Jaclyn Fu, Cofounder of Pepper
Who are you?
(This is a deep question!) I’m Jaclyn Fu, co-founder of Pepper, a body positive bra company for small-chested women.
Can you tell us the story of your business from idea to where you are now?
Solving this problem was personal for me. Growing up I never found a bra that my body truly fit, and it had an impact on how I viewed body image and beauty standards. On top on this, media and pop culture portrays the women of Victoria’s Secret Angels as what you should aspire to, and it creates an unhealthy disconnect between accepting who you are and trying to reach unrealistic goals.
After time and time again of being disappointed by a bra, I started asking around other women with my same body type about the bras they wear; What I found was that no one was happy with existing options. Mainstream bra companies are designing for a body that many of us don’t have. I shared this idea with my now co-founder Lia Winograd, and we both immediately wanted to solve this problem together. We didn’t have any experience in the fashion industry, so this was all new to us. A year later of learning, testing and often failing, we launched our Kickstarter campaign and successfully raised our initial goal of $10,000 in just 10 hours on the first day. Now, we’re in the process of figuring out how to turn a Kickstarter project into a real business.
What has been your biggest failure or struggle?
The biggest struggle I have is on a daily basis with myself: to show up and be fully present and bring the best version of myself to work every day. Building something from the ground up truly tests your character at every corner, and it can be a challenge sometimes to stay motivated and focused. I’ve already accepted that I’m going to make a lot of mistakes on the entrepreneurial journey, but the biggest struggle has been finding the resilience to meet every mistake and problem head-on with confidence.
And what has been your biggest achievement or success?
I usually don’t focus on one big achievement, but instead celebrate all the little successes and wins along the way. Most recently, felt a huge amount of achievement when Pepper raised 470% of its Kickstarter funding goal in just 13 days because it meant we had the opportunity to truly solve this frustrating problem for so many women.
What’s your must read business book?
Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
Who’s your most inspirational CEO or founder?
Right now I’ve been closely following Sara Blakely to learn more about her humble beginnings starting Spanx, and her Instagram is amazing because she is such a down-to-earth person despite being the youngest self-made female billionaire! There hasn’t been a single founder I’ve met who I didn’t find inspiration from. Everyone has such a unique story about the challenges they had to overcome to get to where they are.
And can you tell us something weird or interesting about yourself?
I’m also a 200-hour certified yoga instructor and teach vinyasa at QiFlow in Denver. I first signed up for yoga teacher training because I had a fear of public speaking and wanted to learn how to “own” a room. I now feel totally comfortable being the only voice speaking in the room for an hour and half!