Dear Kate Founder, Julie Sygiel, speaking to a crowd of ladies at the Anthropology store event in Rhode Island.
Can you tell us a bit about the Dear Kate story?
Sure! The idea for Dear Kate came about in my college entrepreneurship class. There were three girls on my team and we started talking about how every woman has a horror story from that time of the month, but no one EVER talks about it and more importantly, no one was making better underwear for women. We also realized that giving birth does a number on a woman’s bladder and started to dream of creating a new type of underwear. We wanted to make a pair that not only protects against all type of oops moments, it also looks great and feels amazing. I studied chemical engineering in school and led the development of our Underlux fabric which is what we still use today in all our garments.
What are some exciting new developments for Dear Kate?
We just moved our office headquarters to NYC so we’re excited to be in the heart of the fashion world. We also just launched a back-to-school collaboration with Dot Girl that gives moms, aunts, or mentors the chance to give a middle or high school aged girl a gift that helps her prepare and embrace getting her first period. We have a bunch of new collaborations in the works so stay tuned (everything is announced in our newsletter when it’s available!).
What (or who) inspires you when it comes to being an entrepreneur?
I’m personally inspired by the letters we receive from customers who love their Dear Kates. When someone writes in to say that that we saved her day, I am so happy we were able to help. I also get inspiration from friends who are also doing their own thing. Some of the gals I love catching up with and chatting business with are Sierra Barter from PVD Lady Project, Sadie Kurzban from 305 Fitness, Micah Clasper-Torch from City Bird, and Ro McGettigan from Believe I Am.
The 2 biggest pieces of wisdom you’d impart to about starting an eco-conscious business/being an entrepreneur?
#1 Start building your mailing list as early as possible—stick a temporary website up and start collecting addresses.
#2 Focus on sales. Whether that means launching your product quickly or spending your time on activities that support sales, ultimately a company must have substantial revenue coming in to be sustainable.
Favorite part about founding Dear Kate is making a product that empowers women.
When women (or moms) find out what I do, they often say: “So smart! Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before?”
In my free time, I love to…..have good conversations with friends, stop into a bakery for a cupcake or French macaroon, and work on the PVD Lady Project, a non-profit I co-founded to connect, inspire, and showcase entrepreneurial women doing amazing things.
I’m dreaming of...the day Oprah names Dear Kates on her favorite things list!
With love and care,