Georgia Grace Edwards, Bianca Gonzalez, and Charlotte Massey founded SheFly with the firm belief that everyone deserves to answer nature’s call without baring their bums to mosquitos, cold winds, cactus pricks, or even other people. So these Vermont-based co-founders invented a layerable line of outdoor pants, allowing for a comfortable, safe, and easy way for women to relieve themselves in the outdoors.
It all started when Georgia Grace worked as one of a handful of women glacier guides on the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, Alaska. Spending 8–12 hours a day on the ice, Georgia Grace realized the serious disadvantage she faced when it came to using the bathroom on the glacier. In comparison to the guys, whose flies allowed them to simply turn around to answer nature's call, she was forced to trek across crevasses until she could find privacy, completely remove 3–4 layers in sub-zero temperatures, do her thing, put it all back on, and hike back. It was a waste of time and energy, and it often left her feeling cold for hours after, to the point where she started cutting her water consumption—a story not uncommon among women adventurers in group settings or cold environments.
At that point, Georgia Grace knew this was no longer just a “me problem,” this was a “she problem.” After all, 1 in 3 women have reported having a pee-your-pants accident outside. That’s right. Grown women, peeing their pants (and you can hear more about these stats and the SheFly story by checking out SheFly’s TedX talk). Enter the solution to the pants patriarchy: SheFly.
After a year of pitching, prototyping, patenting, and getting press, the SheFly team was ready to crowdfund. The timing could not have been better as iFundWomen Vermont had just launched in partnership with Governor Phil Scott. iFundWomen is the only crowdfunding ecosystem designed specifically for female entrepreneurs and this local cohort was a unique opportunity for female entrepreneurs to raise capital for their startups and small businesses in the State of Vermont.
Not only was the SheFly team ready to raise money on iFundWomen, but they knew that, in order to successfully bring SheFly to market through a rewards-based crowdfunding campaign, they needed to lean into the expert coaching and community that iFundWomen had to offer. It was no secret that those who take advantage of iFundWomen’s proprietary coaching services raise 22x the crowdfunding industry average. So, Georgia Grace, Bianca and Charlotte invested in dedicated crowdfunding coaching and utilized the iFundWomen Method Playbook to ensure that they were ready to get the $15K they set out to raise.
On March 14, 2019, SheFly launched their iFundWomen Vermont campaign and, as a result of all of their hard work and dedication to doing the crowdfunding prep work, 5 days later, they were funded. At that point, there was no stopping this funding exPEEdition. Georgia Grace and her team decided to introduce a stretch goal of $25K and 5 weeks later, they had raised over $50K (and more than tripled their original goal) to produce their first official line of SheFly hiking pants, with hundreds of pairs pre-sold through their campaign.
SheFly now had the funds needed to manufacture their signature hiking pant in partnership with a fair trade and zero-waste facility, and had also become qualified to participate in the iFundWomen Vermont Pitch Experience - a virtual pitch competition hosted by iFundWomen where entrepreneurs who had reached their crowdfunding goals through the local cohort would have yet another opportunity to infuse more cash into their businesses. Thanks to iFundWomen Vermont sponsors Milk Money VT, The Vermont Women’s Fund, Vermont Works, Mamava and Dagne Dover, there was $3,500 on the line (plus a Dagne Dover backpack - the perfect accessory for an entrepreneur on the go!).
On July 16, 2019, the virtual pitch event took place and SheFly was joined by three other female-led businesses that were funded through the iFundWomen Vermont cohort: StrollRunner (founded by Heather Dalton), Subject Swim (founded by Rachel Moss), and Birdhous (founded by Jes Scribner).
Each founder brought her A-game and pitched to a selection of expert judges from the Vermont area - Meg Smith, Director, Vermont Women’s Fund; Christine Dodson, Co-Founder & COO, Mamava, and Louisa Schibli, Co-Founder, Milk Money VT.
The caliber of pitches heard from the four founders was exceptional and choosing a winner was no easy task for the judges, but in the end there was one company that did an outstanding job at presenting the problem, solution, market opportunity, business model and traction for their product thus far. That company was SheFly!
iFundWomen was thrilled to announce SheFly as the winners of the iFundWomen Vermont Virtual Pitch Experience live on Facebook and Instagram, and we encourage all female entrepreneurs out there, whether you are ideating, prototyping, launching, or pivoting, to take a page from these pee empowered founders - get out there, get coached, and get funded.