Souszy launched in April 2019 as a solution to our (Co-Founders, Ebony and Laura) own problem - we couldn't find a g-string that was comfortable and also looked good on! This lead to 2 years of exploring the idea of blurring the underwear drawer lines between casual and sexy underwear and replacing this with a versatile lace panty that can be worn everywhere, every day. We sat down with 'No Normal Girls' to share insights into how we started our underwear line and the learnings we've had so far along the way.
Can you give us a step-by-step as to how Souszy came to be?
Ebony: The idea of Souszy first started in 2016/2017 when I was living in Paris and studying overseas. During my time abroad I realised that something we were lacking back home was a comfortable pair of underwear that looked sexy and empowered us girlies to feel that oomph all day, every day. After speaking to Laura (Co-Founder), we realised this was something we both wanted in our own underwear drawer and we started to develop the idea further.
Laura: The research lead us to the creation of Souszy! The name ‘Souszy’ is a play on words, derived from the home of the inspiration – France and the French word for underwear, sous-vetments.
Sous= under, zy – turns under into undies!
Ebony & I wanted to design a lace panty that not only looked sexy, but was super comfortable so that women wanted to wear their Souszy’s and look good every day.
Before Souszy, did you find it difficult to buy a product that is what Souszy is now?
80% of my underwear drawer before we developed Souszy was cotton undies as the lace underwear I did have was super uncomfortable. And now, both our underwear drawers are all lace thanks to Souszy!
Did you have 2 different types of underwear categories in your intimates draw before Souszy?
Ebony: We totally did! In fact, when we were researching the idea, we noticed that the majority of the girls we spoke to had two different categories in their drawer. Whether it was consciously, or subconsciously, they had everyday ‘underwear’ which was their daily go-to for comfort and ‘lingerie’ which was their go-to if they were going out. Laura and I were the exact same, we would buy nice lingerie but hardly ever wear it because it wasn’t comfortable. Neither of us owned a nice lace pair of panties that were comfortable for your everyday activities and wedgie free!
What strategies did you take to develop the product?
Laura: Once we had identified the type of underwear we wanted to create, we presented our branding concept of ‘Souszy’ to our Dad’s (haha). Although they obviously weren't our target market, we knew they would be brutally honest about what our brand and business idea.
Picture this; two girls and their dad’s sitting at a local bar with underwear samples on the table. Even though our Dad’s know nothing about women’s underwear, they know a lot about business so we were very excited when they thought this crazy idea of ours was definitely worth pursuing.
Ebony: Once we had the design & brand concept together, the first thing we did was search for a manufacturer, which was a very long process!
Initially we wanted to have the product manufactured in Australia (even better in Melbourne), however, we soon realised it was hard to find any local production houses who had the right machine to work with our stretch lace. We began to search offshore and by chance found an Australian owned factory overseas that allowed us to deal personally with their Melbourne base. Once we locked in the manufacturer and team, we looked into different lace compositions, designs and colours. As our panties are dual sizes (X best fits sizes 8-12, and XX best first sizes 14-18) a lot of development was spent around designing the one panty to be able to fit each size.
Laura: In the meantime, while developing the product, we also started brand development and packaging design. To us, the branding and packaging was equally important as the product itself. Focusing on branding before we had finalised the final product helped keep us engaged and enthusiastic about the brand during the 2 year pre-production phase as we were constantly developing new ideas and thinking outside the box.
Did you test samples on others or yourself?
Laura: As a first round, we both tested the samples along with our mums and close friends so that we could get as much honest feedback as possible.
Ebony: Although those close to you can be your toughest critic at times, our mums and close friends also knew how hard we had been working on this project and how much it meant to us. So once we passed that initial pool of people, we hit the streets and got the thoughts and opinions from unbiased women! We were so nervous but it was what we needed and received plenty of validation from our testers that Laura and I weren’t crazy… these undies were comfy!
Were any samples unsuccessful?
Laura: The Souszy design is unique and different from many other underwear designs and the gathering/stitching style is not what most manufacturers are used to doing for other brands. This meant that the initial samples we received were unsuccessful, but we saw improvements every time which kept us positive throughout the process! It made trying the correct, successful sample even more exciting!
And how did you implement the results into new improvements?
Ebony: The main areas that we needed to improve on the original samples was the design of the waistband, which in the first samples was too tight on the hips. Ultimately, we improved this by changing the shape of the band so that it would sit higher on the hips and making sure that the fabric composition has the correct amount of stretch.
Laura: We also wanted to stop the feeling of a G-string ‘cutting in’, so we designed the front and back wider than your usually G-strings with a little more fabric to make it comfortable and breathable.
Why do you think versatile underwear is so important for the modern woman?
Ebony: There is absolutely no reason why underwear must look good or be sexy, I think the gorgeous taco girl says it best ‘Why can’t we have both!’
Laura: Why complicate things! We are too busy to be changing our undies for different outfits or occasions, we have greater things to be doing with our day!
What is your interpretation of your #gotyourback hashtag?
Laura: The #gotyourback hashtag has a double meaning, First and literal meaning is when you wear your Souszy panties, Souszy literally has your backside, making your butt feel comfortable!
Ebony: The second came naturally to Laura and I during our R&D / Networking time when we began really putting ourselves out there. It is a big world and to be honest, a really intimidating industry. Yes, I come across confident and bubbly etc, but to be frank I get scared shitless when it comes to meeting new people or doing something out of routine. Laura and I dealt with this in the funniest way, inspired by superwoman. We channelled this super-panty power into our Souszy's.
I’d call or message before meetings and say ‘Gosh I’m nervous.. but I have my Souszy's on!’ and Laura would say ‘yeah she’s got your back!’. I don’t know how to explain the feeling, but there is something about being comfortable and feeling sexy that makes you feel confident and empowered. It is true what they say, it’s what’s underneath that counts after all!
What / where do you draw inspiration from?
Ebony: Souszy is inspired by the French woman, who is natural, sexy and sophisticated. We also draw inspiration from our travels, the women around us, books, magazines and each other!
Do you have a mentor or influence you look up to? What is it about them that attracts you?
Laura: There are a few! I’ve grown up working in my families business and learning from both mum & dad about business which has been a huge help. They’ve taught me that hard work pays off, to be kind, have a positive attitude and to say yes to opportunities that come my way. My cousin Lauren is also a mentor of mine, I watched Lauren start her own successful business Australian Style Institute from the ground up and it has been so inspiring to see what the business has become today, and how ASI is changing the styling game worldwide. Lauren has been a huge help for both Ebony & I over the years to encourage us to create a business we are passionate about.
Ebony: I agree with everything Laura said above. Additionally, to this, it sounds wild because I am in the fashion industry and Dad is in the recycling, waste and organics industry (or as he would prefer to be called – the Dirt King) my dad is my biggest inspiration. Apart from teaching me to work hard, be a good person, he taught me to discover a common problem and find a solution.
Et voila – Souszy is the answer to a lot of women’s underwear burdens!
The most challenging part about running a business?
Ebony: Agreed! And learning on the job!
I will just add here something we've also found challenging but very rewarding – asking people for help.
Being a pretty stubborn girl, I found this tricky and didn’t want to burden anyone with my business. But what I learnt was this mind-set is wrong and people want to help. Others have been exactly where you are and want to give advice, give you a heads up. It’s not all competitions out there, it can be a very sweet, motivating and encouraging community if you ask the right people for help!
Something that you did for self-care this week?
Laura: I had a short getaway to the beach with my Fiancé and friends for a fun, relaxing weekend away! I also made sure I listened to my alarm so that I could go to gym before work every day.
Ebony: I walk at 5am every morning with my dogs and parents. It is strictly no work time, just silly story time and laughing (at my two dopey boxer dogs!)