Use high-quality materials ‘down there’. We created Proof with meticulously tested materials to provide high-quality care down there — we don’t use sprayed-on chemical lining to create our leakproof top layer but rely on interwoven leakproof technology to keep the wearer safe.
As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing the founders of proof®, Lori Caden, Jodi Caden, and Kari Caden.
Jodi, Lori, and Kari Caden are the co-founders of Belly Bandit®, a company dedicated to helping women look and feel their absolute best before, during, and after pregnancy. Founded in 2008, Belly Bandit revolutionized the maternity world by introducing the first doctor-recommended, postpartum compression wrap. Since its launch, the company has seen tremendous growth. It has evolved from its signature product, the Belly Bandit® Belly Wrap, and expanded to include maternity wear, nursing bras, athleisure, and a complete line of compression shapewear, the Mother Tucker® Collection. In 2020, the sisterpreneurs launched, proof®, a female empowerment company that delivers meticulously designed and expertly constructed leakproof undies for women ages nine to ninety. With a history of disrupting and revolutionizing the market, the sisters and co-founders of Belly Bandit® and proof® are on a mission to create products that make women’s lives better.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
Our story began in the Target aisle! Lori, who had recently given birth to her first baby, was shopping for cat food when a store employee offered to carry her purchase because “she was so pregnant!” Lori was horrified, and when she shared her experience with us, we were sympathetic but also determined to find a solution to post-pregnancy body blues. After years of research, perseverance, and sisterly support, we launched Belly Bandit®. The concept for our Original Belly Bandit® Belly Wrap came from reinventing and modernizing the ancient practice of postpartum compression, and the rest is history! Similarly, the idea for proof® came after Kari’s pregnancy, when she found that every time she laughed, she leaked! We knew this was a common problem for women, so we decided we needed to create a really, really leakproof solution.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
We launched both of our brands in economic downturns! Belly Bandit was born in 2008, and Proof launched right as the Coronavirus pandemic took hold. Despite those setbacks, we’ve managed to flourish — due in part to the fact that our products are built for a purpose!
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
We’ve definitely had our share of missteps! At the time, they may not have seemed so funny, but in hindsight, we all get a laugh out of our rookie mistakes. When we first launched Belly Bandit, we “forgot” to trademark one of our product names, that was a painful mistake and one we won’t make again! The takeaway is always the same: learn from them and move on.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
As sisters in business, we lean the most on each other! The great thing about working together is always having someone to call to vent and problem solve with. We are always throwing ideas around and balancing each other out.
Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
With Proof, one of our main pillars is sustainability. The proof is a reusable period product, making it a great alternative to single-use plastic menstrual products. Tampons applicators and other menstrual waste take centuries to decompose and often make it to the ocean where they create microplastic waste that harms wildlife. Switching to Proof is a little change that makes a big difference not just for your body, but for the world.
Another aspect we focus on is safety. Because Proof is an external-use product, it lowers the risk of developing Toxic Shock Syndrome, making periods safer and more comfortable.
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.
- Use high-quality materials ‘down there’. We created Proof with meticulously tested materials to provide high-quality care down there — we don’t use sprayed-on chemical lining to create our leakproof top layer but rely on interwoven leakproof technology to keep the wearer safe.
- Get your steps in. We hike together every night, but getting steps throughout the day is a fantastic way to stay healthy. Wearing Proof is super helpful because it can wick away sweat and help keep you dry — making them the perfect gym undies, period undies, and day-to-day pairs.
- Treat yourself. It may seem counterintuitive, but giving yourself a breather can improve your productivity overall and help you to avoid burnout.
- Find your tribe. We’re obsessed with finding your crew — like-minded folks who support your dreams and goals and love you as you are. For us, we’re a crew of sisters, teammates, and friends who lift each other up. Knowing you have people to lean on can improve your mental health and overall wellbeing.
- Get your zzzzz’s. Our Brand Manager, Sarah, is a total sleep zealot — she yells at us if we don’t get at least 8 hours, even in a busy season. Good sleep is so important to good work and helps your mood and energy levels throughout the day. We always recommend the Hipster to women with a heavy flow for overnight period protection to give you the peace of mind you need during the night — no more waking up to change pads or tampons! Your sheets will thank you later.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
When we started Belly Bandit®, we had a very clear purpose, to develop products that empower women to look and feel their absolute best before, during, and after pregnancy. We knew from personal experience that the journey to motherhood and beyond presents unique challenges. We are committed to designing solution-based products to address many of the issues that moms and moms-to-be regularly face. When we launched proof®, our goal was to create panties with a purpose. We constructed leakproof undies for women ages nine to ninety, to cover all bladder leaks from first periods to postpartum to incontinence. Our vision is to continue to innovate and find new ways to support as many women as possible and help them live worry-free!
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
- Know your strengths and hone in on them — you don’t need to be good at everything.
- Know your weaknesses and hire team members who excel in areas where you fall short.
- You’ll hit roadblocks — keep pushing forward one step at a time and you’ll find a solution.
- Make products based on a problem that you can solve and you’ll never be out of business.
- Test, test, and test again. We test all of our products — including once peeing our pants to test Proof’s leakproof capabilities! This is the only way you’ll know that you’re getting it right.
Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
All are really important! With Proof, we really focus on creating a more sustainable period product. When you consider that the average woman experiences menstrual cycles for 39 years, single-use period products can really add up! Between pads, and tampons, and pantyliners for ‘in between’ days, a single period makes a ton of trash. These disposable products may be out of mind once they land in the trash can, but their lifespan far exceeds ours — a single tampon applicator may take over 800 years to decompose! What’s more, these plastics end up in our oceans where they pose a serious threat to wildlife.
We wanted Proof to really (really) work while keeping more single-use plastics out of landfills and oceans. Better for you, better for the environment.
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Thank you for these fantastic insights!