October's member highlight is Panty Drop!
Innevation Center member Julie Arsenault is the Founder of Panty Drop, a women’s intimates company for women of all sizes. Using a proprietary selection algorithm that considers fit, size, and style, Panty Drop delivers a bundle of perfectly fitting underwear to customers when they need them.
We spoke with Julie, a two-year member of the Innevation Center, on her entrepreneurial journey.
After graduating from MIT in Mechanical and Ocean Engineering, Julie spent a few years working in product management. In 2017, Julie founded Panty Drop with the mission to empower women to be bold and confident. Panty Drop allows women of all sizes to have a better shopping experience for intimate apparel. Julie wrote the proprietary selection algorithm after recognizing how women struggled with size and fit variations among brands. Julie and her team have made thousands of panty pairings based on a woman’s size, fit, and style preferences.
Panty Drop also supports the next generation of female leaders through their 1-1-1 program where they joined Pledge 1% and nonprofit partners to help underrepresented women find the skills, confidence, and opportunities they need to succeed.
Julie selected Reno to be the home base for Panty Drop because of her love for the outdoors and Reno’s affordability for a bootstrapping startup. According to Julie, Reno is also a great place to do customer research, in part because the retail options are more limited in a medium-sized city.
As a first-time entrepreneur, Julie recalls that one of her biggest challenges was understanding the fundraising process - how much time she needed to commit to preparing the pitch and meeting the network of investors. The other big challenge was building a team with smart people who are hands-on with flexible skills that could take on the changing roles and priorities of a young startup.
Julie’s vision for Panty Drop is to re-define what sexy looks like, to drive equality, and offer women of all sizes bolder and higher quality products than those that are typically found in a retail store. Panty Drop was recently selected as one of the eight companies, beating out over 400 applicants, to participate in the Ready-Set-Raise startup accelerator program by the Female Founders Alliance based in Seattle. To participate in the program, each company needs a female or non-binary CEO.
Read Julie’s blog post "Why I Started Panty Drop" to learn more.