Today we’d like to introduce you to Danai Pointer.
Danai, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
The story of TruNude begins at a point in my life that, I think, most women can relate to. In 2012, I had to buy a bra to wear underneath a few bridesmaids dresses, and I dreaded going to a store to do that. If you don’t know it (or haven’t experienced it yet), bra shopping is the most invasive and demoralizing process to buy a piece of clothing you wear every single day.
To get fit for a bra you have to: get felt up by a complete stranger; try on ten different bra sizes across ten different brands; and if you’re looking for a bra in your shade of nude so that the straps don’t stick out and make you look unprofessional, you’re SOL – they make nude in one color: beige. For years I opted out of the process altogether and wore whatever I could squeeze into. But on the occasion of my best friends’ weddings, I had to do something about my boobs.
I settled for what I bought. And then I started TruNude.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Nothing worth doing is easy. And my background is in communications and project management (primarily for nonprofits and government), so launching an underwear brand was a huge departure from my experiences! My first step was to learn as much as I could about the underwear industry and how I could create a brand to take the pain away from bra shopping and help women to feel confident and sexy in their own skin.
I started by interviewing and surveying hundreds of women. I wanted to know if I was on to something or if I was hallucinating. I learned that I’m not alone. Women hate buying bras; they want to feel comfortable and secure; they want to be represented; they want to reduce waste and buy quality pieces; and they want an easy process that they can do from home.
In addition to my conversations with these amazing women, I joined a startup accelerator program to help me validate my idea; I took a textile dye class; I met with tons of vendors in NYC and LA to get a sense of sourcing and manufacturing; I hired a designer; I hosted a Kickstarted campaign to see if my idea would net buyers (we met our goal in 3 weeks and landed in some major outlets!); and I moved from Brooklyn to Koreatown, LA to be closer to the production of my line. I did all of that before launching a website or getting 100 Instagram followers.
Today, we have beautiful bamboo bralettes, panties and t-shirt bras across 19 shades of nude on sale now; an active website, mytrunude.com; and a steadily growing Instagram account @trunude. We’ve done some gorgeous photoshoots and participated in popups around LA. Then, as life would have it, just before we finished our first production run, I had a baby! Now that my daughter can sit up, I am back in the ring and ready to grow my team and fully launch the company.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about TruNude – what should we know?
We custom match customers to their perfect shade of nude undergarments, sustainably made in the USA by a badass team of women. When you visit our website can pre-select a shade of nude that best matches you, or submit an image of your skin in daylight for a custom TruNude match. In just three steps, you can purchase your bamboo undergarments and have them shipped to your doorstep. It’s your nude, own it!
Everything we do is about making women feel comfortable in their own skin. A comfortable woman is a happier woman, a sexier woman and a force for good in the world. Since launching the business we’ve had only one return to date due to a difference in style preference. What we’re putting out there is resonating with women on so many levels. Even I’m a case study. When I was pregnant, my brand was the only underwear that made me feel good throughout and after my pregnancy because bamboo fabric is secure, flexible, 40% more absorbent than cotton, and dries quickly – so it’s perfect for breastfeeding! We currently have a retail partnership with Mom’s the Word in Palo Alto!
I’m most proud that we’re helping women from all walks and stages of life to live comfortably and confidently. I want our customers to go through life with TruNude because we understand the intense body and emotional shifts that come with being a woman. Something as simple and necessary as buying underwear shouldn’t be so hard.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I’ve had SO MANY mentors and cheerleaders along the way. There’s no way to sit name them all (my daughter would never get her milk!) But to start with a few:
My partner, Dominique DeLeon, a talented film director and seasoned entrepreneur, was the reason I took this leap and stayed the course. He recognized the risk I was taking as a former bureaucrat and private sector consultant jumping into the unsteady (read: not lucrative) waters of early stage entrepreneurship. His unending belief in me and my mission -and his superb parenting skills- keep me going.
My mother, sister, cousins and girlfriends: you all know who you are. These women have been my first sample models, clients, feedback providers, champions, critics, and so much more.
My collaborators in the field: Gladys, Vika, Esmy, Jorge, George, all of my vendors, seamstresses, models, there are so many people who have helped bring this line to life.
But, most importantly, I’m grateful to the women who look at this young brand and say: I want to give TruNude a try. Women who believe in supporting other women and slowing fashion down to reduce the catastrophic waste of the fashion industry; Women who like to experiment with technology and test out digital skin color matching inventions; Women who are excited about branching out and wearing something new… We wouldn’t be here without you!
- T-Shirt bra $78
- Bralette – $48
- Panty – $30
- Website: www.mytrunude.com
- Phone: 3474706885
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: intagram.com/trunude
- Facebook: facebook.com/everyshadeofwoman
- Twitter: twitter.com/mytrunude
Images courtesy TruNude