Founder Friday: Making a Difference Through the Female Gaze, with Heidi Zak

Founder Friday: Making a Difference Through the Female Gaze, with Heidi Zak

As a #ByWomenForWomen company, we love celebrating brands that are led by fellow female founders. Our new series, Founder Friday, is a chance to get to know some of these standout women, including our very own Heidi Zak!

In October, we partnered with supermodel and mom, Robyn Lawley, to demand change in how our industry markets to women. We could not allow our daughters to grow up believing that they need to look a certain way to be beautiful based on the advertising they see.

Brands like Victoria’s Secret have relied on male-gaze dominated marketing to tell women, not so subtly, what is the acceptable standard of sexy according to men. Suffice it to say, that perspective isn’t going away any time soon.

ThirdLove is committed to building a bra for every woman, regardless of her shape, size, age, ethnicity, gender identity, or sexual orientation. It was intimidating to take on an entrenched industry player, but I had to speak up for a woman’s right to define herself outside of the male gaze.

Women deserve more from the brands they support. Even in the early stages, ThirdLove was set up to do things differently.

When we shot our “To Each, Her Own” campaign this fall, the entire cast and crew were female. It was a conscious decision on our part because we wanted to highlight women as they are in front of or behind the camera. We knew that a female-centric team would produce content that was in line with our brand and ethos when marketing to women.

This also means shooting lingerie ads differently. Most ads have the models staring you directly in the face in overtly sexy poses, and it’s a little disturbing when you’re trying to shop. Instead of having our models gaze seductively into the camera while they lay in bed, or hug a bunch of other models, we try to show the women with neutral or friendly expressions. She isn’t trying to sell a man the lingerie she is modeling, she is selling it to other women.

The reality is, women don’t wake up and slip into lingerie, they put on their bras and underwear. It isn’t a crazy idea, but other brands continue to stick to the status quo.

These days, women have an abundance of choice when it comes to which brands they support. We’ve made it a priority to give our customers what they want in both product and marketing.

More than ever, people understand that when you spend money, you’re voting with your wallet. Women are expecting more from the brands they support, and it’s up to the lingerie industry to rise to the occasion.