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Artist turns to what’s underneath with new Main Street lingerie store

Ania Machudera has always had an eye for finding beautiful colours and proportions in her artwork.

The lifelong artist has had her works featured in several different galleries in both Toronto and Poland, including paintings and other types of art like glasswork.

But now Machudera is bringing her artist’s eye to a different type of field: helping Newmarket women find the perfect underwear and swimwear.

“As a five-year-old girl, I was able to knit, and I was always creating something. This is something you are born with,” she said. “I hope I will use the skill of seeing proportions and help women choose the perfect bra for themselves.”

Machudera has opened a new lingerie boutique called Josephee on Newmarket’s Main Street. Offering a wide range of underwear and swimwear, Machudera said that she hopes to help women find the perfect fit for them.

The artist has been a professional artist since graduating from OCAD University in Toronto in 2005. But during those university years, she also spent time working at a friend’s lingerie store in Oakville.

She said she enjoyed helping women find something that suited them.

“Women who are coming and they need help, and they don’t really understand how they can work with their body to look better,” she said, adding she took joy in “seeing them leaving the store with confidence, and happy that they found something.”

Although a successful professional artist, a battle with long COVID-19 last year prompted her to want to take a step back. She said the illness harmed her lungs and made working with her usual chemicals more difficult.

Working previously in a lingerie store made her want to do that herself, Machudera said. After moving to Barrie two years ago, she said she came upon Newmarket’s downtown Main Street and fell in love with it.

“I always imagined (the boutique) would be on a street like this,” she said, adding she moved quickly when the retail space opened up. “I knew I really wanted to be here.”

The first couple of weeks since opening the store have gone well, she said, with people welcoming her. But she said she is trying to get customers to understand that she wants it to be more than a place to see a piece of lingerie that looks good on the shelf and purchase it. Rather, she said women should take advantage of a personalized fitting process to find something that really works.

“It depends on the body type, even how wide her shoulders are,” she said, adding that some women need more support in their bras than they are currently getting. “I work with the women to find the perfect, properly fitting bra and solve her problem.”

Now that she has opened her boutique, Machudera said she plans to move to Newmarket sometime next year after falling for the community.

She hopes to build a positive reputation and said she is ready to help women find whatever they need, even ordering in sizes as needed.

“Even if I don’t have the proper size, I will order, and I will have it right away. I would like to fulfill the needs of every woman,” she said. “That’s my goal.”

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