Exeleon Magazine

Empowering Comfort: The Skanties Revolution

Susie Taafe of Skanties

Founded by Susie Taafe in 2019, Skanties offers a refreshing alternative to traditional, restrictive shapewear.  The company stands out as a revolutionary brand, championing comfort and body positivity.

Susie’s personal struggle with thigh chafing, a common yet often ignored issue, sparked the inception of Skanties. Frustrated with the existing undergarment options that neglected comfort and body positivity, she envisioned a product that would address these gaps. Skanties emerged as a solution, promoting not just physical comfort but also empowering women to embrace their natural beauty.

What according to you makes one transformational? How do you integrate the same thought into your leadership?

A transformational individual is someone who not only envisions change but also acts to actualize it, challenging the status quo and inspiring others to move towards a collective goal. This person sees beyond the present, identifies the potential for improvement, and innovates to bring about a future that others might not yet see.

In my leadership at Skanties, I embody this transformative spirit by actively seeking to revolutionize the way women experience both their bodies and the undergarments they wear. I integrate this by fostering a culture of innovation, inclusivity, and empathy within my team. We don’t just create products; we strive to transform the everyday experience of our customers, inspiring them to love their bodies and feel confident and comfortable. Every design decision, every piece of material chosen, and every message we share is imbued with the intention to empower and uplift, ensuring that our products are not just worn, but experienced.

By nurturing a brand that listens to and acts upon the real concerns of women, we are not only part of the conversation about body positivity, but actively pushing it forward. This commitment to transformation is at the heart of Skanties, driving us to challenge conventional beauty norms and create a world where comfort and confidence are accessible to all.

Talk to us about your growing up years. What is your earliest memory as a leader / entrepreneur that you can remember?

As a child, my first taste of leadership and entrepreneurship came from a simple yet heartfelt project when I was just eight years old. Our neighborhood was full of busy parents, and I noticed they often rushed in the mornings. So, with a child’s eagerness to help and a dash of creativity, I started putting together lunch box kits to sell. It was my own little business, right from our kitchen.

I remember being excited about organizing my order forms and ‘stock’ of sandwiches and healthy snacks, and the joy of handing them over to parents who seemed to have one less thing to worry about. This early adventure wasn’t just about making a few extra pennies for candy. It was about spotting a problem and trying to fix it, even in a small way.

This experience was fun, but it also taught me so much about taking the lead and making decisions. It was fun and serious all at once, and it gave me a glimpse into what I could do when I set my mind to it. These childhood memories of leadership have influenced my journey with Skanties, where I’ve taken those early lessons of caring and solving problems into the heart of my business.

What was the pain point that led to the start of Skanties? Talk to us about how the company is empowering women with body positivity?

The journey to Skanties began with a personal struggle—the discomfort of thigh chafing under skirts and dresses, a problem that many women face but rarely talk about. Beyond the physical discomfort, it was the emotional discomfort that really struck a chord with me. The existing solutions were far from ideal, often involving restrictive, hot, and uncomfortable shapewear that didn’t celebrate women’s natural bodies.

I wanted to create something that would not only solve this issue but also champion the message of body positivity. Skanties was born from the idea that women deserve to feel comfortable and confident in their own skin, without the need for compression or the goal of altering their natural shape. Smooth lines have never felt so great!

At Skanties, we empower women by providing undergarments that celebrate their true forms. We designed Skanties to tackle the physical discomforts of traditional undergarments like muffin tops and digging elastic, panty lines and thigh chafing, and foster a positive body image. More importantly, we integrated an extensive cotton panel to prevent infections – an issue many women face but seldom discuss. Skanties isn’t just about comfort; it’s about empowering women to feel happy and confident in their bodies.

We are empowering women to love their bodies through our inclusive size range and our messaging that focuses on confidence and comfort. By addressing these often-overlooked issues, Skanties stands as an advocate for body positivity, encouraging women to embrace their natural beauty and feel liberated every day.

Since launching the brand in 2019, what has been the overall response from the consumers? What has been the biggest challenge?

Since Skanties’ launch in 2019, the response from consumers has been overwhelmingly positive and truly heartening. Women have reached out to share how Skanties have been game-changers for them, providing comfort and confidence in their daily lives. We’ve heard from customers who tell us that they finally feel seen and considered, with undergarments that cater to their needs without compromising on comfort or style. Essentially, they make them feel AMAZING!

However, the most profound impact has been in the unexpected areas where Skanties has made a difference—supporting women through a variety of medical conditions such as ostomy bags, gynecological surgery recoveries including hysterectomies, IVF/pregnancies/post-natal, and even during significant life transitions such as puberty, menopause, gender affirmation surgeries and HRT. This feedback has been affirming and brought tears to my eyes, showing us that our vision for Skanties aligns with real-world needs.

The biggest challenge we’ve faced is raising awareness about this new category of anti-shapewear. Traditional shapewear has been the norm for so long that introducing an alternative concept requires not just marketing, but education. We’re tackling this by engaging with our community, sharing real stories, and leveraging platforms that resonate with our mission. Our goal is to ensure that every woman who could benefit from Skanties knows that there is an alternative designed with her in mind. Breaking through the noise and reaching potential customers continues to be a focus as we grow and expand our reach.

What does a day in the life of Susie Taaffe look like? How do you ensure work-life balance?

Life at Skanties is dynamic and ever-changing. My days are a juggling act between personal life and the demands of a growing business. With kids’ activities often taking precedence, we’ve cultivated a culture that embraces flexibility. Whether it’s managing international calls with our US team, organizing stock, participating in photoshoots, or simply being there for my children’s milestones, no two days are alike.

The silver lining of the Covid-19 pandemic has been the increased flexibility in how and where we work. I’ve adapted to taking calls at unconventional hours and locations – even during a hairdresser appointment! I am often a guest on podcasts at midnight, 1am, or 2am and regular calls start from 5am or 6am. This works really well as I have often done quite a few hours of work before the kids need help getting ready for school. This adaptability has been crucial in managing the intricate juggle between my personal life and Skanties.

Recognizing the importance of mental well-being, I’ve incorporated a ‘brain break’ into my daily routine, dedicating 30 minutes to guided meditation. This practice, inspired by Tim Ferris’s concept of a midday nap, has been transformative, allowing me to approach each half of the day with renewed vigor.

Looking ahead, what is your vision for Skanties? What are you most excited about?

As we look ahead, my vision for Skanties is one of ‘world body-love domination.’ It’s about creating a global movement that shifts how people perceive and relate to their bodies. Skanties is more than a brand; it’s a tool for transformation – fostering self-confidence, self-love, and body confidence. My commitment to this mission is unwavering, and every step we take towards helping individuals love and celebrate their bodies is a step towards fulfilling this vision.

In summary, the journey of Skanties is more than just the story of a brand. It’s a testament to the power of transformational leadership, the courage to address unspoken pain points, and the unwavering belief in a vision that challenges and reshapes societal norms. As I continue on this path, my focus remains steadfast on empowering individuals, advocating for body positivity, and ultimately, leading a movement that celebrates the beauty of being comfortable in one’s skin.

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