Second Life Podcast: An Entrepreneur on Trading in Corporate PR for Underwear
Welcome to MyDomaine's Second Life podcast, a series spotlighting successful women who've made major career changes—and fearlessly mastered the pivot. Hosted by Hillary Kerr, co-founder and chief innovation officer at MyDomaine's parent company, Clique Brands, each episode will give you a direct line to women who are game changers in their fields. Subscribe to Second Life on iTunes, and stay tuned—we'll be releasing new episodes on Mondays.
Kerry O'Brien never could have anticipated that her career in public relations would lead her to become an underwear designer, but that's exactly what happened. The entrepreneur started out in corporate PR, quickly making her way up the ranks (she was a vice president at just 25 years old). However, when September 11 happened, she felt like she needed a change. She quit her job without a plan, but it wasn't long before she found her next passion: women's underwear.
"Women like to get outfitted but they never think of their underwear," O'Brien tells Hillary Kerr on episode 40 of Second Life. This is the realization that would forever alter the course of O'Brien's career and life. "I realized my nemesis was elastic, so I wanted to make underwear without elastic," she explains. Along with realizing that elastic had to go, the entrepreneur wanted to start Commando to help women feel good.
"It's hard to feel beautiful if you're uncomfortable," she says. "You should love every single thing you put on your body—that includes your undergarments." With that, Commando, O'Brien's seamless intimates brand, was born.
After starting out on her own with just two colors, sizes, and styles, O'Brien has grown the brand to include everything from leggings and tights to bodysuits and pencil skirts. The brand is even in 20 shows during New York Fashion Week each year. Her advice for other people looking to make a change and start their own business? "Be curious. Always look for opportunities, and don't have this vision of yourself that you think you're on this career path and you can't get off from it."
Head to iTunes to subscribe to Second Life and hear the full episode.