Finding a bra with the proper support and coverage can be very difficult, time-consuming, and expensive, but Harper Wilde is changing that with its at-home try-on program. Customers choose up to three bras in any style, color, and size that are shipped directly to their homes, and customers only pay for what they keep, ensuring a perfect fit every time. The direct-to-consumer brand was founded in 2016 and initially seeded by Dorm Room Fund.
LA TechWatch got the chance to speak with co-CEO and cofounder Jenna Kerner about what it takes to disrupt a global industry worth $70B.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
CRV let the round, and we raised $2M in Seed funding. Additional investors include BAM Ventures, Brilliant Ventures, Victress Capital, Golden State Warrior star Andre Iguodala and his business partner Rudy Cline-Thomas, Adam Grant, former Microsoft CXO Julie Larson Green, and others.
Tell us about Harper Wilde’s product.
Harper Wilde is a bra startup that is changing the way women shop for bras. Our free home try-on program helps customers find their best fit, risk free; women choose three bras in any style, color and size, and get to try them on in the comfort of their homes for a week. They only pay for what they keep.
What inspired you to start Harper Wilde?
We were frustrated with the process of buying bras. We questioned why any woman should have to pay upwards of $60 for a bra. We looked at current product offerings, and realized how hypersexualized bras have become, and how unnecessary all of the added embellishments and bells and whistles were. We realized that a product that is made for women, is actually marketed toward men – and that was something we knew needed to change. Women deserve a product and a brand that they are proud to stand behind.
Many women struggle to find the proper bra. In the past, how has marketing of women’s undergarments contributed to the public’s misunderstanding of this article of clothing?
In the past, bras have been marketed as accessories or fashion statements – when in reality, a bra is meant to provide support and feel comfortable. Women were being pushed to buy bras that had more sex appeal than functionality. It can be hard to find your perfect fit when you have so many options with embellishments or features that aren’t designed with you in mind.
What market is Harper Wilde targeting and how big is it?
The intimate apparel industry is over $16B. Globally, over $70B. We aim to be the next go-to for everyday bras, for every woman. So, it’s a pretty big market!
What’s your business model?
Harper Wilde is an online, direct-to-consumer business.
What was the funding process like?
Raising capital is never “easy” but we were lucky to find such a great fit with CRV. We knew aligning on our principles would be crucial for a successful partnership, so we vowed to hold ourselves accountable to our customers by only bringing on partners, investors, and team members who have similar values, too.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Since most men can’t directly empathize with the struggles of bra shopping or finding the perfect fit, during our pitches we used humor to keep our investors engaged. We wanted to make it as relatable as possible.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
It’s the same factors that led us to pursue this business and veer from the paths we were on. The opportunity is enormous. The economics work out, and they work out in a way that allows us to do good at the same time. That’s crucial for building a world-class brand that has staying power. There are many bra companies, but no one was attacking the problem in the way we are, with a clear path to scale, differentiation, and sustainability. That’s what investors see at the end of the day.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We’re planning on expanding our team to keep up with the growth of the company, and also planning on expanding the sizes and colors that we offer. We’ll use the rest of 2018 to perfect these new products.
What advice can you offer companies in Los Angeles that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
The best way to grow a brand is to solve a real problem and solve it in the best way you possibly can. Focusing on making 100 people extremely happy is more important than making 1000 moderately happy. Those 100 will evangelize the brand and help you grow to reach a point where capital injection not only makes sense, but investors will be eager to provide it.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We see Harper Wilde continuing to help empower women both through our products and our brand. We are looking forward to all of the new growth.
What is your favorite restaurant in LA?
Mercado – the carnitas are to die for!