by Corrine Casanova
Panty Drop creates an intimates shopping experience that feels special and seamless for women of all shapes and sizes. Headquartered in Reno, they have a premium panty subscription box that sends three pairs of underwear every three months based on their personal preferences. Every carefully created box comes with free shipping and returns. What makes this business unique is that it caters to women of all sizes – from XS to 6X. But, it turns out the mission of this company is much more than providing women with fresh underwear on a regular basis. It’s about inspiring women to be the best they can be and closing the gender leadership gap. Julie Arsenalt is the creator of the service. I sat down with her to learn more.
Q: Where did you get the idea of Panty Drop?
JA:I worked in the startup world for six years in San Francisco. While there, I had this revolutionary idea that women of all shapes and sizes should be able to shop for apparel in the same places both online or offline. It sounds like a no brainer, right? But if you really go in and start looking around and talk to women you realize that this is not the reality. One of my friends who was a size 14 hated going to the mall while in high school because she couldn’t get the same styles in her size.
Q: What is the problem you are trying to solve?
JA:Most women view shopping for intimate apparel as a chore. They never get around to it and their underwear is a mess. It’s faded, outdated and stretched out before they bother getting a new pair. And women in bigger sizes don’t have the selection choices that other women have. So I decided to start this size inclusive business to essentially help women of all shapes and sizes have pretty underwear that is fresh and up to date delivered to your doorstep every three months.
Q: Who did you pitch your idea to?
JA:We pitched our idea at StartupNV in early 2017. I’ve pitched before and every time there is a new question or a different phrasing of the question. What’s true for all entrepreneurs is true for me. Your best pitch is always your last one. Your story evolves as you get new questions.
Q: What was the result of that pitch?
JA:The result of the pitch to StartupNV was helpful feedback and introductions to other local investors in their network.
Q: What is the local start-up scene like in Reno?
JA:It is growing which is exciting. I like to think of ourselves as pioneers in some ways. It’s a fun place to be and there is lots of energy. There is something special about having the community here which is really on a curve or the inflection point where the curve is getting steeper and more and more stuff is going on all the time. There are more resources for entrepreneurs and passionate people that are saying we want this startup community to grow.
Q: What kind of mindset is essential when creating a startup?
JA:You have to be open to new ideas and get ready to be pushed. For example, if you are looking for venture funding, realize that venture capitalists expect high returns on their investment. They want 10X and 20X returns. It is not easy to grow 20 percent each month. That is really aggressive growth. You need a business model that will support that growth.
Q: How important is giving back in business?
JA:For us, extremely important. We’ve teamed with Pledge 1% and our nonprofit partners to help underrepresented women find the skills, confidence, and opportunities they need to succeed. I got tired about talking about giving back and decided to do the Pledge 1% right rom the start. What this means is we pledge 1% of product, time and sales to our giving partners. Patagonia has been a mentor in this respect because of their giving back program.
Q: What can Panty Drop customers expect from your service?
JA:The customer experience is really important to us. Tony Hsieh of Zappos is on of my mentors. We want a high level of control over fulfillment and even what the shipping box looks like and how it is packed is super important to us. We want to do the right thing for the customer. That’s why we offer free shipping and returns with a no questions asked return policy.
Q: What is the future of Panty Drop?
JA:For me, it’s about continuing to build a business that has an impact in women’s lives. We do this by setting the standard for size inclusivity in the industry. There aren’t any major brands that are size inclusive. We need to be better at this in the intimates industry. We need to see more women of power taking leadership roles.
For more information on Panty Drop, go to pantydrop.me.