Our Founder's Story
Andy Paige, celebrity style expert (TLC, Style Network, and more)
After 200 episodes of television wearing a hot mic pack attached to the back of my bra or strapped around my waist, hooked to my pants or falling out of my pockets, I started thinking that there must be better way to wear an audio transmitter. The crew of my latest TV show, TLC’s Ten Years Younger, gave me a leg strap, but once I got hot and sweaty, down it went. That thing never stayed up.
While out training for a marathon after filming, I had the idea to cut up a moisture-wicking athletic shirt, attach some hook and eye closures from an old bra, and coat the contraption with hot glue for friction. That night I did a little sewing, and I tried it out the next day on set. Viola! It worked… until I got hot and sweaty and down it went. But my crude prototype did work much better than anything else I had tried. I knew I was on to something.
Just back from a 24-city book tour launching my first book, Style On A Shoestring (McGraw Hill), and only 5 days away from the start of my next season of Ten Years Younger, I was being my usual, climb-higher, run-longer, try-harder, daredevil self. After standing in line to do so, I jumped off of a cliff overlooking the Atlantic ocean, but I didn’t quite make it as planned. I missed the water.
My right leg thankfully took the brunt of the impact. I could see immediately after jumping that I wasn’t going to make it in the water, so I adjusted myself mid-air as to not land on my tailbone. I landed feet first on the rocks below and pushed myself into the ocean.
Relieved to feel the water all around me, I reached to squeeze my arms and body, to reassure myself that I was not paralyzed. I had saved my life. But when I went to kick in the water, I felt the drag. I knew immediately that I had severed my right foot.
After 7 reattachment and reconstruction surgeries, I was feeling very sorry for myself and honestly, I was so mad – just livid with God. I couldn’t understand! I had always been a good girl, I worked hard (really hard) for everything I had achieved. I just couldn’t believe I wasn’t going to walk again, run another marathon, continue my TV career, or build my life as I had planned. Yelling, screaming, crying… I went at God hard in that hospital room that day (really hard).
Exhausted and feeling hopeless, in the stillness of the aftermath of my fight with God, it came to me. What about the mic-pack holder? Yeah! What did I decide to call it? Frock Pocket? Thigh Holder? Oh, yes… The GirlyGoGarter. I could develop and sell that even if I couldn’t walk. I could do all of the research, maybe raise some money and bring that to market even from a wheelchair or crutches. Crutches! Oh, my goodness! I knew instantly that I needed to perfect the GirlyGoGarter, not just as a mic-pack holder, but I would NEED it for my future on crutches. You can’t carry a purse when you’re on crutches! The lightbulb went off, the clouds parted, and I had a new purpose and passion. The GirlyGoGarter!
I worked feverishly from my hospital bed on some aspect of product development every single day. Naively, I would have never guessed it would take me nearly 3 years, several difficult trips to Asia, dozens of prototypes, beta trials with hundreds of women, packaging debacles, shipping issues and more to perfect the GGG and get it ready for market. I raised nearly $300,000 dollars from friends, family and women who believed in me, and we launched our little company in August 2013.
After 70 tradeshows, the GirlyGoGarter®, the GlitzyGoGarter®, and the Under Wraps® could be found in over 6,500 stores worldwide, including 4200 CVS stores here in the U.S. We had distribution in dozens of countries, our patents came through, and progress was the daily push for our brilliant team of mostly stay-at-home moms. But the COVID-19 pandemic hit our multiple markets hard.
No more events, travel, weddings, graduations, proms, or even opportunities to go outside. We lost our distributors, over 1,500 retailers went out of business, and CVS ended our contract. 2020 was devastating in every way.
But we have never missed payroll, and we have never given up hope. We’ve continued to regroup, refocus, and rededicate our little company, because we still believe we can change the world.
No matter what, we believe in women.
We believe women are powerful, clever and infinitely resourceful. Women are imaginative and generous, compassionate and capable. We believe every woman is on her own journey. As she travels the world to find her place, to make her mark, to live into her potential, the least we can do is help carry her stuff!