Entrepreneur Series: bumbrella Founder, Tara Gallagher
What was your inspiration for creating Bumbrella?
I graduated from medical school in 1999, but postponed a medical career to focus on raising my three young children. I always maintained a vigilant and passionate interest in medicine. While following medical news, I learned about the increased incidence of women’s health issues associated with the overuse of shape-wear and other tight fitting clothes. This knowledge (coupled with an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction…details below) encouraged me to find a better solution and design a daily wear alternative to help address these health concern and obvious void in the market.
I personally had my “aha moment” while wearing a black dress on a hot, sunny day. Imagine my surprise realizing a black dress was completely transparent in the sunlight…while at a funeral, no less! My embarrassment was on par with those mortifying dreams of standing naked in front of a crowd! If this happened to me, it must be happening to 1000s of other unsuspecting women. Before bumbrella, the only options were outdated “granny slips” and shape-wear, neither of which I found especially appealing. Why not combine the comfort of well-fitting panty with the convenience of an attached mini slip that wouldn’t twist, turn or ride up? Why not design an undergarment solution to address the growing women’s health issues associated with the overuse of compressive undergarments? The result is bumbrella…an umbrella for your bum…an easy-to-wear, modern wardrobe solution. bumbrella creates a sleek look without the squeeze, while encouraging body confidence and promoting better health. Now you can feel naked, without looking naked! The unique bumbrella fills a niche, making dressing a breeze! It’s the perfect problem-solver.
What has been your biggest success or rewarding moment to date?
In Fall 2015, bumbrella was selected as one of 9 finalists for The TODAY Show’s Next Big Thing” contest. Although we didn’t win the ultimate prize, it was such a surreal and pleasant surprise to be selected as a Top 9 finalist from a pool of over 2000 product submissions. It was thrilling because bumbrella had only been on the market for 6 months at that time. I remember my college age daughter saying, “Mom, that percentage of being chosen is even smaller than getting into Yale!”. So, in my daughter’s eyes, I had accomplished something really big.
What keeps you motivated in business, even on the tough days?
The tough days are more frequent than the easy ones, that’s for sure! I face a lot of rejection and a lot of budget constraints. But, in spite of all that, I always seem to find a way to accomplish what I set my mind to. It’s about having perseverance and resilience. I keep forging ahead because in the end whether I succeed or not, I am teaching my kids to work tirelessly and diligently in life to achieve goals. You just have to be able to get up everyday and set small, achievable goals to feel a sense of satisfaction. Eventually, each of these small successes adds up to something much greater.
You never know what opportunities are waiting around the corner!
What are some of the biggest goals you have for your business?
Eventually, I would like to expand my product offerings to include extended sizing so that even more women will be able to enjoy the comfortable coverage of bumbrella. Additionally, I have a few other ideas I hope to develop and bring to market. I plan on doubling the number of retail locations this year. Working with a showroom would be a great way to gain exposure to more retail outlets. My hope is that all women will have a bumbrella in their lingerie drawer in the very near future!
Who has been your biggest cheerleader during your entrepreneurial journey?
My biggest cheerleader during this endeavor (and everything else for that matter!) has been my mom. She has always had an unbelievable faith in my abilities to tackle anything and everything. Her support and encouragement have kept me on track on the very worst days. She holds me accountable for my dreams and doesn’t let me quit when the going gets tough.
Do you wear multiple hats in your business? Which hat do you enjoy the most? The least?
Luckily, I look good in hats, because I certainly wear a lot of them! I outsource some aspects of my business including warehousing/shipping and design work. My primary focus is selling and PR. Prior to starting bumbrella, my only business experience was in advertising/marketing. I worked fora few agencies in the early 90’s before switching my career path to medicine. I have had to to teach myself quite a bit.
I am always asking questions and seeking out experienced people to help guide and direct me which has certainly diverted me from many pitfalls! In high school, our motto was “Learn for Life, not for School”, fortunately I took that to heart.
What is your favorite quote?
“Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance” – Coco Chanel
I have always admired Coco Chanel for her innovative nature. Her style and grace were ahead of her time and timeless. She embodied simple beauty.
What If you can have lunch with any inspirational woman who would it be (alive or deceased)?
What do you love most about having your own business?
The freedom to create and make my own decisions. It’s so rewarding to have an idea and then find a way to bring it to life. It’s like my fourth child. I love being a mother to my three teenagers and now I have a toddler, too!
Don’t forget to check out more about how Tara is changing up the way women wear dresses! Be sure to visit and learn more about her company here!