Jenna Kerner and Jane Fisher wanted to build a bra company that empowers women through thoughtful designs and a fairly-priced product. So when the Los Angeles, California-based duo launched their free home try-on company Harper Wilde they knew the company had to find other ways to support women. They’ve partnered with Glamour Magazine’s The Girl Project, which provides access to education to girls in over 100 countries and donate bras locally – so every woman can feel supported as she takes on the world.
Kerner and Fisher’s story, as told to The Story Exchange 1,000+ Stories Project:
From day one of building Harper Wilde, our mission has been to empower women, lifting up ladies everywhere in every step of their lives. We saw our friends, families, and peers who were strong, empowered women sitting in the boardroom or running around the hospital in scrubs, and it was painfully evident that the market leaders in the intimates and bra space were not supporting these women’s needs, nor were their brands an accurate reflection of the modern woman. Instead, they push a hyper-sexualized agenda, making products for women, yet marketing them to men. We built Harper Wilde to revolutionize the lingerie market and offer these women and girls a brand they are proud to stand behind.
Empowering women is woven into every piece of the company, from our manufacturing partner that empowers the women who make up 75% of its workforce, to our local bra donations and our partnership with Glamour Magazine’s The Girl Project, who provides access to education to girls in over 100 countries.
This business has never been about bras to us. It’s always been about empowering women. We thought, what if we can not only empower the current generation of leading women, but what if we could also build the next generation of leading women?
“We built Harper Wilde to revolutionize the lingerie market and offer these women and girls a brand they are proud to stand behind.”
– Jenna Kerner & Jane Fisher, Founders of Harper Wilde
When we started this adventure we were students, fortunate to be in a position to learn, explore and challenge traditional norms. But we knew there were millions of girls without access to education and we knew that a strong, empowered woman is the product of an educated young girl. In order to realize a future that is female, we need to make a conscious effort to lift up all women everywhere, and encourage other women and men to do the same.
Success to us is making the most of the things that were afforded to me, and finding ways to inspire and lift up others, in the same way others lifted me up along the way.
Our biggest success has been forming such a unique and strong partnership working together. We share such a strong vision for our company and have a healthy balance of collaboration and constructive disagreement. I haven’t witnessed anything quite like it before.
There is no right answer to most decisions we have to make. We often seek advice from mentors, advisors, and experts, and every time we get contradicting opinions. When we first started, this was unnerving and extremely challenges. It meant carving our own path that may be new or different from anything anyone has done or seen before. Now we see that as an exciting opportunity. We’ve learned to trust our instincts and push forward, knowing that regardless of outcome, we’ll have learned something that will make us sharper in the future.
I admire so many different people and I have taken inspiration from so many people, places and things and it is that unique combination that makes me who I am. I’ve never been able to point to one person who is any more a role model to me than any other influence in my life.
I terms of personal situations affecting our business – there have been too many to count. When you’re a founder you live and breathe your company. But the rest of your life doesn’t stop simply because you’re starting a company. I’ve had family members fall ill, I’ve moved myself and my partner across the country, I’ve gone through highs and lows on a personal front in the years since starting this business. I think it’s important to stay in tune with your needs on a personal and professional front and ensure that you’re taking care of yourself so that when it comes time to make difficult business decisions, you’re able to do so with a clear mind.