FINALLY, great fitting underwear that matches her school dress! sHEROes girls school underwear are a contemporary scungie/undie, providing full coverage, superhero-sized underpants that stay in place when girls are cartwheeling or sitting on the floor cross-legged, keeping your daughter covered, comfy and confident at all times. Made from a sustainable, breathable bamboo fibre, in a BSCI certified factory. We spoke to founder Rel Vild to learn more about how she got started.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
A tree change, and two young daughters who like to wear dresses to school led me to starting sHEROes.
Turns out there’s not much calling for swimwear designers in regional areas, and not a lot of part-time work on offer, so I had to invent my own way to earn some income.
At the time, inspired by their peers at school, my daughters were wearing the little shorties under their dresses, over the top of regular undies because the vertical seam irritated them without.
Having spent 20 years designing and fitting swimwear, I was unhappy with the fit of the shorties and knew I could design something that was far more comfortable, better fitting and quality whilst using sustainable fabric and certified factories to manufacture the garments.
So, I made our own full coverage undies, which don’t creep up, from super soft bamboo fibre. My girls loved the fit and fabric, then their friends started to ask for them, and the business started to evolve almost on its own.
The Launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
After prototyping a few different fabrics and fits until we had the perfect, superhero-inspired, full coverage underpants that stay in place when you are cartwheeling or sitting on the floor cross legged, I went to market.
Starting with our own school and friends, and emailing everyone I knew, I created an online store, and started taking orders. A big leap of faith entailed a sizeable order of stock to get the price I needed in order to be profitable.
I was then accepted into iAccelerate, a business incubator run through University of Wollongong, which helped enormously with education in business and awesome networks and mentor support, giving me a huge boost of confidence and knowledge.
After less than 12 months, sHEROes are now stocked in one retail outlet and six schools, along with the original online store and eBay!
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
Getting that first retail outlet on board, and the first school to commit and stock the underwear were great moments for my confidence and confirmed there is definitely a market for my niche product. Next breakthrough goal is 20 schools!