Today we’d like to introduce you to Sheila Attari.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I feel being an entrepreneur is in my blood. I grew up in a family business started by my grandmother in Detroit. I’ve always been involved in business from my first internship in purchasing at General Motors. I was fortunate to receive my MBA from the University of Chicago (Booth) and go on to spend the significant portion of my career in advertising and brand management for world-class consumer goods companies. I learned an incredible amount and when I decided to start SheBird, I had that background as a foundation. Being a brand manager for a large corporation is strangely similar to being a small business owner. You have to be a queen of multi-tasking and your brand becomes your baby – you come to know everything about it, and you strive to grow and nurture it in the right way!
SheBird really came out of deciding to marry my brand experience with my love for clothing and my need to solve a problem I faced and that I knew many other women faced as well – their dislike of wearing a bra! Most days I would stare at my closet and try to figure out what to wear. Thinking the whole time – “why is this so difficult?!” Finally, I figured out there were 4 separate things I was trying to juggle. I wanted to look good, wear cute clothing, be comfortable and I needed the support of a bra. My insight was that dressing was a process:
1. Decide what outfit to wear
2. Find the elusive right bra to work with the top or dress you want wear
3. Pray it would be a “comfortable” bra that you didn’t want to rip off your body the minute you got home
Truth is, I often chose my outfit based on the bra I felt like wearing on a particular day. None of the available bra options worked for me: underwire bras dug in, sports bras over-compressed and adorable bralettes lacked support!!
One morning I finally thought “OMG there has to be a better way!” And that’s when it occurred to me there must be other people who are struggling like me, and that I should and could solve this problem. Why not build a super comfortable, truly supportive bra into modern wardrobe staples to make getting dressed and looking stylish SIMPLE!
So, more than 2 years later with the help of an all-female team, including designer Susie Mecklenburg of Fabletics and Bravo’s “Launch my Line”, we just launched our first two styles in October.
Has it been a smooth road?
I don’t think the entrepreneurial road is every smooth! You have to be a little crazy and be able to put on blinders to focus and solve one problem without getting overwhelmed by how much there is to get done. Our biggest challenges have been in 3 areas: product development, sourcing and trademarking.
Integrating the bra layer into the outer layers of our tops and dresses in an elegant, sleek manner was probably the biggest design challenge. I could visualize what I wanted but to translate that into an actual prototype that fits a range of women shapes and sizes and disappears under the top layer took about 2 years.
Product development for clothing is a very detailed and time intensive process and is completely linked to who will be doing your manufacturing. Finding a manufacturing partner who had our desired level of quality needlework, who could do bonded construction and who could deliver on the tight tolerances you need for a bra that fits like a second skin was difficult. We went through 3 factories in the states before going offshore to get a consistently great product.
Finally, finding our brand name was a big hurdle. We were not short on ideas just short on names that were available to be trademarked. Our original name was Buttercup Bodywear and we did a crowd funding campaign for our beta product in 2018 with this name. I had known Buttercup was not available but felt good about getting approval from the USPTO as “Buttercup Bodywear”. As I came to learn it, “Bodywear” was a descriptive term, and therefore didn’t help us out at all in making the mark more unique and, hence, it was denied for trademark. After trying everything, even approaching the company who held the “Buttercup” trademark to see if we could purchase it, we moved on. We had to restart the naming and branding process in the middle of planning for launch. But I love our new name and we all agree it is much stronger than our previous brand. In hindsight, I’m very thankful it happened this way.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
SheBird’s mission is to embrace innovation and technology to create clothing that brings joy and simplicity to women’s lives. SheBird is for women by women. We make luxe essentials for the modern woman who desires a streamlined closet with versatile, well-made pieces that take you everywhere you want to go. No need to wear a separate bra. We think of SheBird as a life saver, a freedom giver and hopefully, the next superhero of your wardrobe! We are reinventing how women get dressed because, basically every SheBird style is a 2 in 1.
A tee plus a bra. A dress plus a bra. A tank plus a bra. The bra is always built right in.
We are most proud of the fully integrated bra layer we have developed and built into every top, dress or sleepwear style we make. We named it the Ah-mazing Second Skin built-in bra because it truly offers an amazing level of comfort with zero hardware or underwires without sacrificing support, lift and shaping. Our Second Skin bra layers have the added benefit of smoothing your back and eliminating many of the issue’s women have with typical bras. Plus, we’ve put an enormous amount of energy into getting the cut and fabric of our tops and dresses to be super flattering, luxurious, refined and easy to care for.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Yes! I feel that San Diego is very supportive of creative and entrepreneurial people. There are co-working spaces, incubators and accelerator programs right here in San Diego. For example, HeraHub, is co-working space, resource center and accelerator program designed specifically to help women launch new businesses. There are a number of clothing and accessory brands who have their roots in Southern California. The proximity to LA is also great. I wouldn’t necessarily want to live there, but it is great to have quick access to one of the 2 fashion capitals in the states and all of the resources that brings. We have also found great support in the San Diego community. We are doing our first launch event with local business owners, Jean Claude & Alli Aldibs at their new venture ColorCounter, $45 for 45-minute color touch-ups on-demand, at One Paseo. They have been truly excited for our start-up and we really appreciate their support.
- Tanks and Tees from $68 to $88
- Dresses from $98
- Website: www.shebirdshop.com
- Phone: (844) 222-1776
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shebird_shop/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SheBirdShop/