Why This Entrepreneur Is Innovating Traditional Undies Why This Entrepreneur Is Innovating Traditional Undies There are people who accept things as they are, as they “should” be. Then, there are people, like Helya Mohammadian, who not only challenge things as they are, but they also try to add alternatives. Mohammadian is challenging how we look at underwear, starting with women. Before you say that there are plenty of innovators in underwear and that I should know this because I just wrote about one, hold on. First of all, there’s room for more than one innovator per industry. Secondly, Mohammadian found yet another gap that still needed to be filled, and she filled it. Helya Mohammadian “I we wanted to make their lives just a little easier by introducing underwear for women who live life on the go.” – Helya Mohammadian, Founder of Slick Chicks Mohammadian founded Slick Chicks as a solution to a problem that she had, realizing that this problem isn’t unique to her by any means: putting on and removing traditional underwear is inconvenient at best and dangerous at worst. It’s annoying enough for people without physical constraints to do it, but for anyone else, it’s a legitimate safety hazard. And yet, it doesn’t have to be. Putting on Slick Chicks underwear should be familiar because it’s the same process as putting on a bra: simply snap the pieces together. What truly sets Mohammadian apart from other entrepreneurs is that she wasn’t going into the endeavor as a “blissfully ignorant” ingenue; she knew exactly what she was doing every step of the way into scaling her business. Mohammadian used the technical skills she developed while at FIT to create the first prototype of the product. Once she found her manufacturers, which was a time-consuming and arduous process in itself, she knew specifically which questions to ask them. Additionally, knowing her product intimately and having an understanding of the current supply chain proved to be another advantage for Mohammadian, who chose to have a direct-to-consumer business model. As a vertical retailer, she acknowledges that “building an online-only business has cost and distribution advantages, as opposed to brick and mortar,” but Mohammadian would ultimately “like to license and/or create partnerships with larger, well known brands.” www.slickchicksonline.com Beyond the product being innovative, it is empowering. Undergarments are personal. They cover what are known as our “private parts.” That’s why they’re also called “intimates.” Being able to change in and out of said “intimates” should be a “private” moment, and “it is a huge burden on one’s pride when you cannot even change your own intimates.” Slick Chicks further empowers women by working with the Homeless Period Project to support homeless women who are struggling when dealing with menstruation. www.slickchicksonline.com Mohammadian has a point: of the many challenges women – and people, in general – face on a daily basis, changing in and out of underwear shouldn’t be one of them. Can you imagine? Not having to take your tights off to change your underwear? Umm, why would you imagine when so many people loved the solution that they pledged more than Slick Chicks’ goal on Kickstarter? Being able to change in and out of said “intimates” should be a “private” moment, and “it is a huge burden on one’s pride when you cannot even change your own intimates.” (Our Full Interview with Helya Mohammadian is available here) Shannon Matloob Shannon is a contributor at SWAAY. She has a degree in Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University with a passion identifying and researching other women on the path to greatness.