Sofia Vergara and Renata Black want to empower women via underwear.
The actress and entrepreneur, who are both from Colombia, have partnered to establish EBY, a subscription-based intimate apparel brand slated to go live on Sept. 25. They will donate a portion of sales to the Seven Bar Foundation, which fosters entrepreneurship among underprivileged women via micro financing.
“EBY is a social enterprise,” said Black, who has a background in micro finance, which provides small loans to women. Once they pay back their loans, that money is passed on to other women. “We are all about the empowerment of women and the vehicle is underwear. Ten percent of our proceeds will go toward small loans for women to start their own businesses and come out of poverty.”
Black said she pitched the idea to Vergara, who had an interest in shapewear and lingerie, and she was immediately intrigued. While Vergara serves as an ambassador for a multitude of brands — Ninja, Kmart and Pepsi, for example – this is her first such enterprise.
“When I met Renata she was developing this best-in-class underwear. I tried the product and it was better than any other underwear I’ve had. In our first meeting, Renata talked about exploring a direct-to-consumer, subscription model and I thought that made so much sense,” said Vergara. “Renata also introduced me to micro finance. Micro finance is the most powerful poverty alleviation tool. It is not charity, it is an investment in women. Micro finance is sustainable.”
The seamless underwear, which is made in Sri Lanka, features a technology meant to prevent it from riding or sliding. EBY will sell a thong, brief and cheeky style that runs from XS to L along with a G-string, boyshort and bikini that run from 1X to 4X. The underwear will be priced from $14 to $16. Customers can choose to have underwear delivered on a monthly or quarterly basis and customers can also buy product à la carte. Black said each month they will present a new color or print that’s inspired by the countries they are impacting. In terms of expanding the assortment, Black said they would go in whatever direction their customer dictates.
“We are not chasing trends,” said Black. ”Every month there will be newness, but we are not making more product that people would like to have. It’s product people actually really need.”
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