Way back in August 2013 I interviewed a new kickstarter company from the USA who were introducing a new strapless bra made using technology inspired by the humble gecko. The inventor, Dr Anthony Roy, had the idea after his wife Kellie had problems finding a strapless bra that offered comfort and stability all day, whatever the activity. Thus Kellie K Apparel was born. (To view the original interview, click HERE). Fast forward to January 2015 and I have revisited Kellie K Apparel to find out how they are getting on, how they found the Kickstarter process and to catch up with their personal news. So welcome once again to the blog, Tony and Tara…..
For those new readers of my blog, could you please reintroduce yourselves:
My name is Tony Roy, and I’m a mechanical engineer who has solved his wife’s problem of not being able to find a bra that stays in place and supports her. After finding out many women have this same issue, I decided it would be the basis of a good business, and set-off solving the set of problems starting a new business brings.
My name is Tara Clark, and I’m the customer focused VP of Marketing helping get the word out about our revolutionary strapless bra solution to as many people as possible.
I was fortunate enough to interview you on 28th August 2013 at the start of the kickstarter plan – how nervous were you all at the start? Would you recommend the kickstarter route?
Since the Kickstarter worked for us, I would definitely recommend it! It really was a great way for us to get some essential early feedback, such as sizing and marketing strategy, early on. However, it is NOT free money, and I caution those planning to do a Kickstarter campaign to also be ready to put in a lot of work fulfilling the rewards.
I was feeling a mix of excitement and nervousness. Kickstarter was a new fundraising tool for me. I love a challenge and it proved to be a rewarding one. I have recommended Kickstarter to other small businesses as well as shared some of the things we learned along the way.
Congratulations as 2014 has been quite an eventful year what with the birth of your babies and the growth of Kellie K Apparel. What have been the highlights & lowlights so far?
I’ll start with the lowlights first. They’ve basically been the trial and error it has taken delivering a good product. Our biggest challenge was finding a manufacturer able to make our bras. There have also been several other production issues that anyone would expect to encounter when making a new product. Whilst each issue has been relatively small, they can add up to a lot of frustration.
Fortunately, there have been more highlights than lowlights! The first ones that come to mind are overcoming the aforementioned production issues. Finding solutions to grading, sewing, and packaging have been an amazing relief. Furthermore, feedback from people who have received our bra has been phenomenal. I knew the importance of having a product that, at its fundamental core, did what was promised. I wasn’t sure others would value the importance as well, and the positive reviews we’ve gotten have been a large source of encouragement. One of the best reviews is from a Kickstarter backer who has to wear strapless bras for medical reasons. I’m thrilled at the thought that our team was able to make such a positive impact in someone’s life.
Thanks! Personal highlights have been welcoming my second child. Lowlights, I swear one of my kids is always awake. I miss sleep.
Professionally, highlights has been shipping the bras. Getting to see the bra go from a functional prototype to having a finished product shipped has been very rewarding. Lowlights, as with starting any business we’ve had to stumble before we got things up and running. The trick has been not to let the stumbles keep us down and instead focus on the positive.
I’m loving your new look website – very slick – so what colour bra has been most popular?
During the Kickstarter campaign, beige was the much more popular color by about 3:1. However, I’ve found that men buying a bra for their presumed loved ones tend to buy black bras! I’m glad we have both available and I would love to be able to offer more colors in the future.
Thanks again. The website update was a great way to highlight how far we’ve come.
If you could pick any famous lady to be the “face” of Kellie K Apparel, who do you think would be the epitome of the brand?
She’s not famous, and she’s a bit camera shy, but my wife would be my answer! In all honesty, I’m a bit hesitant for “Kellie K” to have a face, since we really want our bras to be for all women.
If I could pick any famous lady, I’d pick Jessica Simpson. I love her fashion line. She has great personal style and I’m sure she understands the importance of a supportive and comfortable bra.
Early days yet, but any plans for launching other bra colours in 2015?
We have plans for a complete bra redesign in 2015, which will likely include additional colors. We’ll give you more details as it develops.
Like Tony said, we have big plans for 2015 and will be sure to tell you as they’re announced.
You’ve received some lovely testimonials – any stories or feedbacks that have been memorable?
I guess I already mentioned it above in our highlights.
We’ve been lucky to have so many customers share their detailed feedback with us. Hearing how we gave a customer the ability to feel like she looked sexy again was the most memorable. Having recently had a baby I know what it’s like to go from feeling “meh” in your clothes to feeling sexy again.
Although you are based in the USA, you do ship worldwide. Have you any plans to sell your bras via retail outlets in the USA/ Rest of The World or are you solely aiming to keep it online via your website?
The current production costs of the bra require us to be direct sellers, which is why we plan on having a redesign! In the future, we do plan on having retail outlets, and I see no reason why Kellie K shouldn’t be a worldwide phenomenon.
We have free shipping with in the USA and offer expedited shipping or ship worldwide for an additional charge
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list this year?
I got some new shoes a month ago, so unless my wife thinks otherwise, which she probably will, I’ll be set for at least a year!
My new shoe obsession is cute shoes that I put on while holding one child and stay on while I run after the other. Puma Zandy Flat and Puma Women’s Bixley Animal Print Ballet Flat have become my favorites.
Special coupon code for Boots, Shoes and Fashion readers. Save 10% though February 2015 using code: BOOTS10
Thank you very much Tony & Tara for chatting to me again and I’m so glad that things are progressing well for you. So, readers, now’s the time to invest in a bra or two and with the special discount code you’ve no excuse not to treat yourself! As always I’d love to know what you think so don’t be shy and drop me a line or two! Have you had bad experiences with a strapless bra? A gecko inspired bra might be the answer! Do tell!
Photos have been published with kind permission of Kellie K Apparel