Daring Origins: Elizabeth Stefanka
Lingerie Entrepreneur - Stefanka
Is entrepreneurship the result of a genetic predisposition?
When she was in kindergarten, Elizabeth Stefanka realised one of her fellow students was hearing-impaired. So she decided to take things into her own hands. Over the next few years, she learned sign language. Then she organized learning sessions to teach it to other students.
“I’ve always been like that,” says the 29-year-old today. She adds in the same breath that this is the foundation of entrepreneurship: finding solutions to problems that pop up.
There is currently a lot of hype around entrepreneurship, and that’s great. But for me, being an entrepreneur is not an end point but a process.
A lifelong fan of fashion, Stefanka has always dreamed of having an impact on the industry’s business model. She wants to put the customer back into the buying process at a time when mass production dominates.
Elizabeth launched Stefanka in 2014, creating products that were customized to her consumers’ unique body types, including bras adapted fitted via a 3D modelling system.
Next, because a good idea deserves to be constantly refined, her company put aside clothing production to devote itself solely to technological innovation. “It’s a decision that was tough to make, because it could be perceived as a failure. But with hindsight, I realize that it was instead an important turning point that enabled me to get back to the essence of our mission.
Her company developed a changing room equipped with scanners that digitize the morphology of each customer then suggest the products best adapted to their physique—all in less than 30 seconds. This solution mainly targets lingerie retailers, but the company also intends to move into prét-à-porter in the near future. Stefanka is already in talks with a major lingerie manufacturer.
“Retail is undergoing the upheaval of transformation. With our technology, retailers can bring the customer into the shop by offering them a personalized experience. And the customer can then create their profile and buy online trusting that the selection suits her volumetric measurements. At the same time, we solve the problem of returns of online products.”
For Stefanka, the only limits are those that we impose on ourselves. Preferring instead to push the boundaries, she has also studied and worked all over the globe. In the process, she’s become fluent in French, English, and Spanish—and of course, sign language.