Knix Is Really, Actually Listening to How Much You Hate Your Underwear

The research-driven intimates brand wants to put “consumer” back in direct-to-consumer.

Of the 100,000 years that the biologically “modern” human woman has existed, the sports bra has been around for just 45 of them. In 1977, a graduate student named Lisa Lindahl teamed up with Polly Smith, a theater costume designer, to invent the first general exercise bra. Initially, they called it the “jockbra,” because that’s what it was: a bra fastened from two jockstraps sewn together.

Playtex bought the company (which was later renamed “Jogbra”) in 1990. Years of research followed by the late Dr. Christine Haycock, associate professor of surgery at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. That’s when the category really took off, and that wasn’t even three decades ago.

“Brands have been democratized now where you can have women at the helm, making the decisions, being responsible for the whole project. That’s leading to more innovation,” says Joanna Griffiths, founder and CEO of direct-to-consumer intimate apparel brand Knix. “But for a long time, it was just overlooked. And as long as everyone was making the same kind of crappy products, then no one really had to step up their game.”

Griffiths, like Lindhal, came up with her own business model while in graduate school, getting her MBA at a university outside of Paris. Initially, Griffiths aspired to run her own media company. But her trajectory shifted. During an otherwise unassuming conversation with friends, over wine, the idea for Knix — a heavily consumer-centric, research-driven intimates company by women, for women — materialized. Griffiths ran with it.



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