Dying to know how your favorite pairs of Uwila undies came into existence? You're in luck! We had some time to share a few words with our founder, Lisa Mullan, to get a sense of who she is, what she stands for, and what her vision is for Uwila.
After graduating from Cornell University with a degree in Hotel Management and Gerontology, Lisa obtained an MBA in Finance from Columbia Business school. From there, she began her career in the predominately male world of hedge funds, which she worked in for nearly 15 years.
In 2014, Lisa joined Hubspot as Director of Investor Relations to help transition the company from private to public. This lead to a blending of her skills in finance with the world of marketing and online sales, where she realized she could start her own business and utilize all her skills.
In 2016, she moved her position to part-time to found Uwila Warrior, which grew from a side gig to her full time job over time. Today, she works primarily for Uwila Warrior, even as she continues work with Hubspot and gives back with nonprofits including Invest in Girls, Ellevate. She now lives in Boston, MA with her husband and three children.
UW: What was it that inspired you to found Uwila Warrior?
Lisa: I’m a hardworking woman who juggles a ton of stuff—running from the office to the children to the gym to the volunteer work I squeeze into my free time. There’s nothing worse than trying to conquer the world and having to slow down because your underwear is giving you a wedgie. Or, even when you do wear a comfortable pair of undies, you catch a glance of yourself in the bathroom mirror and face the harsh reality that you’re wearing granny pants. Not appealing.
We’ve seen innovation and improvement in most everything ... why was women's underwear stuck in the dark ages?
We’ve seen innovation and improvement in most everything: electric cars, telepresence, artificial intelligence, sweat wicking and technical fabrics, cancer treatments and even apps that let you place a Starbucks order without having to have a single conversation. Even the days of the yellow taxi cabs have given way to Uber. Why was women’s underwear stuck in the dark ages? I decided I had to fix this problem.
UW: We are so glad that you did! Obviously, we love the underwear--but what in the world did that look like logistically? Starting an entire underwear line is no joke!
Lisa: A great thing that happened that helped me do this was one of my closest friends from college... It’s not always what you know (I knew nothing, zero, nada, zilch about the apparel industry) but who you know that can help solve a problem.
[She] and I were roommates in our early years out of college in New York City: I was slugging it out in business school and starting out as an investor during the tech boom of the late ‘90s, while [my roommate] had landed a hot job at a young fashion company...
My background in finance, technology and internet combined with [her] expertise and know-how in fashion to set the stage to tackle the women’s underwear problem.
After almost 15 years at Marc Jacobs, [she] left in 2014. The timing couldn't have been more fortunate. [She] also knew that women’s underwear needed a shot in the arm, and she had the connections to address the issue. My background in finance, technology and internet combined with [my college roommate's] expertise and know-how in fashion to set the stage to tackle the women’s underwear problem.
UW: Impressive! A meeting of the minds (and talents) like that is hard to come by. So since then...what has it looked like? Have you run into any challenges?
Some challenges you might expect, like factories jamming you on pricing in the 11th hour, lace not cooperating with the fabric the way you had anticipated, fabrics shrinking crazy amounts in the dying process. Sometimes final fittings went terribly wrong, costs came out of left field (putting you deeper and deeper into the red); delays, delays, and even more delays (because the lace guy and the silk guy and the jersey gal and the factory gal each have a holiday, or a back ache, or a cigarette break—blah, blah, blah.
Other challenges you wouldn’t expect, like having to rename your company in one weekend because your previous name happened to be the nomenclature of a not-so-stable country’s intelligence agency—oops.
My team, husband, family, friends and coworkers helping to make Uwila a reality have always remind each other of one thing—we are not building this business for the fun, for a hobby, or for the associated glitz and glamor of the fashion world.
We are launching Uwila Warrior so that women can feel as bold and beautiful as they truly are.
We are launching Uwila Warrior so that women can feel as bold and beautiful as they truly are. So they can stop twisting their bodies into painful conventions of today’s lingerie, so that finding underwear that works is not a chore but a joy. That's what really matters.
UW: And with all the hard work you put in...what is it that you want people to take away from Uwila? What is it that matters most to you right now?
We’re not looking to sell you one or two more pairs of underwear that fall into the graveyard of your underwear drawer. Instead we are crafting incredible, beautiful underwear that does not get in the way of all the great things you do every day.
You should care about our brand because we’re designing it not only for you, but also for your girlfriends and sisters, too. This means that you can expect us to continue innovating our line so that searching for the most perfect pair of underwear is not something that any woman will have to worry about again.
Our goal is to get into a long-term relationship where we can take care of your underwear needs and continuously provide you with one pair that works under every outfit. That way, you can keep on keepin’ on conquering the world.
You should care about Uwila because we’re designing it not only for you, but also for your girlfriends and sisters, too.
Organized By: Joanna A.