Underwear That Makes You Feel As Good As You Look
How did you get started? I was sick of wearing uncomfortable bras from brands that sexualised me or spoke down to me. I suppose this is more like the why I started! The how is: I began meeting with pattern makers and manufacturers up and down the east coast to help me create our first product: the everyday bra.
Did you see a gap in the market and how did you want to fill it? Someone needed to bridge the gap between comfy and everything else while actually putting the wearer first.
We know starting a business can be challenging, how did you get support? Support from my family and my amazing partner who took many bus trips with me around the East Coast to meet with pattern makers.
Further to that, how has your home & family life influenced you and your brand? I would have never had the courage to start underbares without them. My sisters and close friends are some of our first product testers and I really value their honest feedback.
Who has inspired you along the way? My dad is a business owner and seeing him work hard to provide for my family has always been inspiring. I subscribe to the church of Oprah and always find her advice so wise - love listening to her interviews.
underbares has an amazing community around the brand – they call them the #baretribe. Genevieve, the Founder of underbares describes why this community is important and how it benefits the brand. We love underbares for its emphasis on catering to a diverse market and for empowering all women!
What are the underbares brand values? We’re community first and would not be here without our #baretribe – a group of strong, beautiful individuals who offer support and encouragement no matter the circumstance. From our models (aka my close friends) and the fierce photographers we work with, these women make the brand what it is.
Tell us about who or what influences you and underbares? You! Individuals! Amazing women and men and those who choose not to identify with gender who are challenging the status quo and asking the hard questions and sometimes making people a little uncomfortable.
How do you decide what to feature in your collections? I ask our community what they want next in their top drawer and we go from there. I never want to create or design products just to add unnecessary items into our world. I like things to be very functional while still being comfy, chic, and pared down.
The community angle also filters through your models and photographers, tell us a bit more about this? I love working with DC-based photographers and creative individuals; it’s so much more fun to create something when different perspectives are involved. And, I think that results in more relatable, beautiful photography. Our models are my friends and customers - I love featuring real women.
Do you have a network of entrepreneurs you work closely with to support? I didn’t at first, but through The Tory Burch Foundation and 1863 Ventures, now I do!
Tell us about people who have mentored you? I’ve received most mentorship from programs I’ve participated in, I don’t have a formal mentor :) I am a strong believer in peer mentoring, though, and I look to a handful of amazing women to bounce ideas off of and ask for guidance when needed.
Tell us more about female empowerment - how important is it to you and underbares? Through underbares, I hope to empower all individuals to feel comfortable and beautiful in their own skin. I think it’s important to question societal norms and expectations when it comes to body image. I want to create a safe space where we can do that and build one another up.
Underbares focuses heavily on sustainability and champions local communities and charities. We spoke to Genevieve about how she drives a sustainable business and why it’s important to her.
Why are sourcing and packaging important to you? Sourcing is important to us – our lace comes from a 150+ year old family-owned company. We source from an established, best-in-class supplier. Production is also paramount: when we set out on our journey to create modern undergarments, it was essential for us to be close to the production process. We wanted to touch and feel the development every step of the way. So, we chose to have underbares made in the USA. We are committed to supporting ethical manufacturers close to home.
Tell us about the fabrics, the material - what is behind the design? Our lace for the everyday bra and the everyday brief is from a 100+ year old family run business with mills all over the world. Our mesh is from a business in Rhode Island, which I love because it’s close to where I grew up. With the u bra, we’re able to create an entirely USA made product (and eventually a mesh thong to match). Our GOTS certified organic cotton is from India. I adore how soft it is and the slightly thicker, sturdy weight of the fabric.
How have you found including sustainable elements as part of underbares, specifically in your packaging? Do you think this trend is impacting your industry? I always say that there is a lot of waste in the world, and we don’t want to add to it. That starts with our packaging, almost all of which is either biodegradable or recyclable. The only exceptions are our hang tags and branded stickers, both of which are created from recycled materials. We’re making an effort to launch a recycling program for our undergarments too.
We notice you also support your local community through initiatives involving artists and local charities - can you tell us a bit more about this? Why is it so important to you? Being involved with the community and giving back is so important to me and our community - every Valentine’s Day for each underbares bra purchased we donate one to women and girls in need; it’s a way to rethink an at times sexualized holiday. And I feel so fortunate to even be in the position to pursue underbares that I think it’s important I give back to those in need.
I love working with independent artists to share their beautiful work because it brings me so much joy and I want to share it with our community and others. More collaborations to come that I can’t wait to share about! :)