When Stella Langat decided to fix an intimate problem affecting Kenyan women, she wasn’t kidding around. A senior at Skidmore College and a native of Kenya, Langat and her team of 3 have set out on a mission to provide quality bras and underwear to Kenya’s largely under serviced female population. Bereft with concern when a family member contracted a mysterious skin infection after wearing a bra purchased through the secondhand market, Langat was determined to provide new and supportive undergarments to her fellow Kenyans. Much of Kenya’s intimates market is either priced out of affordability for most Kenyans, or is supplied by a secondhand market. The quality and health concerns associated with the secondhand market are troubling, as Stella can attest, and virtually no one knows their correct bra size. Many of the higher end stores only carry smaller sizes, forcing many women to eyeball their size or resort to the secondhand market. When high school friends Charity Migwi, Millicent Njoroge and Constance Tipis ran the idea of a quality bra company by Stella, she was eager to hop on board.
What originally started out as a casual proposition has become Double Dees, an entirely student operated, Kenyan company, set out to disrupt the market and put an end to intimates concerns. Now in its second year, Stella and the team have been hard at work securing funding through competitive grants and introducing Double Dees to African women. Recently, they’ve won $20,000 in the Kenneth A. Freirich Business Plan Competition and an additional $2,000 from the Harvard Undergrad Women in Business Innovation competition, which they plan to put towards driving down production costs. They aim to carry larger sizes (32C-56FF) and price their bras at around $12-15, to keep them affordable, while providing the best quality and sizing available. Double Dees is currently working with Asian suppliers to keep costs low, but hopes to move operations to Kenya in the future and provide jobs to Kenyan women. They plan to distribute primarily online, as well as in several established retailers, and a flagship store.
As if Double Dees wasn’t fabulous already, the company also pledges to support the education and accessibility of menstrual products to girls. $1 of every bra sale goes toward assisting efforts to educate girls about their periods and help provide menstrual cups and sanitary towels to girls in need. Double Dees helps combat the lack of resources forcing many girls to miss school days and to empower all women through their mission and products.
Coming up, Double Dee’s is set to launch their cornerstone nude bra in December, and is in designs for a sports bra line for next year. We are certain this company is on a rocket to success and can’t wait for them to make their splash on the market!
“Stand up for what you believe in and network as much as you can. Empowered women contribute to the health and productivity of a whole society and to improved prospects for the next generation.” -Stella Langat