When Keira Kotler was diagnosed with breast cancer she was unable to find clothing, especially intimate pieces that fit her post-masectomy body. Kotler realized there was a huge gap in the market, not only for women recovering from surgery but also pregnant women and women whose bodies are simply changing with age. She developed her apparel line Everviolet to provide functional and beautiful pieces that would support women through illness, pregnancy, aging and disability. The San Anselmo, California-based entrepreneur has plans to grow her business to be, “The first global adaptive intimate apparel brand,” and is proud to create clothing that is also friendly to the environment.
Kotler’s story, as told to The Story Exchange 1,000+ Stories Project:
What was your reason for starting your business?
Everviolet was born out of my personal experience with breast cancer and my inability to find comfortable, functional and beautiful garments to wear throughout the healing process and beyond. This hole in the market ultimately represented a barrier to healing on emotional and psychological levels The more women I spoke with, the more I realized how universal this issue was. Whether someone was facing an illness, recovering from a pregnancy or simply navigating aging and body changes, 100% of women contacted felt there was no brand to support them. I founded Everviolet with the mission to help women reclaim a sense of self and femininity following change and support all aspects of health and wellness.
How do you define success?
Success to me is about having impact — creating beautiful products that don’t harm the planet and that help enhance the quality of women’s lives. I am honored to be able to do what I do.
Tell us about your biggest success to date
Through years of R&D and wear testing trials, we have created a collection of bras that accommodate all changes women face post breast surgery, thoracic surgery, heart surgery and many other physical challenges. Our most popular bra, the Astrid Bralette, even fits women who are flat or have only one breast. It was my mission to help women of all shapes, sizes and surgical scenarios be able to comfortably wear our garments with or without a prosthetic. Business Insider voted our Astrid Bralette with Lace the “Best Bra Combining Beauty and Comfort for All Surgery Types.”
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
In the face of the pandemic, we were sad to say goodbye to our US supplier, as they closed their business doors. While sad to bid farewell, I also saw this as an opportunity to secure a new supply chain that was better positioned to help us scale. After months of outreach and sampling, I’m happy to say that we have a new partnership with an ethical manufacturer that has greater capacity than our original. We are now getting back in stock in all of our sold out items and rapidly expanding our collection to include larger sizes and more styles to adapt to different physical challenges.
What are your goals for your business?
My goal is 2021-2022 is to scale Everviolet to become the first global adaptive intimate apparel brand to support women through all changes and life transitions. Through an influx of capital, we will be able to expand our product assortment, reach a wider community of women and promote our brand internationally.
What is your biggest tip for other startup entrepreneurs?
Everything will take you twice as long and cost you twice as much money. But if you truly believe in your vision and know there is demand for what you’re offering, you will succeed.
How do you find inspiration on your darkest days?
I remember the women I’m serving and the social mission Everviolet has as a brand. I go back to the core of why I started Everviolet and connect with those who need us most. I have relationships with so many of our customers, and when I lean into them, I am reminded of the greater purpose and impact of what we’re doing.
Who is your most important role model?
My father. A fellow entrepreneur, my father showed me what it was to take risks, believe in one’s vision and seize opportunities when they are presented. I walked alongside him and worked for his company when I was in high school and college, and I always seek his advice when making important decisions. Because of him, I have faith in my abilities and know how to lead a team where everyone has impact. ◼