Xenia Chen started her career as an investment banker. But when she was sick of wearing uncomfortable, non-durable tights, she pivoted her career to launch Threads. We chatted with Chen to learn about her inspiring career journey.
How did Threads begin?
Threads was born out of my own frustrations with the tights & nylons purchase experience. I was working in the financial services industry at the time and would go through a lot of hosiery with my work wardrobe. I was getting fed up with the number of tights I was going through in a month, as a result of rips and pulls in the material. I found that I was either spending $10 at the drugstore for a pair that sucked or spending $60 on a pair that was comfortable and luxurious, but still had some sort of shelf life before it rips or wears out. I began to notice my female coworkers were also experiencing the same frustrations when it came to their tights, whether it was about comfort or how much money they were spending. This motivated me to start doing my own research into the hosiery industry, where I learned there were virtually no companies out there who were making tights with women in mind.
We’ve created Threads to be different in both design and affordability. We work directly with our factory in Italy, where we’re able to cut out the middleman, so women can get luxury tights at the fraction of the price. It was important to me that women had access to affordable and high-quality tights, seeing how they are a fundamental staple to women’s workwear.
What has been your biggest accomplishment (or challenge) so far?
Threads is only two years old so the biggest challenge (and accomplishment) has been making it through 2020. It’s no secret that this year has been hard for businesses, especially those in the early days – when momentum is so important. I’m very thankful that we were able to re-strategize on the fly and make it through this year with the whole team intact and a new business line.
What is your must-have essential from Threads this season?
On the tights side, definitely our Opaque tights! They’re so comfy and versatile. Of course, wear them with skirts and dresses but I love layering them under pants for an added layer of warmth on those really cold days.
Do you have any style tips or trends to pair your tights/nylons with this season?
I think we’re all trying to make our summer pieces go further this year, given we haven’t been leaving our homes quite as much as years before. One of my favourite things to do is to transition summer pants into a winter look by wearing them with a pair of sheer black tights. My favourite is doing this with wide-legged cropped pants but you can also do it with a pair of ripped boyfriend jeans.
Do you have any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Just start! If you’ve been dreaming up something for a while, start working on the idea now. There will never be a “perfect time” to start a business. This doesn’t mean you need to quit your full-time job – just start working on it on the weekends or at night (that’s what I did with Threads for the first year). Taking the first step is often the hardest step but also the most important!