Today we’d like to introduce you to Helena Kaylin.
Helena, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
In 2004, the stars were totally in alignment for me. I went from locomotives to lingerie… seriously, you cannot make this up. I was working for the Canadian Railroad and met a recruiter from Victoria’s Secret who was searching for someone to lead their newly formed innovation & Research and Development team with one primary focus – to innovate the bra category, enabling Victoria’s Secret to be the best in the world at bras. We anticipated and solved for problems customers were having before they even knew they were having them. We launched bras like the Infinity Edge technology which eliminated the bump between your bra and skin. We created and commercialized some of the first ever bonded bras, and led a massive shift in manufacturing. I loved it. Me and my team of three were 100% focused on innovation, and traveled the world finding new yarns, polymers, and foam technologies.
My next career move brought me to the iconic brand of Calvin Klein, specifically working on underwear with a focus on reimagining their merchandise overall. I grew immensely in this role, and felt so fortunate to be part of a company that was working globally to reinvigorate and streamline their image.
My work at Calvin Klein caught the eye of the leadership team at Under Armour, a brand that was well-respected particularly in men’s sports apparel. Their executives saw an opportunity to continue to grow men’s underwear while also focusing on building out women’s wear. During my time here, I worked on the development of the iconic Armour bra, as well as the very first pair of performance underwear for women, that ended up being one of top-selling units for the brand – representing a huge milestone in my career overall.
Next, I joined the team at Lululemon, which as a Canadian, as well as an apparel expert enamored with brands that prioritized innovation and quality, was an incredible opportunity for me personally. As the Global VP of Merchandising and Design, I was given the chance to laser focus on creating products that incorporated the most cutting-edge performance fabrics and materials on the market.
And finally, I moved to Los Angeles to join Carbon38, one of the most sought-after e-commerce companies of the moment, with a particular focus on athleisure and women’s performance apparel. In my role as Chief Merchandising Officer, I was able to gain first-hand experience surrounding a direct-to-consumer model, during a time where online shopping was surging among consumers.
As crazy as this might sound, despite being on the forefront of bra innovation and having a seat at the table amongst some of the most renowned bra designers and manufacturers in the world, I felt like my voice as a consumer wasn’t being heard. I’m a 36DDD, and ironically enough, until recently, I’d never found a bra that truly felt like it met my needs. In fact what many people don’t know is that the D+ consumer actually makes up 60%+ of the current female shopping demographic, yet the options available to us are extremely limited and ultimately we’ve been underserved in the market.
Somewhere in the middle of this unbelievable journey, I had an idea, and that idea continued to grow as my experience in the industry continued to broaden. With everything I knew about bra design, production and manufacturing, and after working for some of the most iconic brands in the world – could I take this knowledge and apply it to creating my own product, engineering it for a group of women near and dear to my heart (literally) – the D+ consumer?
And just like that, I decided it was time to officially launch MINDD.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The road is never smooth, I would be worried if it was. I came into a world of fashion that was very established, there are so many processes that were left unchallenged or questioned. I ventured into it with a new perspective, and had so many questions. For example, why were we operating in a 9-season calendar? Why do we go on sale so much? Why are we selling so much at off price? Why are we making this if it is so unattractive?!
I came into a very female-focused industry, and I could not and still cannot understand why there are (and were) so many men who get to vote on a product that is one of the most personal purchases for a woman. It really sparked my desire to start this business, knowing the hardest thing would be creating a high quality bra that extended the sizing to D+.
But every challenge I’ve faced has ultimately been an opportunity for growth and purpose, whether it was leaving the global corporate world to launch my own bra start-up, or solving for the many paint points of the D+ woman in the design of our MINDD bras.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
MINDD is a direct-to-consumer wireless bra company created specifically for the D+ woman. I created MINDD with one driving mission – develop innovative technology specifically addressing the needs of the D+ consumer, and apply it expertly to the design of beautiful, comfortable, and truly supportive bras.
To create our unique design, we drew inspiration from nature, considering animals whose shell or protective structure adapted with their ever-changing shape and size, in addition to exploring various fabrics and textures women wear every day in order to find the ideal possible fit. We developed a patent-pending, proprietary fit technology system called MINDD Tech, which identified seven specific lift zones throughout the design of our bras, ensuring each area naturally adjusts to each users’ body without an underwire.
We launched our first line – The For Life Collection – in February 2019, and will shortly be announcing the launch of additional products, which we’re very excited about. Unlike so many bra options on the market, MINDD bras are built to specifically and comfortably accommodate our ever-changing shape, which can fluctuate on a daily basis for a number of reasons, including stress, menstrual cycle, fatigue, etc. We provide a high-quality, beautiful bra that provides support AND style because we feel our customers shouldn’t have to choose between the two.
What were you like growing up?
I was really self-aware and self-assured. If I was a character in a movie I think I would be Little Miss Sunshine, with this weird but great confidence that came from inside. I was bullied and tormented as a kid, but I just continued to march to the beat of my own drum, which is something I’m grateful for at this stage in my life. Some people peak in high school. I think I will peak at 53! 🙂
- MINDD bras are $68, and available at www.MINDDbra.com. Our current collection is the For Life Collection, which comes in three colors (black, red and champagne), as well as two styles (deep and mid V), each available in a lined or unlined version.
- Website: www.MINDDbra.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @minddbra
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/MINDDBRA