Many of us do the same dance when we’re getting ready in the morning– bra, underwear, clothes, sock, sock, shoe, shoe. Or if you’re a little weird– sock, shoe, sock, shoe. It should be a simple and intuitive process. But imagine not even being able to get started. 

This is the struggle that people with chronic illnesses and physical disabilities face every day. Traditional clothes and undergarments can be difficult to get on, so making adaptations is necessary. The CDC estimates that 1 in 4 women are disabled. Brown University graduate and Rhode Island native Emma Butler saw a pressing need for adaptive undergarment fashion, and started Intimately in the fall of 2017.

Like most startups, Intimately began as a passion project for Emma’s mom and friends. On a small blog she curated her favorite mom-and-pop clothing stores that made undergarments for women with disabilities. Only a handful of them made underwear that was side-opening and velcro-friendly, but was also sexy and empowering. So, with the help of Brown’s Nelson Centre for Entrepreneurship, and a $20,000 Kickstarter campaign, Emma created a beautiful, branded, one-stop shop for adaptive lingerie that was both functional and fashionable.

Now, Intimately serves the dual function of being an e-commerce site specifically targeted towards women with disabilities, and providing a community for them to engage in discussions about intimacy, sex and all things womanhood. The Gen-Z spirit of inclusivity runs through the entire shopping experience– from easy-to-open shipping boxes, to an all-women team, over half of whom are disabled themselves. 

Keep an eye out for Intimately’s own line of intimates, coming Summer 2021! With front-opening magnetic bras, sleepwear and more, it promises to solve the dressing needs of women of all abilities, everywhere, and ultimately revolutionize the fashion industry.

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