Originally posted on Medium. This is part of a 12 month series where Underclub founder, Katie Fritts will be giving a more personal look into the company, our mission, and her story as a female founder.
So many “but(t)s”
I absolutely love hearing from members about how our deliveries make them feel: “I know this sounds silly but getting the monthly surprise feels empowering” or “It feels kind of selfish but it just makes me feel so happy.” After pouring through feedback, I noticed something interesting: by ordering luxury underwear, women were doing something that made themselves happy but also feeling guilty about doing something kind and empowering for themselves. This left me feeling perplexed, frustrated and almost sad. It got me thinking about why is it that when we do something that’s supposed to make us feel good about ourselves, we end up feeling embarrassed or guilty instead. It’s because there’s some part of us that’s telling ourselves we don’t deserve it.
My wish is for every woman to know her self-worth, and to recognize when she isn’t giving herself the credit she deserves. By no means am I saying that if you don’t buy designer underwear, then you don’t love yourself. Our service is one way to show yourself self-love; one way to feel good about yourself. Investing in beautiful underwear can make you feel confident, and confidence is empowering. Just like prepping for a big meeting with a relaxing manicure, or sweating out a stressful day with a SoulCycle class. For me, getting dressed in the morning with intention is “what I do” for myself.
But(t) why Underclub?
The same sentiment in these members’ reviews, that sense of wanting but not deserving, was how I felt before starting Underclub. I’ve always had a passion for building and creating, and I felt painfully trapped in corporate jobs where creativity was not valued. So I broke free from the corporate world to go to business school and change careers… but after two years and $100K+ worth of schooling, networking and interning, I wasn’t sure I had “earned the right” to start a company yet. My inner critic was telling me that if I didn’t have a startup plan that was perfect, then people would judge my decision (and me) as silly or stupid.
I remember the exact moment when a family friend gave me the kick in the butt I needed to start Underclub. When I told him my goal was to start my own company but that first I needed to get more startup experience, he ignored all my requests for startup intros. Instead he advised me to go to the desert and do drugs until I came back with an idea to start a company, and that’s how Underclub began! Just kidding. After 30 minutes of me trying to get startup leads out of him and him suggesting ways to free my inner creative, I told him my idea to fix the terrible experience of buying new underwear, he said, “It’s not a stupid idea, you should do it.”
I knew my idea wasn’t stupid- that wasn’t the problem. The problem was that I thought my idea had to be 100% perfect for me to consider it worthy at all. Fun fact: Men apply to jobs if they think they meet 60% of the qualifications whereas women only apply to jobs if they know they meet 100% of the qualifications.
Most women (myself included) have passed up opportunities or haven’t taken risks because of that inner critic telling us that we don’t deserve something, that we aren’t ready, or that we aren’t good enough yet. For me, that critic feels like guilt, embarrassment or shame. But here’s the thing- whether it’s asking for the job promotion, telling an overbearing friend “no,” or buying yourself really nice underwear, if it’s coming from a good place on the inside, it’s worth doing. We need to make a more conscious choice to invest in ourselves and to quiet that critical voice.
Which brings me to my biggest mission: Underclub represents my desire to build a female-founded and female-focused community that empowers strong, confident women. We’re starting with delivering, joy, comfort and confidence in the form of luxury underwear, because starting your day out with great underwear feels phenomenal. We have literally got your back.