I get asked all the time to explain how the business started. And for those of you who know me personally or have been following the ELC fun on Instagram, you know I’m not one to sugar-coat things or gloss over the harder stuff. I really like to keep it real.
To be perfectly honest, I had no idea how tough it was going to be to start ELC. I always knew I had a product that needed to be in the market, but so many times I was on the floor in my office doing the ugly cry, not sure I had enough in the tank to make it happen.
In the end, it took six long years from conception to launch. And it was worth every minute.
The whole process started after my favourite undies brand was discontinued. I bought out all remaining stock, but as the years went by, those pairs became less and less acceptable until eventually they were more holes than fabric, and they had to go in the bin.
I had a lot of ideas about the perfect undies and spoke to a friend about what I wanted to do. She put me in touch with someone who helped me pull ideas from my head and start actually planning a business, but I was still so green that many things just weren’t working. I still had too much to learn.
I thought (oh-so-wrongly) in the first year that I could just have an idea and hire someone to create it. But it was a huge learning curve. I needed to understand more about the industry, from the way the patterns are made to tech packs to sampling, what different stitches look like, and how this changes the fits.
Not knowing this cost me a lot of money and time, but ultimately led me to connect with industry experts who could assist me or direct me to the right people to continually grow my knowledge.
I was also still working full-time in the corporate world and travelling extensively and had almost no time to work on my project. It was another year before I started to focus on ELC again.
It was at this point I met an incredible mentor who was able to help me clarify what I needed to be doing in the back end of the business. So off I flew to New Zealand to meet with this person for 18 hours-- and this changed my business forever.
This meeting highlighted how I needed to focus on my individual strengths to get the business off the ground. Was my size range too big or too small? Did I have the right name? How could I find people or businesses with strengths that aligned with my weaknesses?
From here I flew home reinvested and reassured that this is what I wanted to do, and I pulled everything apart and rebuilt it. I invested in a branding company, seamstress and pattern maker, and commenced looking into factory options.
It was very important to me that we produce ethically, and finding a sustainable and responsible factory and supply chain took two years alone.
We wanted to ensure that we followed our values and beliefs, only engaging with companies who looked after their employees with fair wages and good working conditions. When we finally found what we needed, we were ready to begin production of the very first shipment. That feeling was unreal.
We were on the way.
Every step I took led me to look for new people to work with next, as I continued to build the brand and products.
During the initial creation phase, many of my friends (the original Everyday Women) would parade around the lounge room in their undies, showing me what they loved and hated about their underwear.
As I created sample after sample (we run about ten to get the fits just right), my gals of all sizes were on hand to try on every one, giving their feedback about what worked and what did not. And like true friends, they did not hold back. I’ll never forget the baggy, too-long crotch on the very first sample. Some things just can’t be unseen! Lucky my girls and I are close.
Once we had the fits just right for everyone, we focused on trims. This took another three rounds of samples.
At one point pretty much every other photo in my phone was of a woman in her undies (some in compromising positions to show the detail). Definitely had to be mindful of scrolling when I was out and someone asked to see a picture of the fam!
So many people, companies and friends assisted me along the journey and every one of them has helped me learn and grow, making Everyday Lingerie Co what it is today.
After six very long years, a lot of ugly tears, and countless style edits, I did a final fitting. Five Everyday Women of varying sizes and shapes came over to try on the final product, and every single one LOVED the way she looked and felt.
Everyday Lingerie Co was finally born.
When you pull on a pair of ELC undies, I hope you can sense how much love, care, and thought went into every tiny detail, from sourcing the softest bamboo, to the perfect amount of stretch, to the ideal stitch and beautiful non-fussy trim.
My girls and I think they are perfect, and we hope you do too!