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The Knix Way: Building a Brand with Purpose with Joanna Griffiths

The Knix Way: Building a Brand with Purpose with Joanna Griffiths

Since launching Knix in 2013, Joanna Griffiths has built it into one of the fastest growing intimate apparel brands worldwide. It was the sixth fastest growing company in Canada, seeing over 3800% three-year growth, before Joanna successfully negotiated a $410-million acquisition — the largest publicly disclosed private sale of a direct-to-consumer company helmed by a female founder in Canada.

Joanna is a trailblazing entrepreneur celebrated for her bold decision-making and ground-breaking business model. She is recognized nationally and internationally as a marketing disrupter, with her long list of accolades including being named one of AdWeek’s 2021 Women Trailblazers, Waterstone’s Most Admired CEO, and Women of Influence’s Entrepreneur of the Year.

In her keynote presentations, Joanna walks audiences through lessons learned from building and leading one of the most successful and prolific mission-driven brands of the digital era. Below is a round up of a few key lessons Joanna shares — contact us to learn more about Joanna and how to book her for your next event.

The Entrepreneurial Mindset: You’re Never Really in Control

Even when you think you’re in control, Joanna says, you never really are as an entrepreneur. Joanna had no immediate plans to sell her company. When Essity — a global health and hygiene brand — first contacted Joanna about potentially buying Knix, she had just closed Knix’s Series B financing and had given birth to twin girls. To say she wasn’t expecting this opportunity is an understatement.

At that point, Joanna’s vision for her company was to raise private capital and continue to grow. But after Essity contacted her, she realized her entrepreneurial path may be taking a very different route.

This is why Joanna says entrepreneurs are never really in control. It’s important to keep your mind open, she says, so that when opportunities present themselves, you can properly explore them.

Use Your Values as Your North Star

When making tough business decisions, Joanna recommends entrepreneurs use their mission and values as their North Star. For Knix, their focus is women’s empowerment and diversity and inclusion. These ground Joanna and her team in their strategic planning, from the products they develop to the marketing campaigns they run, to the partners they work with.

The Essity deal took over a year and a half from initial contact to announcing the deal. Joanna spent nine months of that largely getting to know the Essity team. Knix is so much more than just numbers, Joanna says, we’re a team with a mission and it’s important our partners are aligned with that.

Traditional funding approaches never worked for Joanna because value alignment takes longer to determine than a couple meetings. She likes to understand the people she’s going to work with — do they support their partners through the good and the bad, how long do they typically work with people, are they good to their employees, etc. Joanna has given up higher valuations in pursuit of values, respect, alignment, and partnership to protect the Knix brand.

Prioritize Your Customers

Customer care is the key to sustainable growth, Joanna says. Prioritize the customers you have, not just the customers you don’t have. This should be your strategy from day one, otherwise you risk losing a customer for every new customer you gain.

Knix’s customer care strategy came down to focus. In those early days, we were trying to do a lot of things with a very small team, Joanna said. So, we took a step back and chose to focus on what we wanted to be good at, which for us was being at the forefront of marketing and product development. As simple as it may sound, focus is what propelled Knix’s success.

Because of their deep focus on product, they were constantly working on the next iteration. We beat ourselves before our competitors could, Joanna says. And their marketing campaigns have always featured every skin tone, age, body shape, and size because Knix was, and always will be, for everyone — a ground-breaking approach at the time.

In 2020, Knix was named “Brand of the Year” by Strategy magazine. Don’t be afraid to pick the thing you’re good at and strive for excellence, Joanna says.

Contact Us to Learn More

Joanna brings a wealth of experience to the stage, speaking on leadership, entrepreneurship, women empowerment, business strategy, and more. Through drawing on her own experience transforming Knix into the powerhouse brand it is today, she shows audiences how to best navigate building and leading a business in the digital era. Key points covered include:

  • How to reimagine your organizations mission and values and leverage them as a North Star for strategic decisions.
  • The importance of community and collaboration in today’s digital world.
  • How to leverage every touch point of the customer journey as an opportunity to showcase your values.
  • The power of a brand as a storyteller and the role that content plays in digitally native brands.

Contact us to learn more about Joanna Griffiths and how to book her for your next event.

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