Boobypack, a bra with side pockets, entered the Shark Tank on February 13. Heavy interviewed founder Christina Conrad, who considers herself a “one woman show” when it comes to running her company. Here is what she told us about her unique product and venture into the clothing business.
1. It’s a ‘Fanny Pack for Your Rack’
Conrad, who was 23 at the time, was amongst friends in her tiny New York City apartment when the idea came to her. Her high school and Georgetown University pals were complaining about how they had lost or ruined their phones during the Ultra Music Festival in Miami because they didn’t want to carry a purse to the event.
“Pretty suddenly the name “Boobypack,” came to me and I shot up from the floor, completely elated and crazy looking,” Conrad explained. “My friends told me to sit back down and chill out but for the rest of the night ‘boobypack- the fannypack for your rack’ is all I could think about. The next day I went into my day job at Time Inc. and during my lunch break started Googling ‘how to file for an LLC.'”
Although people tried to dissuade her from using the name Boobypack, she chose not to listen to the naysayers. Instead, she provides them with a real-life example of a successful company with a lighthearted name. “My response to them is look at Chubbies! They sell short shorts to guys and raised $4 million in VC funding last year,” she said.
She continued, “I think if you’re going to market your product to people with a sense of humor, why not start with your name–it’s the first thing they’ll hear about you.”
2. She Used Kickstarter
As far as creating a prototype goes, she would travel to New York City’s garment district during her lunch hour to find a suitable production company for her bras.
In December of 2012, she enlisted the aid of Kickstarter and raised $32,725.
Her experience with crowdfunding was extremely positive, and she said, “It’s really an incredible platform– not just for funding, but for exposure. I heard crickets when I pitched the Boobypack to news sites pre-Kickstarter. But after we doubled our fundraising goal, Huffington Post, Jezebel, Cosmo and others all picked up the story.”
She also loves how the people who backed her campaign become a part of her company from the very start. “They’re not just customers, their “backers.” And for a 24-year-old who did not have any background in ecommerce, having a supportive, helpful and vocal customer base was really important,” she said.
3. This Is Their Bestseller
The American Flag BoobyPack outsells all the other designs. “We sold out the first time they hit the shelves in just a few months,” Conrad explained.
As far as interesting orders go, Conrad has had a few. “We had someone who wanted to put a picture of himself on the back of the Boobypack but he wasn’t ready to order 5 of them (our custom order minimum).”
Customers can design their own Boobypacks and the company has done orders for different groups of women from bridal parties to sororities. They’ve also created a tankini line for the girls of Tuckernuck.com as well as football-themed bras for Smirnoff’s Super Bowl campaign.
4. She Didn’t Drink For a Month Before ‘Shark Tank’
Her aunts and uncles are huge fans of the show and encouraged her to apply for some time. At first, Conrad was reluctant to enter the Tank. “I had seen so many episodes of entrepreneurs getting ripped to shreds in the Tank that I was hesitant, but then after a couple months of strong sales I decided to go for it and sent in my blurb about Boobypack,” she explained.
To prepare for her appearance, she stopped drinking for the month leading up to it. She also watched every episode of the first five seasons of the show. “I would pause the video when the Sharks started firing off questions so that I could answer them myself. Talked to my computer a lot that month,” she admitted.
The day of filming, she wore a high neckline and concealer in order to counter the blushing and hives problem she gets when nervous.
In fact, she even designed a themed t-shirt to market their appearance on the show, shown above.
5. You Should Turn Off You Cell Beforehand
When asked about the health risks of putting your phone close to your chest, Conrad realizes that women should be careful. In fact, her mother is a breast cancer survivor and expressed her concern with the bra at first.
“While there’s no known link between cell phone use and cancer, research is still being done so why risk it?” she said.
In order to deal with this problem, on each product page they issue a warning to either turn off your phone before placing it in the pocket or use a Pong Protective case. They sell the cases on their site, and it uses patented technology to shield up to 95% of radiation away from your body without compromising cell service.