#55: antonia saint dunbar

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In Episode 55 Phil speaks with serial entrepreneur Antonia Saint Dunbar.

Antonia led the design of THINX and was the Chief of Operations for years, and she is now taking on the shoe industry with her new high-tech heels and flats that feel like sneakers on the inside. She raised $1.8M in 40 days with pre-orders from 7,000 people around the world. Nominated as one of Women 2.0's "Top Female Founders to Watch", and called a "Feminist Genius" by the press for the invention of THINX (Fast Company's Most Innovative Co's of 2017, Entrepreneur's Most Brilliant Co's of 2016, and one of TIME Magazine's "Top 25 Inventions for 2015"), Antonia is passionate about disruptive innovation to provide solutions for women. 

Through the THINX Foundation, the Fistula Foundation and other giveback partners, she creates companies that are dedicated to purpose in addition to profits, and solutions to help support gender equality worldwide. 

Interesting facts: 

  1. THINX was a TriBeCa Disruptive Innovation winner alongside the likes of the founders of Warby Parker, Twitter and Kickstarter as well as Scooter Braun (Justin Beiber) and Adam Braun (Pencils of Promise). 
  2. Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, designers and artists, Antonia learned early on that you can create something out of nothing and that your idea exist in the world at large to help better people's lives. When she led the design of THINX and wrote the patent, she felt it already in her DNA to do so. 
  3. Before co-founding THINX, Antonia was a marketing/PR executive who made key partnerships at various production companies, and she has also toured the world and played cello with artists like Carly Simon and John Forte of The Fugees.

Phil and Antonia talk about how to move between ventures, developing resilience, integrating parenting with growing ventures and the three habits that make founders successful. 


3 key points

  • If a need 'speaks to you' and you feel like you can make something to meet that need, listen to it and go for it! It's not going to be early, you will move slower than you thought you would be it will be worth it (06:00)
  • Actively cultivate resilience. Understand that things will always be going wrong. Just expect that that is life. Find ways to increase the speed and quality at which you respond to issues and make time to reflect on them so they develop and can be communicated as learnings (9:52)
  • Keep communicating clearly and consistently with everyone involved in your venture. Team members, investors, customers, users and partners. Everyone. Keep them close and informed because it will keep develop understanding when things don't go to plan (35:42)