Crystal Etienne is the CEO and founder of PantyProp.com, one of the top product startup companies offering functional undergarments in the trending “period panties” space.
Inspiration for PantyProp
My “ah ha, I got it” moment was completely out of the normal circumstances. During a private, comfy moment at home I was snuggled with my husband watching TV. Feeling the discomfort of my pad, I looked down, disgusted. I found my feminine pad hanging out of my undies and holding on for dear life by the sticky. Not only did it look un-appealing, it was also uncomfortable. I was secretly embarrassed in front of my own husband – who really didn’t notice or care.
I realized, in this day and century, that there is no reason why a person who needs the use of a sanitary pad should deal with discomfort, anxiety, or embarrassment. I looked online to find a solution to hide and secure my pad in place all day. To my dismay, there was no product on the market – so I decided at that moment I was going to help myself and others who used a pad. I was going to provide a simple, no afterthought, and quick solution.
Learning How to Get Started
Residing in New York I assumed getting a product produced would be easy. I had no idea where to start so my first initial research started with a google search for factories. After calling a few and explaining what exactly I wanted, it ended up with no real result. Most laughed or just simply didn’t understand my design goal. Through Google I found Maker’s Row, and that was the day I hit the “Production Lottery.” There was tons of factories and information that I didn’t even know existed. I called over 300 factories and each one led me to learn something new. Before bringing my idea to complete concept I had no idea what a Muslin, Pattern, or Grading was.
Like most new entrepreneurs with a great idea, I just always visioned the product in its final stage of completion and market ready. I quickly realized there was so much to do in between. After reading all the reviews and articles on Maker’s Row, I was excited and inspired with a wealth of information.
Here are two posts that were essential resources in getting started.
Manufacturing 101: How to Get Started
This is one of the first blogs I read while I was developing the initial idea and concept, I often go back to this same blog to refresh and restart. Sometimes as a business owner you need to just go back to your roots, before you even made a dime, and replenish those times when you were desperate for information or the answer
How to Get Press
I found this article to really sum up the PRESS process. Most times as new business owners we think our business itself is the best and deemed for press coverage. Most will email things like “The best socks” or ” You’ve never seen this before” in reality they actually have. there is a million products for almost everything. Luckily for my brand, I came in the market at the right time when “period panties” just started trending, but I also was different. Every other company for years was just covering “free bleed” but no one had paid any attention to the sanitary pad. My first coverage was in Seventeen Magazine.
On the platform I refined my search for “New York” – “Lingerie” – “Minimums.” I decided on 5 Factories to visit and show my drawings. The first factory who produced my first run was great with production, time, and info but didn’t really care about my side of the business as the brand and keeping margins in reach. They were more use to dealing with larger companies and large quantity and wanted me to fast forward before I sold one underwear.
So I went back to the Maker’s Row platform to find a manufacturer that would better align with my business needs. Now, I am delighted to work with my current manufacturer who is both professional, fair, detail-oriented, and cares about the goals and mission of Panty Prop.
Scaling A Fast-Growing Startup
I left a six-figure salaried career as a financial operations controller, and with no design or fashion background when I wrote the patent for Panty Prop. I did not expect to become one of New York’s top three functional underwear so fast. As a serial entrepreneur, I have started many businesses and know sometime it takes years for a company to hit it big.
Panty Prop has been completely self-funded. I did everything from pure natural passion to empower women, without any idea of a new concept would even make a dime even. Since launching PantyProp in November 2015, we have gone through 4 production runs and sold out every time. Once the leak-proof swimwear hit the website, it went viral and sold over 3,000 in 2 weeks and 15,000 units in a month.
The demand has been so phenomenal and Maker’s Row has been a great resource as I encounter new challenges and opportunities in business. I have two great Maker Row factory relationships and decided to bring all my products to market. The sales numbers have been phenomenal. We are currently featuring our functional leak-proof underwear, swimwear, a Tween section, and bodysuits. We are excited to be working on the launch of Men and Legging will come in the Spring/ Summer of 2016 with all the same patented discreet features.
Get Your Product Off The Ground
Maker’s Row has launched Projects, a virtual one-stop shop software where you can organize and communicate details in order to get from design to production. Projects will move your ideas from the basic sketch to your first order, seamlessly. Get Started!
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