Jun 21, 2023
Joanna Griffiths, CEO of Knix intimate apparel, invites us into her office and shares what it means to be a Big Strong Woman.
Who are the women who inspire you?
I recognize that this will sound like a cheesy answer but the truth is, I am inspired by almost every woman….so much so that we made a big campaign about it called Big Strong Woman. There is so much emphasis on boys being big and strong, but when I reflect on everything that women have to overcome, we are the ones that require strength - mental, emotional, and physical. If you have a moment please watch the video which we made in partnership with our global brand Ambassador Ashley Graham, who is pregnant with her twins in the video and is an absolute rockstar. It’s definitely one to give you the feels.
If you were a color what color would you and why?
Yellow! I’ve come to realize through Knix and the topics that we tackle and the way that we show up as a brand, that I have the ability to shine a light on others and make them feel warm, welcome and energized. Kind of like a dose of vitamin D. It’s one of my favorite things to do and gives me a lot of energy in return. Before I go onstage to speak I always envision the color yellow pouring from my heart and shining onto the audience.
What inspired you to start Knix?
Knix’s first product was period underwear or leakproof underwear. It’s the product that we launched the brand with a little over ten years ago and it’s been so cool to see it become mainstream and adopted by tens of millions of people around the world. I was inspired to create period underwear or leakproof underwear when I first learned that 1 in 3 women leak when they laugh, sneeze, cough, or exercise, and 80% of people who menstruate experience leaks during their period. I felt like there had to be a better way and when one didn’t exist, I created one.
It felt like the opportunity of a lifetime to create a big impact and a brand that celebrated inclusivity and diversity which was very much at odds with the singular view of what beauty was back in 2012.
What has been the proudest moment of your career?
Gah! That is such a hard question as there have been so many great moments that it is hard to pick. I’m going to go with a recent one because it’s fresh. Two weeks ago I got to attend the World EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards in Monaco representing my home country of Canada. It was an amazing experience that I got to share with my parents, my partner, and a few of my teammates. When they called my name to receive the Canada award I was overwhelmed in a way that I didn’t expect. It felt like a win not just for me but for female founders everywhere who are out there trying to believe in themselves, build a business and provide (emotionally and financially) for their families.
There were countless times I was told by investors that my idea for period underwear was “too niche” or they felt it was risky to back a business being run by a mom with three young kids. Winning that award…which we won because of all the hardwork and milestones we’ve passed along the way. It felt so good, and to share it with the people that I love made it feel even better.
What advice would you give to women looking to achieve their career goals?
Change your mindset, change your life. I’ve come to realize that the only thing that has had to keep up with Knix’s growth is me, and to do that, it’s been a lot of personal work. I’ve had to really dig deep into self awareness and work hard on the not-so-pretty areas that needed addressing. If I hadn’t, my success would have been limited.
I’ve had to change my mindset, which first involved believing in myself and what is possible (way easier said than done). It then involved really building up my resiliency muscle so that every piece of feedback and criticism, I could learn and grow from instead of letting it set me back or kicking me into victim/ feel sorry for myself mode. If you want to achieve big things in your life you have to be open to the personal work that goes with it. It’s probably the hardest thing that you will ever do, but it pays off in all parts of your life and is so worth it.
How would you describe your personal style?
Feminine with a bit of an edge. It goes back to my days as a music publicist at Universal Music, which was my first job out of college and when I started caring (more) about how I showed up. I love to feel sexy and feminine, but the edge aspect helps ground it a bit. My favorite looks are the ones where the day/night could take you absolutely anywhere at all, and you will somehow effortlessly fit in.