Female Founders Series: The Little Bra Company

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What are the three words that best capture you? Curious, Creative, Driven

What gets you out of bed in the morning? My 2-year-old daughter.

In your words, what is The Little Bra Company and what is its mission? The Little Bra Company makes attractive lingerie that fits and flatters a smaller/petite body type. Our mission is to give women in this smaller size range a complete bra wardrobe that fits them better and makes them feel great from the inside out.

When was the moment you knew you had to create The Little Bra Company? I started The Little Bra Company because I couldn’t find any attractive bras that fit my smaller frame and chest. The bras that fit better looked like training bras, and the ones that were sexier did not fit quite right.

What was your biggest doubt before starting The Little Bra Company? Did I make the right decision to leave a job I loved? It was difficult to cut the “golden handcuffs” off at first, but it was the best decision I ever made.

What parts of yourself are reflected in the soul of the company? I name every bra after a friend or family member who has supported or inspired me on this journey. I could not have built this company without them, and therefore, I am grateful every day for this opportunity to make and share a product that I am proud of.

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About your collection

Why should women wear your lingerie (or who should wear your lingerie)?

 I believe just like full-figured or larger-chested women deserve a better-fitting bra, so do the smaller breasted women. Bras are one of the first things a woman puts on her body in the day, and most likely no matter what size she is, she wears a bra every day. It is one of the most emotional garments in a women’s wardrobe, so she should feel good about it, and most importantly, feel good in it. A misconception about bras for smaller-chested women is that they don’t need to have any support. On the contrary, I believe that bras for our smaller body type need to have support in the right places in order for the bras to stay in place and to create a little curve when wanted.

What do you want women to feel when they wear your lingerie?

I want them to feel uplifted (in all senses of the word).

Describe the woman you have in mind when you design a collection.

I pay attention to customer  feedback and my customers inspire each new collection. Petite women have been underserved in the intimate apparel market for so many years, so I think it is important to pay attention to their needs and wants. The petite shopper is savvy, creative and vocal. She hunts for the right fit and when she finds it, she is very loyal.

What body types best fit with your collections (tops and bottoms)?

While most bra companies scale down based on a larger average body type, The Little Bra Company, scales based on a petite body type. (Note: The petite customer in the intimate apparel world is not necessarily just 5’4″ and under. We have taller customers who happen to have a smaller band and/or cup size.) Therefore, when designing bras for The Little Bra Company, we size based on a petite body type. Just like a petite pant may fit a petite customer better, our bras fit a smaller-framed, smaller-chested customer better.

What makes The Little Bra Company different from other lingerie companies?

We design our bras specifically for a smaller body type, and spend time to understand her fit and style needs. We don’t just scale from an average size range. We take into consideration her specific proportions to make a bra that fits and flatters.

 

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Female Founder Series: Miel’s Valeria & Camila Velandia

Valeria & Camila VelandiaNeighborhood and City- Montreal, Quebec - CANADA Co-founder @ mielsistersFullSizeRender (1) (1)

Woman we admire- Our greatest source of pride and inspiration has always been our mother, Beatriz, who is a sociology professor living here in Montreal. It_s because of her that we are

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  • What are the three words that best capture you? Loyal, kindness, aspiration. 
  • What gets you out of bed in the morning?  Coffee. We’re not fans of early mornings.
  • In your words, what is Miel and what is its mission? Miel® is our dream come true to make the most comfortable, freshest and cutest underwear any woman can (and must) own.
  • When was the moment you knew you had to create Miel? I once had to change my bra and panties 4 times in a single day: first, to get groceries, then for work, then for the gym and, finally, for a late-night bite with friends! As sisters, we experienced the same frustration about not finding versatile and stylish underwear. This is when we started dreaming about day-to-day lingerie that could take us from one activity to the next without having to think or worry about our underwear!
  • What was your biggest doubt before starting Miel? The biggest doubt and challenge is building awareness and helping dispel misinformation in the beauty industry that in order to be sexy, a woman needs to be uncomfortable. Once women try our products, the rest is effortless.
  • What parts of yourself are reflected in the soul of the company? The versatility of our products really reminds me of the many different hats I wear during the day, from super mom to working gal, without forgetting best friend and wife!

 

IMG_0230What makes your collection and / or company unique? 

At miel®, our focus is always on innovation and engineering the world’s best underwear. We have spent years perfecting the cuts, fabric blends, look and feel, support, colors, and finishes of our pieces. What makes our underwear so special is that we make sure to use the best fabrics (microfiber, spandex and cotton) in different parts of our pieces to ensure comfort and most flattering fit. Our fabrics are protected with Guardin™, which is a plant-based built-in antimicrobial protection against stains and odors. Miel® also integrates seamless and flat-seam compression in different areas of each garment where stretch and support are needed. Last but not least, every season, our collection includes new bursts of color reflecting what’s happening in fashion and on the street.

Why should women wear your lingerie?

In this day and age, women want to look stylish and feel comfortable no matter what they are doing and where they are doing it. Thanks to new fabrics, finishes and knitting technologies, we have developed a product suitable for all environments, so that a woman doesn’t need to change three times a day. Our brand was developed to support her daily activities at home, in the office, at the gym and out on the town. Our underwear works just as much for a yoga class as it does under a little black dress.

The miel® customer leads a busy active lifestyle, which requires practicality and stress-busting solutions for everyday life.

What do you want women to feel when they wear your lingerie?

We want women to feel that our pieces don’t just fit but also complement their lifestyle. For us, the fit is a celebration of a woman’s body. Our pieces move the way she moves. On top of this, we hope that the comfort and aesthetics of miel® designs provide a sensation of calm and relaxation. Amidst our busy days, we all need to score a bit of serenity!

Describe the woman you have in mind when you design a collection.

Our customer is the quintessential healthy modern woman. She works, plays, travels and embodies the essence of a well-balanced active life. 

What body types best fit with your collections ?

Our lingerie has been designed to fit all types of body shapes; apple, pear, hourglass & rectangle. Our beautiful basics come from our knowledge of form and function, to which we added a bit of sex appeal owing to our Latin heritage. The miel® product line features 4-way stretch technology that makes our pieces to look streamlined against the body whether you are wearing clothes or not.

How does an idea make it to production?

As much as possible, we prefer to meet our suppliers face to face so that we can touch and feel new fabrics or packaging. Our products are made here in Montreal, Canada, allowing us to work closer with our factories and ensure that the quality meets our exacting standards. It’s hard but rewarding work! We obsess over details and are constantly making minor improvements to our products, which is why it’s so important to be close to the manufacturing process.

 

#FemaleFounder Series: Katie Fritts of Underclub

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Our final installment in the #FemaleFounder Series features Underclub’s very own #GirlBoss, Katie Fritts! It’s been an exciting year for Katie, as the Underclub family – the team and subscribers – have grown and the brand has seen a many new developments, including the launch of The #Undervention (the brand’s first video). The Virginia native started her first business at age 7 selling her own artwork from her driveway and by going from door to door. Given her early signs of tenacious work ethic, it is unsurprising that Katie did absolutely everything herself when she first started Underclub – from packing each pair of underwear to cutting envelope liners! Today she is still incredibly hands on. Scroll for more on Underclub’s founder…

Our Top 3 Questions with Katie Fritts

What are your essentials for a productive day?

Getting a workout in! Going on a run or taking a class in the morning (or knowing that I have one to look forward to) is vital for me to take a mental break and focus on something entirely different. Working on my own company means there’s always something I can be doing, so there’s always something on my mind. Making sure I fit in an hour where my attention is focused on nailing a perfect (enough) plank or skipping over potholes on the street is the perfect distraction for me.

What was the best piece of advice you were ever given? 

To write down your accomplishments and what you’re proud of– don’t just take a mental note! It’s surprisingly easy to remember the “needs improvement” feedback and disregard all the great stuff. It’s super important for me to love what I’m doing, and it can definitely be stressful at times! Writing and referencing my list helps me put things into perspective during particularly strenuous times.

Describe your first feeling of success.

Really early on into starting Underclub, a writer from Cosmopolitan reached out to our generic Underclub email asking to pitch the idea to their editor for their Holiday Gift Guide- at the time I thought it was a prank or joke from a friend. Turns out it was real, and the next month (after performing a major website overhaul), we were up in their “Top Gifts to Give Yourself”! Huge confirmation of my idea after that happened.

For more on Katie Fritts and Underclub click here.

Tell us what you thought of the interview below!

#FemaleFounder Series: Julie Sygiel of Dear Kate

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Ever wanted go-to “period panties”? Julie Sygiel found the solution with her company Dear Kate, which impressively emerged from her college entrepreneur class project. With a unique background in Chemical Engineering and fashion, Julie developed Underlux- a silky-soft wicking and leak-resistant fabric. She caught the entrepreneur bug long before that though, as she was able to sell a shocking 10,000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies when she was younger. We look forward to collaborating with the real-women focused brand in the near future! Scroll for our interview with Julie…

Our Top 3 Questions with Julie Sygiel 

Describe your first feeling of success.

The day we launched our Kickstarter campaign in May 2014, our goal was $15,000. We had no idea how much we would raise and that morning we met our goal one hour after launching the campaign. It was a crazy feeling. Isabella went out to buy mimosa ingredients so we could celebrate and we went on to raise $158K in the entire campaign.

What was the best piece of advice you were ever given?

“You can find evidence to support anything that you believe, so might as well believe that you’re amazing.”

What was the most difficult challenge you faced?

There are too many to name! Naming the company was one of the earliest challenges that I struggled with for several years before finding Dear Kate. We went through several names, including Sexy Period, Underbrella, Eulie, Blink, and Sage & Silk.

Share your thoughts on our interview below!

#FemaleFounder Series: Degelis Tufts of TribeTats

degelis_tufts_arianna_huffingtonDegelis and her role model, Arianna Huffington

We bet you’ve seen celebrities and stylish girls flaunting eye-catching metallic tattoos around town. This female founder is one of the leaders of the trend that is taking over music festivals and Instagram photos, and we were fortunate enough to snag an interview with the busy lady! After making the tough decision to leave her finance job, Degelis Tufts started TribeTats. The move paid off because in just a short year the brand has hosted events with both Victoria’s Secret and Rebecca Minkoff! Scroll to learn how Degelis garnered her success…

Who are some of your role models?

I am a big fan of Arianna Huffington, who I was able to meet recently. She is an incredible female entrepreneur and an evangelist for life balance after nearly killing herself of exhaustion growing the Huffington Post. Her book Thrive provides a framework for the new definition of a successful life – we need to go beyond “titles and paychecks” and build a life mosaic whose components reflect our true values.

I am also an enormous Tina Fey fan – being able to laugh at yourself to maintain perspective is immeasurably important, and she is the poster child of that (and also a UVA alum!). Just love her – check out her book Bossy Pants if you haven’t already.

tribetats interviewDegelis (left) applying TribeTats to a Victoria’s Secret Model

What was the best piece of advice you were ever given?

My dad has always reminded me that failure is not defined as trying and failing, it’s defined as not trying. I actually saved this from an email from him: “You have failed when you don’t follow your driving force – when you become complacent, going with the safe, no bruising involved. To be fair, that works for some, and that is fine – but not us.  I know by failing occasionally that without it, success would not taste so sweet. When I am out of my comfort zone, that’s where I want to be.” Let’s just say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree :).

What are your essentials for a productive day?

First, a good night’s sleep – I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I am a better version of myself in every way possible after a solid 8 hours. Second, to-do lists organized by urgency and priority – every morning I wake up and ask myself: what do I absolutely need to do to be successful today (which is typically a very long list), and what can wait?

Share your thoughts on our interview below!

#FemaleFounder Series: Giorgia Rossi of LookBooker

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Giorgia Rossi is the Co-Founder of LookBooker, a platform where people can book all their hair and beauty appointments online based on neighborhood and availability. Makes total sense to us! Born on a leap year in Sydney, Australia, Giorgia and her Co-Founder, Renee Robbie, dreamed up the idea for LookBooker while doing global management consulting on rural mining sites in the country. It didn’t take long for the pair to realize they’d be happier running their own business rather than stay in the corporate world. Interesting fact about the duo: Rossi works out of New York, whereas Robbie is based in Singapore! Read on for insight and advice from Rossi as a modern female founder…

Our Top 3 Questions with Giorgia Rossi

What was the best piece of advice you were ever given?

It was from my Co-Founder! We both knew we wanted to work together from almost the first time we met in our former jobs and we used to always talk about how we had a vision for an online marketplace for hair and beauty as big as OpenTable or Airbnb. However, we kept on convincing ourselves of experiences or skills we’d need, books we had to read, things we’d need to know or people we’d need in order to start our company. It took us a bit of time to take the jump and Renee’s advice was so simple yet powerful, “you’ll never have everything in place, it will never be the perfect time, you’ll never feel ‘ready’ so let’s just do it”. That combined with my Mum’s advice that, “experience is what you get when you’re not getting what you want.”

What was the most difficult challenge you faced?

It’s not necessarily our most difficult challenge, but certainly one of the most surprising challenges: what it’s like to be a woman in the very male dominated tech industry. I came from a corporate background, which had seen huge progress in terms of parental leave, flexibility, alternative promotion paths and the development of more infrastructure to make sure there were fewer barriers to making women successful. There are challenges associated with being a female founder that continue to surprise (and outrage!) me, particularly when it comes to securing the funding women need to grow and scale businesses. Hearing the experiences some women have had fundraising can be like listening to a series of horror stories.

Similar to LookBooker, we’ve seen so many of our female peers who are building businesses that they or their friends use. They make a lot of sense until you come to the point where you imagine pitching that sort of idea to an all male panel of VCs who may be less likely to be pained by the inconvenience of booking their bikini wax on the phone during office hours or in an open plan office. We are in a world where so few venture firms even have female representation among their partnership (<4% of senior VC partners are women) and the industry has been accustomed to what a ‘typical’ entrepreneur looks like. It’s easy to see why more than 95% of venture capital currently flows to male founded teams. These outcomes make it pretty scary to be a female founder at times, but being smart about it makes the situation less insurmountable!

Describe your first feeling of success.

When we first launched LookBooker we were adamant about it being a marketplace that could serve both men and women – we knew that men were inconvenienced by offline bookings and had their hair cut even more often than women and are chronically underserved by the hair and beauty industry. One day in our early weeks of launching I was on the subway in my LookBooker t-shirt and a guy came up to me and said, “do you work there?”. I told him about how we’d created the idea while working together in rural Australia (of course trying to convince him to get his hair cut) and he told me that he’d used it to book his hair appointment the week before. I couldn’t believe it (when you’re a severely under slept founder, you look at any customer as the greatest part of your day every single time) and then he told me that not only was it his first LookBooker booking but his first ever appointment – he’d always gone to a walk in barbershop. It’s the stories of customers who are actually engaging in and using your marketplace that make you feel like a success – even if the moment is fleeting.

FUN FACT: the only things Giorgia can cook are eggs!

Share your thoughts on our interview below!

#FemaleFounder Series: Tracy Osborn of WeddingLovely

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We are happy to present our first interview in our #FemaleFounder Series featuring Tracy Osborn, founder of WeddingLovely – an extensive wedding planning directory aimed at making weddings stress-free. Based in San Francisco, but frequently working remotely abroad (right now it’s Croatia), Tracy is also the author of Hello Web App. When she’s not working, you will most likely find her tackling an impressive outdoor feat. Last summer, Tracy solely hiked the John Muir Trail (200 miles)! More on her story…

Our Top 3 Questions with Tracy Osborn:

 What was the most difficult challenge you faced?

Losing a co-founder — I’ve gone through it twice. The first time, it spurred me to learn programming myself so I didn’t have to rely on partnering with someone to build a startup. The second time was devastating. Hindsight being 20-20, I should have seen it coming, but having a close partner give up on my startup and myself threw me into a months-long depression. I basically moved WeddingLovely into a run-itself state and kind of gave up on it for a bit. Eventually the sting lessened, and I was able to jump back into the business and work on it full time again… but it was as close to startup-death I’ve ever been.

What was the best piece of advice you were ever given on starting your venture?

Never give up! I’ve been complimented on my tenacity before — I feel like I’ve been through so many moments of “failure” with WeddingLovely and I’ve just kept on trucking. Never give up, never surrender. But every now and then I wonder if I’ve kept on for too long — but I think that’s my self-deprecation talking. You do need to know when to quit and when to keep going. Generally though, the moments you feel like quitting are the moments you really need to keep pushing forward.

Describe your first feeling of success.

I had just learned how to code, and launched my own web app, the precursor to WeddingLovely — WeddingInviteLove. I visited a prominent design blogger and offhandedly mentioned it, and she blogged about it a few hours later. My inbox blew up, and I had that amazing moment of feeling like I built something that people needed and wanted. It’s such a great feeling to have something that you built blow up like that!

Share your thoughts on our interview below!

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