ThirdLove is lending its support to female entrepreneurs of color through a new program called "The TL Effect."
The lingerie brand announced the initiative on Wednesday, and committed to nurturing businesses owned by women of color for years to come. As part of the multipronged plan, the direct-to-consumer brand will select a different early-stage, consumer-focused company to work with each quarter.
In addition to providing a grant to each company to support its growth, ThirdLove will help the selected entrepreneurs raise awareness and navigate fundraising. The brand will also dedicate a portion of its San Francisco office space to the companies and create a mentoring program so ThirdLove employees can offer guidance to the female founders on all aspects of their business (marketing, finance, etc.).
"As a company that believes in developing strong women, the idea of supporting female founders of color really aligned with our brand. By launching the TL Effect, we will create access to resources that many early start-ups struggle to find, by providing fundraising advice and mentorship from ThirdLove's diverse functional experts. In turn, we look forward to learning from their experiences and points of view to spark change at ThirdLove and beyond," she said.
ThirdLove is also taking additional steps to promote racial equality by completing an internal diversity and inclusion survey and requiring all employees to take unconscious bias training. The brand will also continue to donate bras and underwear to women of color in need and share resources through its blog and social platforms.
In a new blog post on the ThirdLove website, the brand laid out its hopes for the new TL Effect program and said it wants to be "part of the solution, starting from the ground up."
"If we can contribute to the success of more female founders of color, they will be able to hire others and impact the world, and then mentor others over time. We see this as mutually beneficial — listening and learning from these founders’ experiences and points of view can ultimately help affect change within our company and community," the brand wrote.
Since its founding in 2013, ThirdLove has gained a loyal following for its inclusive approach to lingerie. In 2018, Zak even penned an open letter to Victoria’s Secret after Ed Razek, chief marketing officer for L Brands (the parent company of Victoria's Secret) made demeaning comments against plus-size and transgender models.
"I founded ThirdLove five years ago because it was time to create a better option. ThirdLove is the antithesis of Victoria’s Secret. We believe the future is building a brand for every woman, regardless of her shape, size, age, ethnicity, gender identity, or sexual orientation. This shouldn’t be seen as groundbreaking, it should be the norm," she wrote.