Naja, an empowering lingerie company, entered the Shark Tank on March 13.
Catalina Girald, whose Twitter profile quote is, “Changing the world, one panty at a time,” founded it in 2013. This is what we’ve learned about the unique company.
1. Each Pair of Underwear Has an Inspirational Quote
Each of the pairs has an inspirational quote on the crotch area, which no other company has ever done before.
Their underwear is made from cotton from hand-harvested Peruvian Pima cotton. Their collections have names like One Night in Cashmere and Noir de Noirs. They also have a Cheeky Knickers line which includes The Happiest Meal, a set of 3 underwear with a burger, fries and milkshake design on each.
2. They Have a Worthwhile Mission
A percentage of every purchase supports entrepreneurial sewing program for women through the Golondrinas Foundation in Colombia. Naja partnered with them for an initiative titled Underwear for Hope that teaches sewing, and gives jobs to single mothers living in Colombia, which is Girald’s native city. Single moms make all the products. The women in slums of Colombia make the lingerie wash bags that come with each purchase.
Girald explained to Latina, “Half of the proceeds of these bags go towards educating women in the developing world. The other half go directly to the women that sewed the bags.”
3. It’s a San Francisco Startup
In the interview above, with Glam, Girald talks about her goals for the company. She noted that the lingerie industry hasn’t changed much over the years, and she hopes to transform that. “Victoria’s Secret is not a brand I identify with anymore.” she told SF Chronicle. “My friends who are professional and educated feel it’s something they can’t connect with anymore. It’s overly sexual and not empowering to women.”
4. Girald Is a Former Lawyer
Girald was born in Colombia and moved to the U.S. at age 4. Before she stared Naja, she was a mergers and aquisitions lawyer in New York. “I grew up in a family where you could be a lawyer or a doctor—those were the two choices,” she told Boston College Law, from where she earned her degree.
The entrepreneur, who also has a business degree from Stanford, said, in the clip above, “Had I not gone to school I wouldn’t have known what I was doing.”
5. The Brand Does Not Cater to Men
Unlike most brands of lingerie, which seem to try to attract men, Naja has a different purpose.
In an interview with Latina, she said:
The company has a very clear philosophy–to inspire and empower women. I don’t believe that most fashion brands do this. Most lingerie brands portray women as catering to men. I wanted to create a lingerie brand that was first about the relationship between the woman and herself, because this is the relationship that we must first master.
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