Breast Implants Left This Founder With Debilitating Symptoms, So She Launched an Intimate-Apparel Line That Goes Beyond Buzzwords

Image credit: courtesy of love, Lexxi

“I love a good challenge,” says Love, Lexxi founder Meg Smith Entrepreneur. “It simply came to our notice then. So if there is something that feels so out of reach, it makes me even more determined to find a way to do it. “

Smith’s Zoom background provides insight into one of the biggest challenges you’ve addressed so far. Behind her, a trio of lace bras hangs under a bouquet of flowers; to his left is a large sewing machine on a shelf. It’s a triumphant painting that captures the spirit of its founder’s journey, which began unintentionally in 2016.

That was the year Smith decided to get breast implants.

Growing up, like many young girls and women of her generation, Smith was bombarded with images of the “perfect” woman: on television, in magazines. As they had done since the dawn of advertising, brands were shamelessly focused on women’s insecurities in the name of profit. Of course, they still do, though often with more subtle tactics for the sake of public relations.

Smith came of age at a time when large breasts were considered the epitome of femininity.

“I was a small-chested athlete, so I never felt super feminine on my skin,” Smith says. “Society put a lot of pressure on the prerequisites to be beautiful, sexy, feminine. So that took its toll. It was an internal struggle. We moved fast to have two babies; my body was transformed even more – [my breasts] basically deflated to nothing “.

Related: The pandemic created a perfect storm for the plastic surgery industry amid the phenomenon of the “zoom boom”

Smith believed that breast implants were the way to resolve her body image struggles, and the many doctors she consulted before the procedure agreed. But things took an unexpected and terrifying turn after surgery. About three months after the operation, Smith began to experience a number of debilitating symptoms: vision problems, speech problems, brain fog, and, over the course of four years, Graves’ disease, thyroid problems, and blocked joints. Doctors could not find out what was going on.

Finally, Smith learned about breast implants, a problem that was little known or understood at the time, and clicked: His new body was the cause of his suffering. “I literally felt like I was dying,” Smith says. “That’s when I realized what was most important in my life: I was looking at my two daughters, living and loving.”

So in the fall of 2020, Smith had her implants removed and began looking for a bra that would make her feel comfortable. i beautiful. But the process was not as simple as she had hoped. He encountered the same problem in countless brands: if a bra was comfortable, it was not beautiful or inspired much body confidence.

Then, in the middle of the night, Smith woke up with an epiphany: she was going to create what was missing: a gorgeous AA-C size bra that felt as amazing as it looked.

“Every little bit of new knowledge kept feeding me”

Smith started from the first place. Although she had owned a marketing and branding agency for six years, she had no experience building a fashion brand from scratch. Fortunately, this marketing experience and love of a good challenge were all I needed to get started.

“My training in marketing obviously played an important role because I was able to immerse myself in intensive market research,” says Smith. “I did focus groups. I am part of many private communities of over 500,000 women, which is essentially the demographic goal of what I have created. And it was just validation after validation. “

Smith also had a mission to learn as much as he could about the business. “I’ve just spent endless hours learning,” he says, “self-teaching, whether it’s through podcasts, books, or webinars. every day, every little bit of new knowledge kept feeding me. Knowledge is power. “

But Smith was entering a notoriously harsh industry. Not only did she have to find a factory willing to work with her and top-notch technical designers, but she also had to learn how to introduce herself. Fortunately, he began to establish these critical connections and his business continued to gain momentum. “Once you get into that bubble, [the network] “The road was just a bit paved; everyone has been believing in what we’re building.”

Overwhelming support has helped Love, Lexxi find success, but the product development journey still made Smith some curved balls along the way. “Working with prototypes and getting them into the right models to really design something that solves a problem was incredibly difficult,” says Smith. Smith thought it would take two or three prototypes to get the right product, but they actually needed five or six.

But two years later, the design is exactly where Smith had imagined it would be that 2020 night.

Related: Why lifelong learning is critical for entrepreneurs and their teams

Image credit: courtesy of love, Lexxi

“Many companies are developing because we have insecurities”

When Smith underwent breast implant surgery in 2016, social media was going as strong as ever, with Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and more on the scene. The platforms not only maintained the natural human inclination to compare with another, but also began to serve more and more as main scenarios for some brands to take advantage of these insecurities and increase sales.

“If we all had confidence in ourselves and we all felt good about our skin, there wouldn’t be many companies today,” says Smith. “They thrive because we have these insecurities, that’s how they make money. They’re focusing on these insecurities and intensifying them to make you feel like they can solve them or make you feel better.”

A couple of years later, the TikTok video-centric platform would also be available worldwide, and ultimately skyrocketed in popularity during pandemic-induced blockchains, bringing a number of new advertising opportunities, especially in form of influencers. Naturally, some of this same comparative toxicity remains and has continued to evolve.

“There are still a lot of problems with social media,” says Smith, citing filters that allow users to alter their image in photos and videos. But the key is to find the social media accounts that serve you, says Smith. Basically, follow the ones that help you feel good about yourself and stop following the ones that don’t. “It sounds very simple,” he admits, “but frankly, it’s about being very aware of what you’re exposing yourself to in the networks.”

Smith has also noticed some positive changes rooted in the social media marketing landscape. “I think we’ve come a long way,” he says. “So social media is great in the sense that there are a lot of amazing positive influencers who talk about body confidence, all sizes are precious. And I think there’s that opportunity. And without these platforms to amplify that, it would be more difficult to access such positive messages “.

Related: 14 inspirational influencers you should follow on Instagram

But Smith is well aware of the reality that for some companies, promoting body positivity is just another empty marketing ploy. “Especially today, there’s a lot of marketing and a lot of advertising that takes a lot of these buzzwords, either ’empowerment’ or ‘body confidence’, and tries to incorporate them into your messages, just to be relevant.” she. he says.

For Smith, creating a brand that truly embodies these values ​​is paramount. “With Love, Lexxi is deeply rooted in everything we do,” says Smith. “Yes, we were able to design and design and build bras that really solve a problem and are beautiful and comfortable, so that’s one thing, but the root of what we’re doing is inspiring confidence in the body. I want to impact the life of women beyond our collection “.

To that end, Love, Lexxi is making its community a priority: the company considers it an arm of the team and believes it should have voting rights to help the brand make decisions as it expands its reach. lesson. In addition, Love, Lexxi has partnered with public speakers and positive influencers for the body who continue to promote body confidence through virtual events. Smith knows from experience how important the consistent message of the positive body is and wants to close some of the false assumptions about what it means to have confidence in the skin.

“[Body confidence] it’s one of those things that is very much about aspirations: people think you can just get it and keep it and have it, ”Smith explains.“ But it’s something that’s working in progress. It’s something I compare to a relationship: you don’t necessarily feel the butterflies every day. “

Lexxi’s love, brand, and symbol, a series of intertwined hearts, serve as additional reminders of the company’s values. “Butterflies symbolize trust, beauty, and love,” Smith says. “And the largest, possibly most beautiful, butterfly in the world is Queen Alexandra.” Taking the nickname “Lexxi” from this royal title, the company closes with “Love” because its underwear has to be just that: love letters on women’s bodies.

Related: what you can learn from the brand ‘Glamor’s’, Amy Schumer, the ‘Plus Size’ badge

Image credit: courtesy of love, Lexxi

“I only have scars left, but I love my body”

As Smith looks to Love, Lexxi’s future, he hopes the brand will continue to be a brand that customers can trust and who can offer comfort and confidence to the AA-C community. “I really want there to be brand awareness,” he says. “And I really want women to say Love, Lexxi has changed my life. Love, Lexxi makes me feel good, not just when I wear it, but every day. Having that kind of feedback for me is a success – knowing that I’m affecting women’s lives. That’s all that matters to me. “

Right now, the Lexxi Love community extends beyond the U.S. to Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, and Smith hopes to continue expanding the brand’s international presence to help women around the world access the type of underwear that makes them feel comfortable and confident.

It may be difficult for a startup to achieve global expansion, Smith readily admits, but is full of optimism and acknowledges Spanx founder Sara Blakely, in part, for showing women entrepreneurs what is possible when they are not afraid to ‘risk. “It has given us hope,” Smith says. “I remember stories of her with her red backpack: she would walk into Nordstrom’s or one of those department stores and put marketing material on the shelves of the register. Seeing how she’s been able to build her business has inspired me and me. she has made it clear that if she can do it, I can do it. “

Related: 9 inspirational quotes from the multimillionaire and founder of Spanx Sara Blakely

Smith also cites his united family as a source of inspiration. “They’re a big part of that,” he says. “Reminding me that I believe in myself is something I would pursue independently, but knowing that I have this amazing support is priceless.”

Smith stresses how important it is for all women aspiring founders to believe in themselves, whether they have this input support or not. “Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t achieve your wildest dreams, first and foremost,” he says. “And be comfortable receiving a no for an answer, but keep it up.”

It is a mentality that has already taken the founder further than she would have imagined just a few years ago, as she has grown a new appreciation for her body along with a brand that helps other women do the same, increasing confidence in insecurity. .

“I just have scars left, really,” Smith says. “But I love my body.”

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