Each week on “Boss of Me,” we feature young self-starters who created their own jobs.
This week we introduce you the woman who’ll eliminate that worry of underwear lines while exercising. Although some women may have solved this problem by going commando, Julie Sygiel and her team at Dear Kate took it one step further: they designed a special pair of yoga pants with built-in underwear.
Sygiel started out studying chemical engineering at Brown University, but was inspired by an entrepreneurship class. Her professor challenged the groups to come up with an idea and create a business model. Julie and her team came up with the idea of a new pair of women’s underwear that would be wicking and stain resistant.
The idea began as a class exercise, but when Sygiel told her friends about the idea, they all wanted a pair. So she decided to give it a try. And then her company “Dear Kate” was born.
After Sygiel’s success with women’s underwear, she wanted to create a new product.
“When we surveyed our customers, yoga pants were at the top of the list,” Sygiel said. “We thought Kickstarter would be the best platform to launch a new product.”
She was right. Sygiel started a Kickstarter campaign for the yoga pants with a goal of raising $15,000. An hour later, she had already reached her goal. She ended up raising $158,000 in total.
“The response was incredible,” Sygiel said.
With all of the Kickstarter support, Sygiel’s company continues to grow. But it didn’t happen overnight.
“People think entrepreneurs just step off a cliff and free-fall and risk eveything, but there’s a lot of research and planning involved,” Sygiel said. “And before you know it, you’re running a start-up and you have a product to sell.”