CEO Turned Down Investors Who Remarked on Her Pregnancy, Then Raised $53 Million
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A Toronto CEO made it a point to turn down potential investors for her women's undergarment brand after the investors questioned her pregnancy. The move seemed to have served her well as she still managed to rack up $53 million in capital for the business.
Joanna Griffiths runs the company Knix Wear, a period-proof underwear she launched in 2013. She has seen online sales skyrocket over the last year during the pandemic. In a report by CTVNews, Griffiths explained that because the brand surpassed $100 million in revenue, she and her team decided to expand the company and gather outside investors.
She told the outlet that, while pregnant with twin girls, she began fundraising and decided she'd set clear boundaries. If someone made any negative comments about her pregnancy, she'd refuse to work with them or take their money — no matter how much they offered.
In an Instagram post earlier this month, Griffiths said she "wanted to prove that pregnancy or motherhood doesn’t have to be viewed as some kind of setback."
"I knew it would be hard. I knew that some people would underestimate or overlook me because of it. But I also knew I could do it," she wrote.
"Dream by dream, I have been fortunate enough to build an incredible team and a brand that touches more people than I could have ever imagined and because of that today, we announced our growth equity round as we surpass $100M in annual revenue. I closed the round on March 5th at 4:30 pm on my last day of work— three days before the girls were born."
Of the response to her story, Griffiths told CTVNews that many other female entrepreneurs have been giving her "overwhelming" feedback. She shared that her posts about her journey have exploded on Instagram and LinkedIn, garnering thousands of likes.
"I can't keep up at this point with so many people reaching out and just saying how important it was for them to see this story," Griffiths told the outlet.
All told, Griffiths emphasized that if anyone had anything bad to say about pregnancy, "then they were never going to understand what Knix was about and what we were trying to accomplish and they sure as hell weren't going to be the right partners for me."
"When you're raising money, any amount of money, you know, whether it's $50,000 or it's $50 million," she said. "There's a power dynamic around money, and I think that it often makes people who are asking for it, feel powerless, and so by standing up for myself I was reminding myself that."
Hear, hear, Joanna.