Every entrepreneur has a story. To understand their passion, we must look to their past. This is the first episode of From There to Here, a three-part series on how entrepreneurs came to build their brand.
Meet Michelle Cordeiro Grant, the founder of Lively, a lingerie company inspired by women with wild hearts and boss brains. Lively isn’t your standard lingerie company. Michelle has created an entirely new category in the space with a movement called leisurée, a blend of athleisure and lingerie.
We spoke to Michelle about her entrepreneur story and how Lively is disrupting the lingerie industry as we know it.
How did you get into the lingerie business?
I moved to New York City after graduation and started a job at Federated where I did a 12-week training program, really learning about the process of how to create a product and take it all the way through to the customer. And when the program was over, they put you in a different category. I got placed in lingerie and I was just heartbroken. I want ready-to-wear. I want to be in fashion. After a couple of weeks, I fell in love with the category. I found it to be a place that is literally for women. It’s the first thing that you put on in the morning and you look at yourself in the mirror and that moment should be really powerful. I just knew that’s where I wanted to be.
What did you see as holes in the industry and what were your goals to fix them?
There were so many gaps in the industry, right? Because this is a category where what was done in 1990, 1998, 2005 are the same things that were being done in 2011, and it was always just, well, that’s the way that is. You know, this one push-up bra is the number one bra in America and it always will be. But what we felt was we could change that. We could change the attitude around a category that’s for women, where women just didn’t love the category. Nobody loves shopping for bras. Everyone wanted to rip their bra off the second they got home from work. But what if you could change that? What if they actually fell asleep in this product because it was so comfortable? What if they could go from yoga to work to drinks to dinner and feel good throughout that entire experience? That was the gap.
What are your hopes for the industry as a whole and how does Lively work to be a positive influence in this industry?
You know, our mark that we plan to make on this industry is really shifting it from a product that you put on for your significant other to a product that you put on for yourself. Our goal is to create products that conform to you and not the other way around. And we’re really starting to see that shift happen faster and faster every year that we exist.
What’s your advice for budding entrepreneurs and what is the most important thing that a brand must have to be successful?
My advice for entrepreneurs is, enjoy the journey. Because, honestly, being an entrepreneur is about constantly figuring things out. Don’t look at it as a set of problems, look at it as a set of obstacles, of puzzles that you’re solving along the way. And be easy on yourself when you make failures. Consider it what I call the learning tax. In regards to building a brand, my advice is to stay disciplined, stay focused, and constantly remind yourself of what your brand meaning is. Ultimately, how do you want people to feel when they see that logo, when they walk by the windows of your store? What is it that hits their brain, hits their mind, and ultimately creates human emotion?