Sarah and Rob are firm believers in living life to the fullest and expressing creativity. That’s why in 2020, just weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic, they started their journey to empower people to express themselves through fun, personalized underwear. Suddenly, Rob, the professional engineer, and Sarah, the teacher, were the founders of do+dare undie co. and their entrepreneurial journey began!
This company did not have an easy start, as COVID-19 presented many challenges to their newly founded business, with supply chain issues being a significant one. “[The pandemic] did delay our development, specifically with the elastic band on our underwear. One of our manufacturers here in the Toronto area actually had to switch their entire elastic facility over to elastic for masks, so it impacted us a lot,” Rob explains. Additionally, the pandemic caused additional competition and many businesses turned to e-commerce. Luckily, Sarah and Rob had carved out a niche in the market and were selling a distinctive product. do+dare’s underwear has many unique selling points, including allowing their underwear to be fully personalized and in full colour, made in North America with a high-quality bamboo fabric and packaged sustainably. When customers could finally see these products in person, the variety of use cases and customization benefits were clear to the masses and do+dare was set up for success!
Lifting pandemic-sized restrictions helped, but Covid-related issues were not the only set of challenges Sarah and Rob would face. They found some difficulties with marketing and education, as selling such a unique product can take a lot of explanation! “Underwear is not a new product, everyone knows what it is … however, most people don’t know that personalized underwear is something that even exists”, explains Rob. “So, there is a huge educational component about what we are trying to do.” do+dare’s main values are creativity, fun and empowerment, but some people had a difficult time seeing how these feelings connect to underwear and would not even give Sarah and Rob the chance to explain their product. Enter, Innovation Guelph (IG)!
do + dare undie co. enrolled in the Startup Program at Innovation Guelph and quickly achieved success thanks to the mentorship and networking opportunities offered by the program. Their mentor advised them to focus on their strengths by participating in tradeshows and showcasing their product to potential customers. Directly interacting with potential customers, sharing their story, and allowing them to experience their incredibly soft products is crucial.
Sarah and Rob have expressed that do+dare’s involvement with Innovation Guelph has been greatly beneficial, particularly when they had the opportunity to attend the Ontario Innovation Expo. This event enabled them to connect with potential wholesale clients who were interested in their product, as well as other entrepreneurs who have now become their customers. They also learned an important lesson that many entrepreneurs struggle with – the importance of priority management. Entrepreneurs must wear many hats and many burn out trying to do everything, so Sarah and Rob ask themselves two questions when deciding what to prioritize; “What is the one thing we can do right now to bring in revenue?” and “What will be most impactful today?”
Sarah and Rob have found the secret to managing their priorities with ease, thanks to IG’s Startup Program. This program has helped them prevent burnout and focus on the most important tasks at hand. With renewed creativity and innovation, they are paving the way for sustainable growth in the future. Their goals for do+dare include attending more events and tradeshows, optimizing technology to produce product samples on demand, and enhancing marketing efforts through their online channels. Psssst … stay tuned! They have exciting new customizable options in the works to present to customers!
For aspiring entrepreneurs, Sarah and Rob’s advice is to “keep it simple, keep it fun,” as challenging times are inevitable. This philosophy aligns perfectly with their vision for do+dare; less is more!
Learn more about do+dare here: https://doanddare.co/