What do you get when you combine an inventive product designer, a website designed to support up-and-coming creative projects, cycling, and a gap in the market?
We spoke to the women behind the idea, designer Christiana Guzman, to get the lowdown on why she decided to create her own padded cycling underwear, and the response she's had.
I am Texas born and Tucson (Arizona) raised. I studied Product Design at Arizona State University from 2004-2009. As a kid, I used to ride around the neighbourhood with my friends, and in college I rode my beach cruiser to class.
I got my first road bike a couple of years ago and have since fallen in love with it. I ride casually around town, as well as on a small amateur team called Sparkle Motion.
The idea for the chamois panties came about while I was on a ladies' social ride. We had just finished and, in our discomfort, were joking about how we wished we could wear our padded cycling shorts under our jean shorts. Then we really thought about it and started wondering why a product like that didn't exist.
After further investigation, I found that there were indeed a few products on the market with a similar function. None of the available options incorporated a good chamois and there weren't any feminine designs available. This motivated me to get started on a quality product that maintained a feminine appeal.
Once I came up with the idea, I started researching different chamois options and women's underwear. I began sketching and ordering samples. Once I had figured out exactly where I wanted to take the designs, I hooked up with a seamstress and we got to work on the prototypes. That was the fun part!
The idea behind the Chamois Panties is creating the ability to ride in comfort, without having to sacrifice your own personal style.
They are intended for female cyclists who bike commute, ride casually or socially. The panties are not intended for long distance rides or racing, each of these situations would be better suited with a full cycling kit - jersey and shorts.
I really believed in the concept and wanted to see it come to life. As a product designer, I thought it seemed like a really fun project and was excited to work on it.
The Brigitte has a thicker pad for the ladies who are looking for a little more cushioning. The ‘boyshort’ cut creates a fuller coverage panty and the lace trim adds a feminine touch.
The Bettie has a thinner triathlon style pad for ladies looking for lower profile protection. They have sheer mesh side panels and ruching down the back seam to add to the sexy factor. The chamois are breathable and moisture wicking for optimum comfort on the saddle.
Kickstarter is such a great platform for pursuing new ideas and creative ventures. After being a member of the Kickstarter community for over a year and backing about a dozen projects, I felt like it was the perfect fit for the panties.
There has been an overwhelmingly positive reception. I had hoped people would like them, but I was definitely surprised by how viral they became in the cycling realm.
It is really amazing to see a community come together to support ideas that they believe in.
Everything’s going well so far, but we haven't actually started production yet. Now that we are funded, the real work begins and I am sure we will run into some snags.
Hopefully with the extra money [the product has reached double it’s target funding amount] we can place larger orders and have a wider size range! In the future, I see a wider size range, more styles, more chamois variety, and more prints.
UPDATE - The Urbanist shop is now open, so you can pre-order the Bettie or Brigitte pants! The shop is located in the US though, so there's likely to be a shipping charge for posting them to the UK and Europe.