This month, as the world celebrates women, Klarna is spotlighting a selection of female business owners and industry leaders within the Klarna network to share their stories of entrepreneurship, challenges and growth.
Lori Caden is the CEO and co-founder of Belly Bandit and Proof.
Hi Lori! Tell us your story. How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve always had a passion for creating products people really need. In my twenties, I moved from Michigan to Los Angeles and began a branding swag business, Caden Concepts, which is still alive and well today. I really love working with clients, discovering their needs, and creating products that fit perfectly into their lives. That carried over into Belly Bandit and Proof. Both are truly solution-based products, designed to empower women to feel their very best.
Has being a woman empowered you to make any bold decisions in your career?
I think it’s taught me to be bold. Whenever I feel like I’m holding back, I think “would a man feel bad about this?”, and a lot of the time, the answer is no. As women, there’s an expectation that you should sit back and let things come to you…I have never been one to sit back in business or in life. If you want something, simply go for it. At full speed.
How does your brand empower women? How does this compare to where your industry is in terms of gender diversity and inclusion?
Our products are designed by women, with women in mind. Belly Bandit launched with our namesake compression belly wrap that aids in postpartum healing, and developed into an entire solution-based line created for before, during, and after pregnancy. Proof has an even broader range—we help women, ages 9 to 90, to live life leak-free and worry-free with expertly designed leak-proof undies for periods, bladder leaks, and beyond.
Both of these “issues”—post-baby body blues and leaking—have historically been very taboo subjects. We’re breaking the mold by not only talking about it, but taking it on and making products that cater to these needs. Essentially, we’re putting our products out into the world as a way of saying, “We’re in this with you, we’ve been there, too—and it doesn’t have to be that way.”
What is a challenge you’ve experienced as a woman in a leadership position?
As a leader, you have so many choices coming at you at all times, that you’ll inevitably make a mistake and it can be challenging to not get down on yourself and doubt your own wisdom or instincts. One thing that’s always really helped me is working closely with my best friends —my sisters. We co-founded Belly Bandit and Proof together, and work together as a trio leadership team every day. Having two other like-minded women in my corner to cheer each other on is so helpful.
Do you have any advice for aspiring young women or other female business owners?
Just do it! The best way to learn is by doing, and you’ll never be 100% ready. We think through ideas and get second opinions and develop products, but all of my businesses have launched before they were ‘ready’. You evolve and grow with your business, so don’t be afraid to start when things aren’t perfect.
Share one business tool, tip or trick that has changed your life.
Finding your tribe is so important. I surround myself with other business owners, ambitious women, and people that I really admire. I feed off of that energy and learn so much from them. If you can do one thing for yourself and your business, it’s to find your people.
What are two products that have helped you be creative and productive this year?
My coffee table book, filled with funny and inspirational quotes. I’m constantly collecting quotes (I am on book number eight). It’s become a ‘thing’, as now my family and friends text me daily quotes with “for your next book.” I have even started to give these books as gifts, now known in my circle as “best gift of all time!”
I also swear by getting out and clearing my head in fresh air. I do this almost daily with my sisters. A “walking working session” keeps us all creative and productive, and I swear by my ON Cloud venture sneakers on the trail.
What was the biggest lesson you learned in 2020?
Patience! There have been so many setbacks personally and professionally for myself, my family and my team. As much as I want to go, go, go all the time, it’s been humbling to have other time constraints on life. I’ve learned to take a deep breath, readjust my timelines and be willing to pivot at a moment’s notice.
What about your business or industry are you most excited about in 2021?
We are so excited for new launches coming in 2021…seeing our products in stores is always huge (keep an eye out in your favorite stores!) and we’re working on extended sizes, colors, and styles and some partnerships with very familiar faces.