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Diary of a product launch

The Hive and The Grommet recently held a 10-team product competition at Fenway Park called Product Pitch. The winner was THINX, where fashion and technology intersect to solve a global problem. Follow the progress of the official product launch through this diary with THINX, Daily Grommet, and Boston.com.
Finding the right advisors when launching a company:

July 26, 2013

Many early-stage companies decide to go with assembling a board right from the start. For the THINX team, we decided to start with an unofficial group of people who are a part of what we call our "THINX TANK". These people are strategic advisors but we don’t hold them in any official manner as of yet. We think that waiting to create an official “board” is the right decision for us as we are still in the early stages of our business. Our focus now is to get as much advice from as many smart industry leaders as possible.

In the past few years, we’ve made crucial connections and received in-depth advice from former CEO of Calvin Klein, Bruce Klatsky; Best Selling Author and Marketing Guru, Seth Godin; Market Editor at Vogue Magazine, Meredith Melling Burke; product launch genius, Sonny Shar of Pentland; and CEO of Zappos.com, Tony Hsieh who is also the creator of the Downtown Project of Vegas. Jules Pieri, Co-Founder and CEO of The Grommet as well as her entire Discovery team are also providing strategic advice and assistance as prepare to launch on The Grommet this fall. We call on this group including The Grommet when we need great, strategic advice.

How did we make these connections and what advice do we have on building the right relationships? Start connecting with those who you already know. If you don’t know anyone in the industry you’re breaking into, start getting to know people who know others. Help them in ways that you can and they will pay it forward when the time comes.

We chose to tap these great business minds because they have years upon years of experience where they've "seen it all" and can advise on how to overcome obstacles. We know this list includes some big names, but it’s important to know that many people are hugely influential to us who aren’t quite as well known. You don’t need to know people who are hugely influential in order to succeed. Often times it’s the people behind the big wigs who have the knowledge and expertise. Don’t discount them.

When asked what type of advice we would give to future entrepreneurs who are looking for the best advisors, we would first say to find those who are experts in their field. Don't ask them to be an advisor right away. Begin the relationship by asking for 5-10 minutes of their time to chat informationally. More than likely, if they like you, they will give you more than 10 minutes. Get your foot in the door with the best possible people and then give them all of the energy you have! Do as much research as you can beforehand on their backgrounds, companies and successes. We are still learning as we go. If you are interested in learning more about THINX or our “THINX TANK” please contact us at info@shethinx.com.
The THINX crew sets up shop at this year's MassChallenge. The THINX crew sets up shop at this year's MassChallenge.
THINX update from the front lines at MassChallenge

July 15, 2013

The THINX team is so excited to be in Boston this summer as we become a part of the biggest startup accelerator in the world. On Tuesday, June 25th, 128 teams converged on Boston from around the world to start things off with a bang at "Boot Camp."

Looking around at the other teams and their inspiring projects, we’re in awe of this talented group who, just like us, are working hard to fix problems around the world.

Days have been filled with interesting discussions, listening to pitches and further refining our company's value proposition. The "why," "how," and "what" needs to come across succinctly and clearly!

It was particularly interesting to learn how much information people lose when listening to someone else pitch their idea! If it can't be said in one minute flat, it hasn’t been distilled enough.

We still get comments about our video because of how clear and engaging the story is, albeit longer than a minute. But trust us - it took a lot of time to create!

We’ve also been spending our time attending live presentations, even one with TEDx Boston! Yet, even though we’ve been busy with interactive sessions and events, we’ve had our heads down at our computers much of the time, too. Thankfully, we have a good view of the beautiful Boston waterfront!

Interested in visiting or introducing yourself? We'd love to hear from you. Email us at: info@shethinx.com.

Here's to an awesome MassChallenge year for everyone involved! Stay tuned for more in the coming weeks.
The crew at THINX and The Grommet discuss the Product Pitch winner's strategy in launching their line of innovative underwear. The crew at THINX and The Grommet discuss the Product Pitch winner's strategy in launching their line of innovative underwear.
THINX visits The Grommet headquarters for lesson in product launch

June 28, 2013

This past March, The Grommet awarded the grand prize of their Product Pitch Event to THINX - three feisty, female entrepreneurs who are solving a taboo issue for 2 billion women and girls around world via an innovative product here in the U.S. and a strategic partnership overseas. They've created a beautiful line of patent-pending, leak and stain resistant underwear called THINX that will provide extra protection during a female's monthly cycle. To solve the issue of girls in the developing world missing up to a week of school every month just because of this natural cycle, for every pair purchased, seven washable, reusable pads will be made readily available at a subsidized cost via their Uganda-based partner AFRIPads, while also helping create local jobs.

As part of the top honor, THINX receives crucial consultative advice from The Grommet as they prepare for product launch. Last week, the THINX team visited the new Grommet offices while they in Boston for the MassChallenge bootcamp.

Around 9:00 a.m. in the office on a hot Wednesday morning, the girls were gathered by the kitchen table, deep in conversation with Jules Pieri, Founder and CEO of The Grommet. They discussed products, marketing, and everything in between. As they pulled out samples of different THINX prototypes, the small gathering of women around the table grew larger. Soon, the excited chatter of The Grommet's female employees filled the kitchen with opinions on the underwear.

“There’s so much that goes into launching a product. It’s like the olympics of business” says Joanne Domeniconi, The Grommet Co-Founder and Chief of Discovery.

The conversations around the trials and triumphs that THINX has been through were nothing new to Joanne and the Discovery team. They were able to answer key questions and provide critical feedback to THINX. For instance, THINX asked how much coverage should the underwear provide and still look “sexy”? What is an appropriate price for the product? Should they be sold as single sets or in packs of 3? The Grommet's experience in product launches has become a big help for the THINX team.

“Our morning at The Grommet was an invaluable use of our time. The suggestions and feedback that Jules and Joanne were able to provide not only boosted our confidence in our approach, but calmed any concerns we had about the process,” said Antonia Dunbar, Co-Founder and COO of THINX.

Look out for more news soon as well as a THINX launch on The Grommet this fall.
May 29, 2013

MassChallenge chooses Thinx as one of 128 finalists!

The Thinx team recently got word that we’ve been selected as one of the 128 finalists for the MassChallenge Accelerator program this year! We’re honored to be chosen by this expert panel of judges and to be selected among a group of stellar startup companies. We’re looking forward to spending the summer working with and learning from some of the top mentors and startup executives in the world and are incredibly grateful for the opportunity.

Their website reads: "The 361 MassChallenge alumni have collectively raised over $362M in outside funding, generated $95M in revenue, and created 2,900 jobs as of October 2012." And to think that $1MM in funding will be awarded from this competition to 10-20 winning companies is incredibly inspiring. Our team recognizes that this opportunity helps us further our dual mission here and in the developing world, and we are excited to bring our innovative underwear product to market while engaged in the rigors of the challenge. We have a big journey ahead and this chapter couldn't come at a better time.

Now it’s time to get ready for Boston come June and the schedule is jam-packed right through October. Starting with the bootcamp all the way through the awards ceremony, we can’t wait to experience every minute of the ride. Check out the details here and we look forward to seeing everyone in Boston! Here's to another home run.
May 16, 2013

Grommet Product Pitch competition winner Thinx was recently honored at the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards in New York City for their work in creating leak and stain - resistant underwear for women in addition to their social mission of providing washable, reusable cloth pads for girls throughout the developing world.

The awards “celebrate those whose ideas have broken the mold to create significant impact”, according to Disruptive Innovation founders Clayton M. Christensen of Harvard Business School and Craig Hatkoff of the Tribeca Film Festival. Thinx was honored among a select group of well-known, and also newly-discovered artists, educators and creators.

With this award in hand, they join the ranks of new “disruptive” innovators such as Morgan Spurlock of Supersize me, Ben Kauffman of Quirky, Aaron Peckham of Urban Dictionary and PSY, famous South Korean artist best known for his pop hit, Gangham Style.

During their acceptance speech, co-founders Radha and Miki Agrawal and Antonia Dubar spoke passionately about their desire to change the culture of menstruation and to make it something everyone can easily discuss. “If we can talk about it openly, we can finally do something about it,” said the women.

Immediately following the ceremony, break-out sessions were held on issues ranging from technology to disruptive business models. The three Thinx founders, along with Kym and Alexis McClay of Naven, led a session called “The Role of Culture and Identity in Global Healthcare Innovation.” A thoughtful discussion ensued moderated by Chris Fabian, head of the UNICEF Innovation Unit and one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People.

Thinx will launch on The Grommet early this summer. Their launch journey will continue to be documented here on Boston.com and The Grommet’s blog.
May 3, 2013

Get to know us better on this week's conversation series with eco-model and sustainable design authority, Summer Raynes Oakes! Summer recently launched a video series to cover topics that matter most to her and the world.

We were fortunate enough to be invited onto her show to discuss THINX, how we got the idea for our business, and our plans to build it further.

In typical girl-talk style, there were funny moments as we spoke candidly about important issues and plans we have in store for THINX.

We can't wait to spread the word on our mission further and we think this opportunity is the perfect way. Check it out and tell us what you think.
April 25, 2013
By Miki Agrawal, THINX


Another media milestone by the THINX team!

Our team has been lucky enough to grace the pages of publications like Fast Company and the Boston Globe within the last year. We know that not all startups have these opportunities and we feel especially blessed. Earlier this month, we made another media breakthrough. I was given the opportunity to participate in a question and answer on the Huffington Post blog. My piece was included in a section titled “What is Working Spotlight”, a column focusing on small business successes.

For a young company, trying to spread the word as far and wide as possible, this is a big win. When Huffington Post got in touch with me about the opportunity, I immediately screamed yes! Oh, and not only did this piece get promoted by Huffington Post, but Arianna Huffington herself gave us a shout out! We still can’t believe it. It’s amazing to know that our mission is resonating with so many influential people around the world.

This piece doesn’t just give me the opportunity to promote THINX however, and that’s important to note. I took the opportunity to focus on a larger mission. I want to encourage more female entrepreneurs, young or old, rich or poor to get out there and start a business. I truly believe that women in the workforce and those who can gain skills in entrepreneurship will change the landscape of the developing world. THINX will be instrumental in helping women have the right resources to stay competitive with men in the workplace.

You may be thinking, “You are so young, what advice can you girls give about starting a business”? Well, a lot, and we feel compelled to share our knowledge. In fact, I’m publishing a book this August titled “Do Cool Sh*t”, a Harper Collins publication. It’s all about finding your passion in life and going for it. I can’t wait to see other’s reading it and benefiting from my experience. To read more about my book, check out my website: www.mikiagrawal.com.

After I spent so much time thinking about advice for others, The Grommet and Boston.com actually turned the tables on me. They asked which female entrepreneur I would choose to have lunch with, given the chance. Wow, good question I thought! The answer is Sarah Blakely, founder of Spanx! She is kicking ass in business and did it all on her own! I could learn a lot from her.

Stay tuned for our next installment!
April 9, 2013

Good news from the THINX team!

We recently found out that we’re going to be honored with "The Disruptive Innovations Award" by Tribeca Film Festival (winners last year were the founders of Kickstarter and The Square so that's pretty cool!) The co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival, Craig Hatkoff, had heard of us through the owners of the clothing brand Naven. Upon learning more about what we are doing, he and the Tribeca Film Festival decided to honor us for our work.

We are thrilled!! We had definitely heard of the award before, yet when told we would be winners this year, we actually couldn't believe it!

We’re ECSTATIC because it very much legitimizes what we are doing. It's making a difficult subject of menstruation management accessible to people in conversations. Many non-profit groups who focus on this haven’t been able to bridge the gap of making it a "consumer friendly" topic. We feel that we are truly breaking a big mental block against talking about this "taboo" subject.

It's 2013 and women should be able to talk about this issue. It’s kind of like how the condom industry began. It started off as extremely taboo but condoms brought the concept of "SAFE SEX" to light which is what finally made it tolerable enough for discussion. A much-needed discussion in order to educate people properly. Our hope is that our topic of menstruation takes the same route and is able to be freely discussed soon.

Craig also told us that Marni Sommers, one of the world's leading experts on female adolescent issues in the developing world, would like to become an advisor for THINX. We are welcoming her with open arms!

More updates soon from the THINX team.
April 1, 2013, from THINX

The THINX team was created and co-founded by three entrepreneurial friends who wanted to help change the world. We're best buds and business partners.

On Tuesday, March 19th, we were invited to participate in Daily Grommet's From Home Plate to a Home Run product pitch event and we won first place! It was a fabulous day where we gained valuable feedback from experts, got some great press attention and even had some fun. We made new friends and connections we won't forget. It was exhilarating and a bit exhausting. We hopped on a train back to NYC that night yet we didn't rest much. We had to get right to work on our Indiegogo campaign! Our campaign is now live and we're asking for the public's help in reaching our goal of $10,000 by May 1st. Can you help us? As you can see, we like to keep busy.

Fast forward to April. Today the THINX team took a break from changing the world with their innovative underwear to attend the Easter Egg Roll at the White House. We're a team, and that means we support each other's ventures outside of THINX too. Our loyal member, Radha Agrawal, has created a company to inspire kids to eat healthier. A Super Powered Veggies company called Super Sprowtz - and their veggie heroes performed live just moments before President Obama on the same stage. The show of course included the Super Sprowtz Dance Trick because as the First Lady Michelle Obama says "Let's Move!"

- More updates from the THINX team soon!

FROM THE GLOBE LAB

Thinx team member Antonia Dunbar talks with Boston.com and Daily Grommet about their innovative product.

FROM FENWAY PARK

Product Pitch video recap

Product Pitch video recap

Did you miss the excellent event at Fenway Park? You can watch the competition in its entirety with interviews and behind-the-scenes videos with each competitor.
About THINX ... - from Kickstarter.com
Identical twin sisters Miki and Radha Agrawal, and their best girlfriend Antonia Dunbar, are entrepreneurs with a passion for creating disruptive companies with a social purpose. Together, they formed THINX in an effort to offer a much-needed solution for women and girls around the world. Their revolutionary underwear that is leak-resistant and stain-releasing won top honors in the Product Pitch, a 10-team product competition at Fenway Park. This blog will follow the process of the official product launch on Daily Grommet and Boston.com.