Women have struggled with our periods for years. When Joanna Griffiths, Founder and CEO of Knix, created the world’s first leakproof underwear in 2013, you bet she had our attention.
Since then, Joanna has built an entire intimates company based on empowering women in all stages of life, regardless of age, body size, color, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation. In fact, Knix has introduced a number of large-scale video campaigns that break down societal barriers their community face – from Age Doesn’t Matter, Breaking up with Disposables, to Love Your Shape, and more.
When she was pregnant with her first child, Joanna was told by investors that they would never invest in a company where the founder was about to go on maternity leave. This crushed Joanna, as that feedback was exactly the opposite of what she was building her business on.
However, just recently during Joanna’s second pregnancy, Knix secured a funding round of $40 million which includes investment from celebrity Ashley Graham. What makes this story special is that she closed the round just three days before giving birth to twins, proving that women run businesses are just as crucial to the economy.
According to a study, a substantial drop in venture capital funding for women-led startups dropped in 2020 during the “She-Cession”. In 2019, 2.8% of funding went to women-led startups; in 2020, that fell to 2.3%.
Joanna believes the digital world has helped level the playing field for women entrepreneurs and is sharing her story and what it means to be the CEO of a growing company and be a mom to three young children. Knix will soon surpass $100 million in net sales.
In the past five years, Knix has experienced on average 150% annual growth in revenues year over year. A pioneer within the leakproof underwear space, the brand now sells roughly 2 million pairs of leakproof underwear per year; with plans to expand into additional leakproof apparel. One in four customers wear Knix products every single day, proving the products are made to be lived in and their community agrees.
Those numbers are impressive and proving yet again, that women businesses should be invested in.
Joanna’s top tip for women entrepreneurs starting out:
Be true to who you are
When you are building a business that is a brand, you need to be sure that you are being true to who you are and what you want to represent. For Joanna, creating a product that was inclusive for all women was the essence of her business.
Work with those whose values align with yours
When you are building a business you are building a brand that has values, so be sure that you align yourself with those who share the same values, or they cannot be true to the brand.
Be cautious of who you invest with
Don’t forget that when you seek venture capital, that these companies are offering you funding for a piece of your company. You will need to ensure they are a right fit for your company. Joanna has passed on venture capitalists who do not believe in the business that she is building.
Delegate, and be ok with that
As your business grows it will not be possible to manage all the things in the business. Hire smart and capable people and trust they are meeting expectations.
Be involved in your finances
Even as Joanna has a CFO overseeing and managing the finances in her business, she still gets briefings and reports and asks questions about the financial health of the business.
The bottom line is for women entrepreneurs the sky is the limit and we are changing the business landscape. Be true to who you are and keep shattering those glass ceilings and be unstoppable.