GU alumna to appear on Shark Tank with Boobypack
Have you ever been forced to use your bra as an impromptu purse at a music festival? Tired of having to having no place to put your phone while working on that Yates elliptical? Georgetown alumna and innovator Christina Conrad (COL’11) can relate to these pressing concerns, which is why she has started a business called Boobypack: “the one and only fannypack for your rack”.
In 2013, Conrad set out to “liberate America’s better half from oppressive purse strings once and for all” by launching a Kickstarter Campaign for a crop top with zipper-enclosed, water-resistant pockets on either side. In Feb. 2014, she showcased Boobypack on the Katie Couric show and won a $10,000 prize for female entrepreneurship. Next Friday, her business will be aired on ABC’s Shark Tank.
To learn more about the business, Vox spoke with Conrad about the inspiration behind the Boobypack as well as why women everywhere should own one.
Vox: What were the motivating factors, or what was the defining situation, that inspired the creation of the Boobypack?
Conrad: The moment I decided to make Boobypacks, I was sitting on the floor of my shoebox NYC apartment because there was no room on the couch. There were 5 or 6 friends from high school and Georgetown there hanging out (and drinking wine). A couple of them mentioned that they’d lost or ruined their phones at Ultra Music Festival in Miami because they didn’t want to bring a purse to a crowded music festival. So we started talking about how a bra-bag would solve that issue. Pretty suddenly the name “Boobypack,” came to me and I shot up from the floor, completely elated and crazy looking. My friends told me to sit back down and chill out but for the rest of the night “boobypack- the fannypack for your boobs” is all I could think about. The next day I went into my day job at Time Inc. and during my lunch break started googling how to file for an LLC.
Vox:What are the most important components of the Boobypack design?
Conrad: Well the water-resistant, zipper-enclosed pockets on either side, but that’s a given. Also the double adjustable straps for added support and the removable padding. The first Boobypack we designed for Kickstarter didn’t have the removable padding and as a result there were some nipple showage issues. (.)(.) Overall one of the most important things about the Boobypack is that it’s really flattering. The cut looks good on pretty much everyone.
Vox: Why do you think that this is such a marketable product?
Conrad: Because there’s nothing else like it and it’s a simple solution to a problem most women have– what to do with their stuff when they don’t want to use, lose or ruin a purse. I think it helps that our brand’s voice is a bit silly and tongue-in-cheek. We use a lot of boob puns. I think a lot of people could care less about the stuffy, stilted fashion industry so they respond when a brand doesn’t take themselves too seriously.
Vox: How did you select the name?
Conrad: There were (and still are) a lot of people who told me I should go with a more universal, more serious name. My response to them is look at Chubbies! They sell short shorts to guys and raised $4 million in VC funding last year. They rake in more than that annually and overall they just kill it with their brand’s brotastic voice. I think if you’re going to market your product to people with a sense of humor, why not start with your name–it’s the first thing they’ll hear about you.
Vox: Why did you decide to apply to be on Shark Tank, and what is one of your main business goals you hope to achieve after being on the show?
Conrad: When I applied I honestly thought there was zero chance we were going to make it on the show. Over 50,000 people apply every season and even a Georgetown English major (me) knows those odds aren’t good. We were one of the lucky ones though and we gave it our all. I basically didn’t see a single friend, didn’t drink, hardly slept and was glued to my computer the whole month before taping. The show has 8-9 million viewers every Friday so it’s the kind of publicity a startup like mine rarely (if ever) sees. After our episode airs I hope we’ll keep up momentum and sales so that we can continue to grow our team and expand our product line.