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Joanna Griffiths: Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur

Joanna Griffiths is a 29-year old female entrepreneur who has spent the past four years working on Knix Wear. Though she’s new to the underwear world, Joanna is a former network television and major-label music company publicist with seven years of marketing, brand and PR experience

Joanna Griffiths is a 29-year old female entrepreneur who has spent the past four years working on Knix Wear. Though she’s new to the underwear world, Joanna is a former network television and major-label music company publicist with seven years of marketing, brand and PR experience.

Knix Wear has already pre-sold more than $31,000 worth of their underwear via crowdfunding site Indiegogo and she has a week left in her campaign to raise $40,000 total for the first production run.

Describe your business in a nutshell.
Knix Wear makes high-tech knickers that perfectly pair high performance fabrics with stylish designs. We’re setting the new standard in women’s underwear by creating underwear with women’s needs in mind. Each pair features our Fresh Fix Technology, which wicks away and absorbs moisture and naturally eliminates odour so women can feel fresh, sexy and confident from morning ’til night. We’ve created three lines to fit every aspect of the modern women’s lifestyle: Knix is our everyday seamless basic line, Knixy is our lace lingerie line, and FitKnix is our athletic line. No matter where your day takes you, Knix Wear has got you covered. 

Why did you start your business, what was the inspiration?
I started my business after putting the concept through test after test and realizing that it truly was a viable business idea that could make a difference in lives of women everywhere. The inspiration for the idea came from a conversation with my mom, who’s a physician, about the physical realities of being a woman. I was shocked to discover that 1 in 3 women experience the occasional light leak (also known as a stress incontinence). I identified a gap in the underwear market and the opportunity to create a solution-based product that women needed. With technological advances it seems like almost everything has evolved – everything but underwear. I saw the opportunity to create underwear that did more. 

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part is the challenge. The fact that every day a new challenge or opportunity presents itself and with those challenges come the chance to learn something new. This is my first entrepreneurial venture and I’m new to the fashion world. The learning curve has been incredibly steep but it has also been incredibly fun. Every night I go to bed having learned something new and that is an amazing feeling. 

Where do you see your business going in five years?
In five years we would like to be the new standard in women’s underwear; have distribution around the world and have strategically extended our product line to provide women with even more great solutions that make every day a little bit easier. Our technology has so many potential applications and we are excited to continue developing great products. 

What does success look like to you?
Success for me means making a difference in the lives of others and doing so with integrity. It’s easy to get to the top by cutting corners or stepping on others. If you can get there in a way in which you maintain your integrity, partnerships and relationships, then you’ve really made it. 

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
I did my MBA last year at a global business school called INSEAD. Every year there is a business venture competition where hundreds of students enter all vying for the top business idea and $20,000 cash. In June of last year, Knix Wear won that competition and it was a huge milestone. It was incredibly encouraging and gratifying to get the feedback (from an all-male judging panel no less) that this was a business worth believing in. 

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
My main piece of advice would be to set tangible goals for yourself and use them as a reminder of what you want to achieve. Every New Year’s Eve my best friend and Knix Wear teammate, Niki, and I set 10 goals that we want to achieve within the year. We write them down on a small piece of paper and keep them in our wallets as an ongoing reminder. Some are career-related, some relationship-related and some are community-related. Even if you don’t meet every single one, it’s a great way to check in with yourself and see what you’ve accomplished and where there is room for improvement. 

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I support CAMH and the Hincks-Dellcrest Foundation, a children’s mental health treatment and research centre in Toronto. Both of these organizations are important to me because mental health issues often get overlooked or brushed aside. Incredible headway has been made to lower the stigma associated with mental health but there is still a lot of work to be done. I’ve been involved with CAMH for a while now and this year I started working with the Hincks-Dellcrest Foundation, who are in desperate need of funding and support. At the moment when a family gains the courage to approach the foundation, wait lists are so long that it can take up to a year to get help. We would never make a child wait a year to fix a broken arm and its unacceptable to have to wait a year to get mental health help. 

What is Notable to you?
Notable to me is when people are willing to challenge the status quo, take a risk and do something different – or do something differently – in order to have a positive impact. 

Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
I’m a BlackBerry user through and through…have been for eight years. 

How do you keep active, energetic, and vibrant?
In general I’m a very excitable, passionate person. Having creative outlets generally helps, as does surrounding myself with positive, supportive people and talking with women about my product. There is nothing more uplifting than to have someone say, “I need your product” or “thank you!” – it really makes it so incredibly easy to stay motivated. That and lots and lots of coffee. 

Notable Life

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