Katherine Homuth is the Founder and CEO of Sheertex, the startup behind the world's first pair of unbreakable pantyhose. We invited Katherine to chat brand values, personal sources of inspiration, and how sustainability has shaped her business decisions.
Tell us a bit about yourself, and how/why you started your brand/business? What is your vision, and why is this important to you?
Prior to Sheertex, I founded and sold two businesses; ShopLocket, a pre-order platform, and Female Funders, an online education program for female investors. After working in the tech world for a few years, I became jaded by the fact that so many people and businesses seemed to be making technology for the sake of it, rather than using it to solve real problems.
This made me wonder: why in a world where we can travel to the moon and have self-driving cars, do we not have pantyhose that can last through the day? This motivated me to use my startup and technology background to solve this problem with real science.
My vision is that one day, no one will buy or own disposable tights. Over two billion pairs of pantyhose end up in landfills each year, and our mission is to reduce that number drastically by creating a product that actually lasts, and eventually shifting the way consumers perceive hosiery as a disposable product.
What are your key sources of inspiration as a business owner? What trends, mentors, influences do you look to?
I find that it’s very important to surround yourself with people that you can constantly learn from, and who have expertise in fields that differ from your own. It’s the best way to make sure you have diverse insights and opinions, which is key in coming up with great ideas.
Reading has also been a huge source of inspiration for me as an entrepreneur. Two books that have resonated with me strongly are The Hard Things About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz and Blitzscaling by Chris Yeh & Reid Hoffman. There’s no better way to learn than to dive into the experiences of other successful people—so it’s never a bad idea to read about topics, businesses, or people you are interested in or passionate about.
How do you communicate your values and purpose to your community?
Sheertex’s values and purpose are inherent in what we do. We’re a pantyhose company made by women, for everyone. We value inclusivity and want to empower our customers to feel comfortable and confident, no matter who they are. Our devotion to sustainability is also inherent in the long-lasting product that we make. We’re excited to continue communicating these values through our product, website, social media, branding, and the way we interact with our customers, employees, and community!
Why is sustainability important to you, and how do you reflect this in your business?
We live in a world where conscious consumption has become increasingly important. As the creators behind the world’s strongest pantyhose, we’re on a mission to deliver fashion that lasts, as opposed to the disposable hosiery we’re all too familiar with.
In addition to manufacturing a core product that is much stronger and longer lasting than traditional pantyhose, we recycle materials that don’t make it past quality assurance by turning them into other products. Our Jumbo Scrunchies are currently the first and only product of this kind, but we have many other ideas in the works.
We know that as an e-commerce brand, packaging is such an important part of your overall identity and customer experience. It really is an extension of your brand, and the first thing your customers touch. Tell us a bit about how you made your decision for packaging?
When we were trying to decide what packaging to ship our products in, we wanted to find a sustainable solution that also could deliver that “wow” factor to our customers. noissue compostable mailers were the perfect solution. We’ve seen lots of customers share their unboxing experience with us on social media, and the compostable mailer gets lots of love. We have other packaging elements that aren’t compostable, such as our cardboard tubes that hold our tights, but they are all 100% recyclable.
What is one piece of advice you would pass along to fellow entrepreneurs?
Believe in yourself, and don’t be afraid to fail. Failure teaches you valuable lessons you won’t learn anywhere else, and will only make your success that much more rewarding!
More about Katherine:
Katherine Homuth is the Founder and CEO of Sheertex, the Y Combinator backed startup behind the world's first pair of unbreakable pantyhose - designed and manufactured in Montreal. She is a serial entrepreneur and angel investor. Katherine has founded and sold two businesses; ShopLocket, a pre-order platform, was acquired in 2014 by PCH and Female Funders, an online education program for female investors, acquired by Highline Beta in 2017. She has been named one Forbes Top 30 Under 30, One of the Women to Watch in Wearables, One of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women and One of Flare’s Sixty Under 30.