Lisa Hickey wonders how it is that both her daughter and herself are helping to run two totally different start-ups, both by, for and about men.
I’m a tech geek, so I subscribe to TechCrunch; read it religiously. This afternoon, I’m in the grocery story — holding apricots, bananas and some broccoli while waiting for my daughter Allie to run back for the sweet potatoes. And so I did what I always do waiting in line at the grocery store – I checked my email, and when that’s done, I read TechCrunch on my iPhone.
And there, unbeknownst to me is TechCrunch story number 5, an article about the start-up founded by my oldest daughter Kit: With Tech From Space, Ministry of Supply is Building the Next Generation of Dress Shirts.
And OK – this is the Business Ethics section, after all – full disclosure. I am the CEO of Good Men Media and I’m running an article about my daughter (not even my son, although I’ve done that also) – on a website for MEN. If you want to see it as a blatant plug for her company, stop reading now, please, and don’t say you weren’t warned.
But the thing that struck me as so weird — the reason I had to write this – was how did my daughter and I both end up starting companies that are specifically geared towards men? High Tech, VC funded, working 120-hours a week, please pass the engineers type start-ups? And selling not just sort-of-kind-of male-ish products or services, but companies named for what they do — The Good MEN Project and The Ministry of Supply: Reinventing Dress Shirts for MEN? How did we go from – I swear it was just a blink of an eye ago – that Kit and I were sitting around the kitchen table studying pre-calculus. And now we’re talking the language of spreadsheets, distribution ideas, marketing plans — and how to try to capture the attention of pretty much every man in the universe with our ideas.
Both of us love every minute of it. We’re equally enthralled by start-up life. The men we work with, the other leaders and founders, are incredibly smart and driven. Mind-boggling so. Things happen. Shirts get manufactured, websites get built, the nature of dress shirts change, the stereotypes of men change as well.
Here’s what could be considered the blatant promotional part. The nepotism (daughterism?) The requisite excerpt from TechCrunch. But since it’s a product for MEN, perhaps you’all might be interested.
Nobody likes to admit it, but if you’re a working professional, there’s a good chance you’re familiar with sweat stains. The commute to work, the stress of meeting a deadline, the faulty air conditioning in the boardroom, cotton weaves — all of these things and many more have been known to conspire against you, the working professional. Luckily, Ministry of Supply feels your stinky, stinky pain.
While athletes have Under Armour, business attire has more or less remained the same for the last century. So, armed with some of the same technology NASA uses in its space suits, Ministry of Supply has developed a line of dress shirts — called “Apollo” — that adapt to your body to control perspiration, reduce odor, and make you feel like a million bucks.
Founded in 2010 by MIT grads, Gihan Amarasiriwardena, Aman Advani, Kit Hickey, and Kevin Rustagi, Ministry of Supply launched three limited lines of premium dress shirts back in October…The shirts, like Under Armour, also wick sweat and moisture away from your body and, by using an anti-microbial coating, get rid of that pesky bacteria that makes you smell like a barnyard. Not only that, but having done strain analysis and designing the shirt with motion in mind, the Apollo line adapts to your movements and stays tucked in and wrinkle free all the live long day.
In essence, it’s a magic shirt.
If you had asked Kit or I just three years ago if we could ever imagine we’d be where we were today, we’d say, no, never. Suddenly landing in the company of men, quite literally. Like magic. But apparently, it’s just what we do.