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Founder Friday: Looking Back on a Year of Growth at ThirdLove, 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!

2018 has been quite a year for ThirdLove. If you had asked me five years ago where ThirdLove would be, I don’t think I could’ve seen how far we would go in such a short time. We’ve seen the growth that all founders dream of. As I take time to reflect on the year, I am amazed at all this team has accomplished, and am excited to see what 2019 has in store.

This May, we moved our growing team to a new office in San Francisco. When we set out to build our stunning new headquarters, we had some big goals. We wanted to create a workspace that inspired teamwork and creativity, something open and inviting where our team could seamlessly connect and collaborate.

This is our sixth office in six years (including our first office in my apartment!). ThirdLove has expanded so quickly that we just keep outgrowing each new space. We needed a place to settle down for a while. It feels like home, but better.

In June, we added 24 new sizes in our 24/7 Perfect Coverage Bra. Our team worked on this initiative for over a year, and we had more than 1.3 million women on the waitlist for these bras.

I’ve always seen ThirdLove’s role as one that serves women. And for us to truly do that, we needed to give women choices. I started the company because I couldn’t find a bra that fit me properly, and I was tired of having bad options. We invented half-cup sizes and carry 74 bra sizes in total, far beyond the industry average of 30 sizes. It is our goal to expand our size offering and style options in the year ahead, so we’re just getting started.

By July, we opened the doors to our brand new customer experience office in Chico, California. We loved Chico and the surrounding community and chose to open our first customer experience office there with 45 Fit Stylists in 2017. Now, we’re over 140 and still growing.

Our Fit Stylists are expertly trained to make what’s traditionally been an awkward experience a comfortable and personal one. It’s not easy to provide bra expertise via phone, chat, email, or text – yet our incredible team manages to service our customers daily without ever compromising quality support or sensitivity.

In September, we launched “To Each, Her Own,” our first national campaign. We flipped the outdated colloquial phrase on its head. I’ve aimed to challenge the status quo since the beginning of ThirdLove, so to me, “To Each, Her Own” represents more than a campaign. It’s a celebration of modern women and a movement in its own right.

The entirely female produced campaign featured real women in various walks of life. We wanted women to look at this brand campaign and see themselves in the women depicted, so we cast a variety of women who represent different ethnicities, different age groups, and different backgrounds. The goal of the campaign was to represent women in a way that feels grounded, relatable, and universally understood.

More recently, we partnered with supermodel and mother Robyn Lawley on a petition challenging Victoria’s Secret to cast more representative models in their annual fashion show. To us, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show represented Victoria’s Secret’s narrow ideas of beauty marketed to men but sold to women in wings.

The brand’s definition of aspirational has always been unrealistic and disappointing, and we refused to allow our daughters to grow up learning that there is only one version of beautiful or sexy. At the peak of it all, I decided to write an open letter to Victoria’s Secret in The New York Times, calling out the appalling comments made by the company’s Chief Marketing Officer and host an Instagram Live discussion with other inspiring women as an alternative to the show’s airing.

This is by no means an exhaustive list — there are so many things I am proud of accomplishing this year. We also launched our most requested collection ever, donated over $4 million worth of bras to partner charities, and rallied behind our Chico teammates who were affected by the wildfires in Northern California.

All that’s to say, I am grateful to lead such a great team, and I look forward to what 2019 will bring.

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