Student Life

Bra mishap turned business opportunity for two students

Cheboygon freshman Ian Elliot and Chesterfield freshman David Walter pose with the bras that they bought after a glitch in the Hollister website on Tuesday afternoon in Barnes Hall. (Emily Brouwer/Staff Photographer)

Cheboygon freshman Ian Elliot and Chesterfield freshman David Walter pose with the bras that they bought after a glitch in the Hollister website on Tuesday in Barnes Hall. (Emily Brouwer/Staff Photographer)

It started out with a glitch in the system of the Hollister clothing company.

A simple error on the company’s website allowed customers to order bras for free, with only a $5 standard shipping fee. Central Michigan University freshmen David Walter and Ian Elliott discovered the mistake and saw an opportunity for a business venture.

The pair ordered 116 bras from the company after hearing about the glitch in the system from one of their other friends, who discovered it when she was ordering her own bras.

“We’re selling all of them and donating a portion of the sales to the Women’s Aid Shelter,” Walter, a Chesterfield native, said while gesturing to the large cardboard box next to him filled with bras still in their plastic packaging. “It definitely started out as a business venture.”

Walter and Elliott were not the only Barnes Hall residents who took advantage of the Hollister system error and remember the day when the mail carrier arrived with all the orders.

“A lot of the girls in Barnes got theirs, too, and the guy who delivered them had to make multiple trips,” Walter said. “And they’re still not all here. They’re still coming.”

Walter said he thought it would be a great idea to help out the community by selling the bras.

He hopes that what started out as a whim will turn into a genuine business opportunity.

“A friend of ours had already gotten hers and she posted something about Bras for a Cause,” he said. “She was going to donate them. So we were inspired to take our idea a step further.”

Elliott, a Cheboygan native, said they might even get some of their female friends to help sell the bras.

“We realize that it would be kind of socially awkward for us to market them, so we are looking at getting a team of girls to help us disperse them,” he said. “We’re still working all that out.”

Walter agreed the duo is still figuring out how they’re going to sell the bras. With no set price, the two still plan on selling the free lingerie. The business partners are considering selling them for $5-10, but they’re still working out the details of their plan.


  1. Some girls in Woldt did the same thing.

    • So basically they stole the bras and are selling them on the street. Taking items without paying for them is stealing, error or no error. That isn’t a business the school should be happy about.

      • Very disappointed.

      • It is not their fault the Hollister Company had a flaw in their system. They are not stealing, they are taking advantage of what could have been a huge profit and putting it towards something inspiring and that IS something the school should be happy about. These students saw an opportunity and are turning around and helping the community with it. Good for them!

      • Youre an idiot…

        Stealing? Please.

  2. I love that they are donating to the Women’s Aid Shelter – they are such an amazing organization that absolutely needs the donation! Congrats fellas, I’m super impressed.

  3. Donate all the profits except for the $5 to charity. It’s a douche move to make all this money off of a mistake by Hollister,who still honored the orders.

  4. Is this all legal,I would think the Co. would of been more than impressed if someone would have called and said “something is wrong here, I’m getting all these bras for just 5.00 for shipping”

  5. Is this supposed to be a positive story? Students essentially stealing from a company? Just because you are donating a portion of the sales to a Women’s aid shelter does not mean it is alright. Someone with morals would have contacted Hollister so they could correct the mistake. Shame on the students taking advantage and on CM Life for reporting this

  6. Shame on them and shame on cmLife for reporting this like it was a positive choice. That is stealing glitch or not and they should not be making a profit on it.

  7. So, you feel better about taking advantage of a mistake by the Hollister Clothing Company by donating a portion of what you make by selling the bras? Totally shady if you ask me!

  8. I am sure the company realized what was going on and did not change it. The guys are simply making money off of a good deal. Plus it is not like they are being creeps and selling the bras just to hook up with girls. I am sure Hollister supports the donation of the money. Borderline ethics? Yes. Stealing? no.

  9. Cost under a buck for each bra for Hollister, its not going to kill them. Benefits to charity > than 1$ a bra lost by Hollister

  10. This is far from a “business venture” – it’s stealing from a company. Comparable to going into someone’s house and taking their bras (and donating them to charity, for arguments sake) just because they left the front door unlocked.

    Very disappointed in this article. I think I speak for every CBA graduate or student in the program.

  11. The real question is- who still wears hollister bras??

  12. Sad to believe that these kids are selling them, all while taking the idea from whoever made the idea for “Bras for a Cause”.

    Who gave the okay for this story?

  13. You do realize that if it was that big of a deal Hollister would have reported the mistake and kept the over priced bras right? How is this sickening at all when they came upon this fair and square AND are donating the profits to a good cause? What makes me sick is money obsessed ‘business men’ who are only looking out for the profit of the store; if anything hollister is also doing good by allowing this to happen.

  14. …….so everyone negatively commenting sure as hell is just jealous and would have most likely made the same decision.

  15. I think this is great that these boys are doing something positive with this mistake. I would be disappointed if they were selling them and pocketing all the profit. At least they are donating the $ to a cause and who cares if they took the idea “Bras for a Cause”. Hollister is getting more publicity out of the whole thing. I don’t think this is wrong at all. Every little bit of $ being raised to do research on cancer is fine by me. You go guys!!!

  16. Teri Elliott says:

    Am I the only one willing to comment with my first and last name, the last name not coincidentally the same as one of the subjects of this story? Those of you posting anonymously, I choose to ignore. I am proud that Ian is my son. Am I proud of every choice he ever makes – that’s debatable. I am a mom, after all! But we have raised him to be a good person and citizen with a grounded faith-life, he IS a good person with a great, big heart, and he has already done more at CMU than some do their entire college career. He may not make YOUR choices, but he sticks his neck out, lives large and goes with his convictions. If you’re not living your life like that, you should be the one ashamed, not people like Ian and David. Ian knows the difference between right and wrong, and will take responsibility for his actions in the open. I cannot help but admire that. I’m guessing that any one of us has made a mistake or a decision “in the dark,” and was glad when it didn’t make the light of day. Ian steps out into the light, says ‘Here I am, world!’ and DOES SOMETHING to try to make a difference, even if it turns out to be wrong, in society’s eyes. And he doesn’t stop there – he moves on to do something else, not allowing a mistake to keep him from trying. I challenge any of you, especially those of you who claim to be proud (and ashamed) graduates of CMU to tell me what you did that made a difference while you were there. Keep living out loud, Ian and David! We are so proud. Oh, and BTW, perhaps question your own student there about how many bras they may have purchased that night. It’s not like Ian and David were on-line shopping (for bras, hmmm), and just happened upon Hollister. I’m guessing Hollister saw these orders coming from a major university, and thought it would be a fun, free PR move. The next time you argue in Walmart because the “sign above the Ipods says $10.00″ but I got charged “$100.00,” and Walmart has to honor the sign, remember your ethics, okay?

    • Amanda (retired teacher) Tanner says:

      Well said, Teri! Hollister is definitely getting some free bra advertising (During Pink October…hmmm..), and the boys are helping a good cause. Anonymous nay sayers are not seeing the big picture at all. Oh, and don’t even get me started on the “teachable moments” contained in this story!

  17. Did anyone take into consideration that Hollister did this on purpose to get publicity like this? Isn’t it a coincidence that this happened during Breast Cancer Awareness month? Good for these boys for raising money for cancer.

  18. Brad Banks says:

    You can not be extraordinary without nay-sayers trying to hold you back. Audacity, more audacity, and ever more audacity.

  19. Ya’ll nay-sayers are just jealous that you didn’t get in on this deal.

    • Dawn Vickers says:

      I’m Ian’s Aunt, I don’t believe that this is a coincidence in that this would turn out to help a wonderful cause. Ian’s ‘ s mom Teri is battteling a rare form of breast cancer(my sister). I’m sure he wasn’t out to “steal” from anyone and saw it as an opportunity. Maybe it wasn’t totally thought through, but how many if us has had that same experience. (Sounded like a great idea at the time?). Hollister is loving the publicity and it is bringing more awareness to a terrible disease! Thank you to Ian for living large for all of us!! Oh I would like a pink one ( in honor of breast cancer). Pm you with size.

      • Dawn,
        My comment about being a coincident was meant to be a positive thing. I was meaning that they did not steal or are doing anything wrong. It was meant to be just the opposite. What I meant was that Hollister was doing this because of breast cancer awareness month and that it was probably not a mistake on their part at all. I am proud of both boys for what they are doing!!! I personally know Ian and he is a GREAT kid. I am writing this anonymously because I don’t want to take away from the greatness that these boys are doing by putting my name out there. That is not the important thing here. What is important is these boys are doing what most people would NOT do. I agree with everything Teri said and I support her all the way through her journey. She is a wonderful woman and I am proud to be a part of their lives. LOVE YOU TERI!!!

  20. Holly Walker says:

    Well said Teri. I agree with you 100%.

  21. are you kidding me? you all are calling that stealing and sticking up for a mega million dollar company that charges 75$-100$ for ripped jeans and 40$ for a plain t-shirt. i assure you the exec’s will still be able to put food on the table.

  22. Ian and David, you are amazing. Plain and simple. Keep doing you. “If you don’t have haters, you’re doing something wrong.”

  23. I think it is great what you guys are doing by donating a portion of your profits to a cause. You are trying to make a difference by supporting the Women’s Aid Shelter and I hope it goes well for you guys! Don’t let those who are being negative towards you stop you from doing what is passionate in your heart. YOU ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE, don’t listen to anyone telling you otherwise. Hollister’s glitch has allowed you to make this difference and those saying it is illegal clearly don’t understand what actually happened. You guys did not steal anything, you simply made a purchase that involved a complete transaction and you received a bill and everything. It is the same as ordering something online and receiving a BOGO deal or any other type of deal involving getting it for free. Hollister knew about the glitch and still allowed the purchases to be made. That was their fault and you have chosen to make something great from it. Don’t let your haters get you down! (:

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