Co Down-based Cinch Corsets re-shaping women worldwide

Feeling the pinch after the festivities? Joanne Sweeney talks to two women who developed a corset that they claim is comfortable to wear and promises to make you look one stone lighter

Nicola McIlhagger anf Angela Hunter of Cinch Corsets. Picture Matt Bohill
Joanne Sweeney

IF YOU have enjoyed Christmas and the New Year celebrations a little too much and now find that your clothes are pinching, then perhaps a garment developed by two Co Down women may be exactly what you need.

Best friends and now business partners, Angela Hunter and Nicola McIlhagger from Holywood, have created a new 'mother's little helper' with their Cinch Corsets brand.

The corsets are designed to cinch in the waist, flatten the tummy and smooth your silhouette, while being more comfortable to wear than traditional boned corsets.

Since launching three years ago, Cinch Corsets have been endorsed by former Miss UK Gemma Garrett, fitness blogger Tiffany Brien and broadcaster Emma Louise Johnston as well as thousands of women – and a few men – across Ireland, Britain and increasingly further afield.

The corsets are claimed to also aid slimming and reduce waist size if worn every day, as they help the waist retain the smaller size, while supporting the back muscles.

Corsets, back to what our mothers and grandmothers wore?

Former GMTV journalist Emma Louise claims that she lost three inches off her waist in six weeks of wearing her corset from 9am to 5pm and managed to get her pre-pregnancy waist back after having three children.

Like many other inventions, the corsets were born out of necessity – particularly in the case of Angela, who had trouble getting rid of her ‘mum tum’ after her second child was born.

“I knew I needed some extra help and ordered a cheap version of a corset online," she says.

“While I looked fantastic when I put it on, it cut me to shreds and fell apart after just one wash.

“I went to Nicola’s house with it on and she thought it was amazing, but we weren’t really impressed with the quality. We thought what would it be like if a corset could be made like that and was comfortable?”

Nicola adds: “So out on a walk one day, we decided that we would get our own made. There was nothing like it on the marketplace when we began our research to see where we could get it made.

“In ideal world, the corsets would have been made here but we tried over 30 different places and couldn’t get it made.”

The women wanted a luxury, wearable corset that would not chafe the skin, and after three months of fine-tuning the design, ended up getting it made in China.

They’re delighted with quality of the garments.

“Comfort was our biggest demand on our wish list,” says Nicola.

“If it’s not comfortable, you won’t wear it, even if the affect was fantastic so it had to be also durable and affordable.

“Our corset holds everything in and basically makes you look a stone lighter, and that’s exactly what our clients love about it.”

The corsets come in black or nude, sit just under the bust area and go as far down to a woman’s panty line. They have a latex core, are fastened by hook and eyes and have three width settings, allowing the wearer to gradually cinch in their waist.

Angela and Nicola each initially invested £1,000 each into setting up the business for the corsets, which retail at £59.99.

Now they sell them as far afield as the US, through their website and a range of stockists throughout the island.

Angela (37), who also works as a PR consultant, is mum to two children, Matthew (7) and Heidi (4).

She is one the real-life models who have demonstrated the effectiveness of the corsets on their website.

“Nicola is very lucky in that she’s always very trim and doesn’t need a corset,” says Angela.

“Even after having my daughter Heidi, I still sometimes felt that I looked really bloated and I couldn’t get rid of my mum tum.

“For years, I just ate what I wanted and I had no problems, but then when I had children, nothing could shift the extra around my tummy.”

“Now I wear my wear my corset most days under my clothes and it gives me that confidence lift that I think many women would appreciate.”

Nicola (41) is mum to Nina (7) and also maintains a full-time job working as a mortgage consultant.

“The good thing about our corsets is that it opens up your wardrobe again to you as we all have clothes that we can’t fit into any more,” she says.

“They are very popular with brides and their mothers for the big day ahead, or any woman who has a special event coming up. Some new mums like to wear them after having a baby to help their tummy go back down in size.

"But we have found them to be very popular with women of all ages who thought that they have lost their waist for good.

"While the corsets have waist training results, we always tell our customers they won’t damage their body as long as they are wearing the right size.

"We advise to just listen to your body and if it feels uncomfortable, take it off and try again the next day."

The partners opened Cinch Clinic in Holywood’s High Street last September due to demand from their customers and now offer a range of fat-reduction treatments such as the fat-freezing Crylipolysis and cellulite reduction of the stubborn fatty area around the thighs and bottoms that most women hate.

Will the friends be able to keep up with the demands of Cinch Corsets over the years to come?

"It’s been a lot to handle for both of us over the last few years, but we have got Kim Donaghy who runs the clinic for us and does all the treatments," admits Angela.

"We are just delighted to have found something to develop together that women seem to love as we get thank-you cards from our customers telling us that our corsets have changed their lives."

:: For further information on Cinch Corsets, visit

Before: Gemma Garrett without her corset

After: Gemma Garrett with her corset on

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