Dear Kate is a line of fashion and function underthings. All of our bottoms come with a built-in stain-releasing lining and a light-as-a-feather leak-resistant layer within a luxurious design that is as comfortable as your favorite pair of undies. I was studying chemical engineering in college when I happened to take an entrepreneurship class. There were three girls and one guy on my team (who was such a good sport about the whole period underwear thing). We started talking about how every girl has a horror story from that time of the month but no one EVER talks about it and more importantly, no one was making better underwear for women. We started to dream of the best underwear ever, the pair that Wonder Women would wear when she was on her period, a pair that we could put on in the morning and feel ready to rock the day no matter what happened.
The goal in the beginning was to develop the ideal pair of underwear for that time of the month and the line has grown to now have fans of all ages who wear Dear Kates everyday. Everyone from high school girls who don’t want to be caught off-guard at school to women on birth control who want to protect against spotting to women who want to prevent bladder “oops” moments when laughing, sneezing, coughing. We’ve been honored to be featured in several publications since launching last December including Fast Company, DailyCandy, NY Magazine’s The Cut, Design Crush, and Bust Magazine, and although most of our sales are through our website, we do work with about 25 independent lingerie boutiques who carry the line.
It took about two years to develop the fabric used in our underwear. The process sometimes felt like it took forever and there were a million road blocks long the way. I’m glad now that we stuck it out. When we first set out to develop a leak-resistant fabric, all the experts told us that we had to use a plastic film laminate. We requested samples with the thinnest possible film laminated to fabric, 5 microns thick, only to discover that a film in underwear feels like a yellow rain slicker on your behind. After that, we were determined to find a solution that didn’t involve a film layer and instead used fabric that was soft, stretchy, and breathable.
Our fabric combination has multiple patents-pending. The inner layers are a microfiber that is stain-releasing and wicking through the use of special finishes similar to those found in sports apparel. They allow the inner layers to dry faster and in case of a mishap during that time of the month, you can toss them in the washing machine without wasting time scrubbing while hand washing. The outer layer has a hydrophobic finish that acts as a barrier to a leak reaching your favorite dress or white pants.
We tested all our fabrics in the lab with water and then sewed and mailed over 200 prototype pairs to women across the country to test in real life. We gave explicit instructions such as how long to wear them, what water temperature to wash them in, and also sent a specific type of laundry detergent for each tester to use. I had a crazy Excel sheet going that tracked all of our samples and tester feedback until we were confident that the final product was a winner.
I buy lingerie for many reasons. To make myself feel better, to learn to enjoy my own body, because it is pretty, because I feel good wearing it, and because I have a certain obsession with anything that close to my skin that looks that damn good.
There is one time of the month though where I feel trapped in my own underwear. All women know this time of the month, where the adhesive from a pad can rip through a pair of delicate underwear or a slightly leaky tampon can dye your racy lacy undies red. Then there is the pain – the gnawing, aching pain that crawls up your body or the fierce fiery lightning bolts.The point is: I don’t feel pretty – and anything pretty I wear either gets ruined or I live in constant paranoia it will be ruined at any moment.
Then, Dear Kate, you entered my life.
A month ago I splurged on a pair of your MS Moxie Hipster undies. Perhaps splurged is not the right word but if you knew me better you would consider it a splurge. You offered me a $10 off coupon and that was indeed bait. I usually only buy lingerie that is at least 30% off.
But you were worth it.
How are Dear Kates saving my day? I joined a Crossfit gym a few months ago. I’m a young mother of two in my early 30’s and I never thought I’d have the common “jumping jack dilemma”. I changed my mind last week when I was doing “double unders” at the gym.
Have you ever heard of a double under? A double under is a exercise done on a jump rope in which the rope makes two passes per jump instead of just one.
I’ve struggled to do more than two in a row for awhile now, so you can imagine how happy I was when I started jumping and did one after another. I set two personal records at the gym that day. One, I did continuous double unders and two, I practically peed my pants doing it. (thank goodness I was in a womens only class with many gals who deal with the same issue).
So, I came home and did lots of different google searches – best underwear for exercising, womens exercise underwear, jump roping underwear, etc. I wasn’t finding anything that seemed to help with my problem. Finally, I googled “underwear for women who leak” and I found you.
I was so thrilled!
My husband and I now refer to my Dear Kates as my “double underWEAR!”
Thank you Dear Kate for saving me any embarrassment at the gym.
Last month I again had my period – except my usual nightmare pain was about twice as bad as usual. My husband had never seen worse in three years. For the first two days I couldn’t even insert the cup and yet you kept me safe. You kept me secure. You kept me feeling pretty while I curled in the fetal position on my bed in nothing but my underwear – your underwear.
I just wanted to let you know how happy I am with the hipsters in medium.
Yesterday was the start of my first period since the new undies arrived, and I found myself saying to my boyfriend, “You know what? It’s the first day of my period and I’m so happy because I’ve got underwear that fits to handle the situation!”
I’ve never greeted the arrival of my monthly cycle with happiness before, but what came out of my mouth showed me (and my boyfriend) what a positive contribution your undies make to my mental state.
Spanx is definitely a role model for us in the solutions undergarment category and for design we love Kate Spade (with a name like that, how could we not?), Bicyclette boutique in Toronto, and Mrs Lilien in sunny Cali. I also get inspiration from friends who are also doing their own thing since running a startup is super hard. Some of the gals I love catching up with and chatting business with are Sierra Barter from PVD Lady Project, Sadie Kurzban from 305 Fitness, Micah Clasper-Torch from City Bird, and Ro McGettigan from Believe I Am.