wanted to say seemed much shorter in my mind.

    1. Thank you Lorraine, I think you hit the nail on the head. The corset community/ industry can be quite competitive (especially with new makers popping up all the time on Etsy) but at the same time when competitors can also remain friends, this competition can be the source of wild inspiration. I hope that bespoke corsetieres never feel that they have to reduce their prices to compete with OTRs – actually when some makers like Sparklewren and Electra Designs price their corsets high (i.e. fairly) I find it to be a representation that they are on a different level altogether – and it becomes a matter of priority for the consumer, I guess like in the case of organic eggs. :)

  3. Lucy, over the years I have found that when you begin to grow in a positive direction be it creating garments, writing, going to school to achieve a degree or certification people are at first supportive. Then when you seem like you are achieving a modicum of success. Some of these same people who just a short while who seemed to encourage you start vocally berating you and say how phony you are, that you are a poser or some such rot. The truth is they are either insecure or jealous or both and what they say matters not a wit. You are doing what you love and are having fun while you are learning and growing. Continue to do so!!

  4. Lucy my teen daughter and I started watching your you tube videos over a year ago now and we love you and we both enjoying keeping up with your latest finds – and we’ve both learned lots and spent fun “mother/daughter” time hanging out with you on you tube and you helped me find my playful side so I could bond with my daughter in playing dress ups lol. Let the haters hate – let it fall off you – their reaction to you is not about you – it is all about them! Please don’t stop what you are doing if you love it – there are thousands who are quiet but who really appreciate all your work and knowledge <3

    1. Thank you so much Violet, your support means a lot to me. :) <3

  5. I stumbled upon your blog about a year and half ago and I have stuck around because you offer a unique perspective on corsets (and other things :)). Before I found your site I was very frustrated. I have a curvy figure and it never occured to me that the problem wasnt with me, it was the cut of corsets I was trying. Your reviews and informative videos helped guide my first `real`corset purchase and have saved me a lot of money and time! I dont find your blog overly commercial or biased, you review a wide spectrum of corsets and brands. Regardless of what direction you decide to take your blog, I hope that you continue to do what makes you happy. As long as youre happy doing videos, I`ll be happy to watch :)

    1. Thank you, Jen! It’s great to know that my videos have served some kind of use – and I do love making videos, so I hope you enjoy my channel for some time to come. :)

  6. Wow. How can some people say you were getting paid by Orchard Corset because you went to their home base? I would have LOVED to go and experience that, it seems like so much fun, and they seem like such nice people. Honestly, after watching your interview video, I went to their site and bought my first corset from Orchard. That’s how important I valued this view.

    In a way, you kind of your blog has a “marketing feel” to it, when it comes to your corset reviews. This is not a bad thing. After viewing a corset review video, I’ll go to their website, and a few times I hadn’t even heard of this company and after thoughtful thinking, I have purchased three corsets from unknown companies at the time (Orchard, Heavenly & Axfords)

    I think you are amazing, so please keep up the good work and never quit what you’re doing. You are the reason why a lot of us have bought from independent companies and refrained from going to eBay or similar.

    1. Thank you for your honesty, Stephanie. I guess part of the “marketing” can’t be helped as I am a product reviewer – but I try to be unbiased and not shove something in your face or force people to buy – that’s not my type. I’m really glad to hear that some smaller companies are being supported due to my reviews. ^_^

  7. I look forward to and enjoy your posts. I never once considered that your review of Orchard Corsets wan anything other than just that, a review. I enjoyed it so much, I placed an order with them for three corsets never once thinking that you would profit from it. And if you do, so what! Seems to me that would make you a good business woman. Keep the posts coming. You’re the one who got me started with corseting and I am now onto my next size down.

  8. Wow, Lucy–you’ve been busy. I quickly scan the blog while scarfing down my lunch, and see something about a trip to Washington…transparency…and charges of commercialism or kickbacks or whatever. I’m like, WT..?? Now Lucy’s lobbying in Washington for corsets? Then I see it’s much ado about nothing–some grousers attempting to rain on your parade. I have nothing but high praise for everything you’ve done–it’s obviously a labor of love, and you take great pains to explain your position on everything on the OTR vs. custom thing to the various reasons why one might want to wear a corset in the first place. I stumbled across your site a few months back and have found your information extremely helpful, especially as a person new to the whole idea of wearing a corset…just understanding what goes into making a quality garment lets the buyer know how to proceed and avoid some of the pitfalls. My first “starter corset” turned out to be a very good fit (no pun intended), in large part due to the information I found on your channel. In fact, I got TONS of compliments on a dress I wore yesterday…and I know the shape was greatly enhanced by the corset I wore underneath. I really appreciate your posts and I hope you won’t let a few “haters” dissuade you from continuing to share your insights with all of us. Thanks!

  9. Hi Lucy, please take the negativity of others with a grain of salt. It is nobody’s business if you are being paid for advertising OTR or not. What you do is of big assistance to those of us who are new to corsets and the old. If a party does not like what you are doing they have the right not to watch. I truly appreciate you and what you do. It was also a pleasure purchasing my first corset from you. You gave me EVERYTHING I needed to know. Let’s all give Lucy a BIG ROUND OF APPLAUSE!!!!!

    Thanks for being YOU.
    Michelle Y.

  10. Dear Lucy ! Thank you so much for sharing your impressions at Orchard Corsets with us ! I thought other people would have kept it privately ! I perceive you as such a thorough studying and open-minded person who deserves open doors & opportunities , I´m sure other companies would love you to review them in this high-quality ! Somehow you are creating something new with your work and personality and it leaves the boundaries of normal definition now ! You´re really growing within an specialized topic and we all are able to follow you as a free reporter between corsets as “unique -pieces -of -art ” and different OTR corsets companies . I ´m from Austria and YouTube/ the internet connects us in a quick and new kind of way , I appreciate this so much for my new experience wearing corsets since january . It´s quite unusual here but everybody is fascinated and understanding when introduced to ! I wore some starter UB/OB from Corsets UK before I found the amount of information , so the next decision for me was going for the “Josephine UB” and a nice and even more comfortable waist cincher from Isabella Corsetry which both do fit my not so curvy figure so unbelievable well and create a really shocking silouhette without any effort ! I don´t want to ruin them too quickly and was looking where to find similar OTR corsets . I studied Orchard Corsets , their level 3 corsets , their nice company´s philosophy of sharing information etc. when you just brought your interviews out ! Fascinating ! Also the corsetieres map / links are so great to get information about the small one- person- ateliers .
    I compare it to my violinmaking : it can be everything from lowest to highest quality and everybody needs information about it .
    I´m so grateful you are doing the reviews on the high-end corsets ! This is such a chance for us all to see this kind of work and design ! Through your work we will create a market for all kind of corsets again !

  11. Hi Lucy I want you to know that you are an amazing person, your kindness to share your knowledge with us is a privilige and when people dont appreciate it they twist the true of what is the real commitment of your videos. You’re special and I really want to say Thank You for guidance and provide all the information and for taking your valuable time to share it with us. sending lots of blessings your way. I love your videos

  12. Lucy; Haters just mean that you are now a force in the industry. Think Diana Vreeland for example. As long as you state, as the travel industry almost invariably does, that financial consideration for this trip/review/samples was received than no one should argue. If a travel writer does a piece on a resort or island you can bet the resort or business improvement association comped everything from the time the writer walked out their door and that they were paid for their time on top. You have nothing to apologise for. Just realize you now have influence and think before you use it. Noblesse Oblige. Max

  13. You were one of the first sites I found (via your video reviews) when I found interest in wanting a corset. I’m now consulting with you about my best choices. You are also the reason I started sewing last week. Please don’t change what you love to do over a few naysayers…

  14. Hi Lucy,
    I just found your website and your channel several weeks ago and have been reading/watching all of them nearly everyday. You’re so kind and lovely and i really enjoy learning from you. I’ve never made a corset or even worn one but I’ve learned so much about corset from you. Now I’m about to make my first one and so excited about it. Please keep doing what you’ve been doing the whole time. You are an inspiration.

  15. Sometimes I think people are ridiculous! “A detriment to the corset community?” What?! By sharing honest reviews of all levels and kinds of corsets? For offering insight that people couldn’t get on their own? I’ll be honest and say I’ve sometimes wondered why Timeless Trends haven’t been the ones to let you use their website, and give you a tour instead of Orchard Corsets, but what you do and who you do it with is up to you and them, and not really our business unless you choose to share. I thank you for your videos and any knowledge or insight you do choose to share. For those that don’t, they can choose not to watch! Don’t let them get you down, your too amazing to listen to unhappy troublemakers!

    1. Thank you, Cristy. I too wished that Timeless Trends had let me use their website in my “looking for a corset” video and learned more about how they operate, but it wasn’t for lack of trying – I asked them multiple times for permission to use their site and they never responded (although they always respond to my other emails as a distributor) so I took that as a gentle “no.” And they have never offered a tour of their warehouse.
      I don’t have a problem with passers-by who happen to don’t like the random video that they stumbled upon (I can usually ignore them) but the comments I had received regarding the interview I did with OC had come from people who had been following me from very early on, people I respected, but they couldn’t say that they liked that specific ‘move’ or ‘tactic’ when in reality I was a bit oblivious to there ever being one.

  16. Dear Lucy,
    I have been following your reviews for about one year and i can truthfully say that you have given a very passionate but balanced overview of corseting. You have shown the full range of corsets from the pretend corsets to custom made. In all of this, your remarks and comments have shown a growing understanding of the corset world.
    Every month, I can see you obtaining greater knowledge about corsets. To have an opportunity to see how a well run company operates would have been unfortunate to pass over just because they make OTR.
    Having worked in the liquor industry some years ago, I can tell you that when it comes to wines, the bottle wine is always more appreciated and talked about then the cask wine.
    The bottled wines have pride of place in the store and the cask wine is pushed into the corner. When you look at the sales of wines however, the cask wines (in Australia)have over thirty percent of the market. This does show that although people do appreciate quality, sometimes it is the price that makes the sale.
    I wonder what the sales relationship between custom and OTR corsets is?
    Hope you are keeping well,best wishes and keep up the good job.

    1. Dear Michael, thank you so much for you support throughout the past year – you have been a true friend. I didn’t know you had worked in the liquor industry! But from my own experiences with being at university, I can also safely say that many people opted to buy the boxed wine (lovingly dubbed “cardboardeaux”) simply due to the price and the fact that it’s less fragile.
      I have always maintained that it’s wise to try an OTR corset when first starting on one’s journey, as it’s relatively affordable (and often returnable if one finds it claustrophobia-inducing), and it gives some base of experience to compare with one’s next corset which may then be custom-fit.
      I’m not sure what the ratio of sales are in the corset industry but it would be very interesting to somehow calculate it/ find out!
      Best wishes :)

  17. Keep up everything, even the reviews of them. If there is any bias in your videos in one corset brand over another, I believe you are biased toward quality construction, which is perfectly acceptable and a big help to all of us!

    1. Thank you Angela – I’m glad to hear that you find my reviews to be fair and helpful! :)

  18. Dear Lucy, Please don’t let the commenter discourage you in what you love to do. I found you on YouTube 6 months ago and you’ve always provided good and useful information. Your reviews are excellent (not commercialized) and I appreciate you and the work you do.

    1. Debbie, thank you for your comment! I’m very relieved to hear that you don’t think my videos have taken a commercialized turn. I have found it a little unfair that so many ‘beauty gurus’ on Youtube receive free make-up or beauty samples and review various products, and seemingly nobody criticizes them for doing so because it’s what a beauty guru is expected to do. Since there is such a small niche on Youtube for corseting, I’m not really sure of the ‘rules’ if any – but I’m glad that my reviews still are seen as honest/ objective as possible. :)

  19. Lucy, thank you for all the reviews. Like you said, custom made and OTR can co-exist just as Ford and Audi do. As a newcomer to corset wearing I appreciate OTR as it fits into my budget until my budget can expand to a custom made corset.

    Thank you for all the effort you take into providing such a bounty of information.

    Chicago, IL

    1. Thank you Christine! And that is exactly how I like to promote OTRs – as an excellent starter corset to ‘warm’ people to the idea of corseting until they are ready for a custom, if that day comes for the individual. Thank you for your kindness.

  20. I can only speak for myself, but even if it might seem weird for me to say that as I don’t know you “in real life” I trust your opinion even more than some people I was with in real life. I enjoyed your interview because I felt that if you did it, it’s because you wouldn’t hide the truth from us. Also, I like the honestly of that company, because some wouldn’t dare to say that they’re not able to compete with handmade corsets or such, some would do anything to make you believe they can.
    Don’t let some negative thoughts let you down, though I agree that it is good that the people that told you that had the guts to say things that many more just thought behind your back.
    Just keep going, you’re just making me want to hold on as much as I possibly can to my project of having my own lil custom made gothic clothing and corset store !
    Love from France !
    Amandine Vercruysse

    1. Thank you so much! Yes, I was trying to get the honest thoughts and opinions from them in my interview – the opportunity to say what they need to say without fear of ‘creatively editing’ from the media, giving more insight into their friendliness and their philosophy. I liked how honest they were and how smoothly they all operated. I’m so glad that you could take some inspiration to have your own store, and hope you realize your dreams soon! :)

  21. What missszabzab said Lucy. You’re IMO letting them (mean people) have too much authority over you. You’re lovely and your videos on corsets are the best. We love you. *hugs* XOXOXOXO

    1. Thank you for your kind words, it means a lot to me! :D

  22. It’s great that you’re so transparent in what you’re doing, but by no means should anyone expect that. This is YOUR hobby, and its no one’s business what comes of that but yours.

    I also find your willingness to coexist with not only other bespoke corsetieres but also OTRs refreshing. I had shied away from the corset industry as a teenager because of corsetieres who felt they and a select few were elite and the only ones who deserved any business and their opinions on the subject were the only ones that mattered. So finding someone who not only offers tutorials on how to make corsets, but how to live in them, who isn’t on a high horse, was astounding to me!

    Also, *I* do NOT believe what you’ve been doing, either reviews or “promoting” other corset-makers, is in any detrimental to the corseting community (of course, I’m relatively new and just now coming out of the shadows, so not sure my two cents holds much weight). I LOVE your reviews and hope that you don’t stop doing them. I actually learn quite a bit from them.

    So that’s my opinion on the matter, and I hope you don’t let this all drag you down.


    1. Thank you, Lori – I appreciate your respect for my privacy, as transparent as I try to be – I also appreciate your two cents, whether you have been here two days or two years. My videos are there mostly to educate (and hopefully a little bit of entertainment, not being too dry) so I’m always happy to hear that they have helped people make informed decisions when it comes to purchasing and safely wearing corsets. :) Thank you!

  23. You should not let them get you down, I love your videos and it s great to discover new corset makers. I started making my own youtube video partly thanks to you. So thanks, ^_^

    1. Thank you so much – I’m flattered that you were inspired to make videos partly due to my own. :)

  24. I just wanted to encourage you in your channel. I love the reviews because they teach me more about what makes a good quality corset and also about styles and fit. I have yet to buy a corset, but have been interested for years. I love what you have done and I know that I can’t be the only one. As you quoted above- for every 1 that speaks out, there are 100 others that are thinking the same thing (paraphrase). Well, it works for compliments as well. I have learned more about corsets from you than anyone else. Thank you!

    1. Thank you so much for your kindness – and you do have a point about the positive comments as well as the negative ones. I do receive more positive comments but for some reason always seem to get ‘hung up’ on the negative ones and they dwell in my mind – that is something I will have to fix. I greatly appreciate that you like the work I’ve put into my channel/ blog – thank you for your support! <3

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