Michelle Cordeiro Grant, Founder of Lively
The bra has been around for just shy of 110 years. In its century-long tenure, we've seen a variety of twists on the staple, through corsets, push ups, sports bras, and the unforgettable Gaultier cones à la Madonna. Now, Michelle Grant has created a new league of bras that are community-driven, embrace diversity and curves, and celebrate a different kind of sexy: one that's not focused on the male gaze. We loved chatting with the founder of LIVELY, who wanted to create a space that made women fall in love with their bodies all over again, and embrace the shopping experience of intimates. Below, she chats about breaking free from Victoria's Secret, the lessons she's teaching her daughter, and why empowering others is one of her biggest business goals.
Can you share with us your journey, and how you started Lively?
While at Victoria’s Secret [as Senior Merchant/Director], I realized that this $13 billion lingerie category in the U.S. alone was dominated by this one brand with one point of view. I knew that one day I was going to create a completely new experience for the bras and undies category that was inspired by real life. LIVELY sets out to deliver on high style and ultimate comfort in one place so women can live their lives 14 hours a day and not have to compromise. Looking back, it’s amazing to see that every experience truly shaped the ethos and purpose of this brand and where I landed.
How are you working to redefine sexy, and what does "sexiness" mean to you?
The concept of LIVELY began around what I always thought was missing from the lingerie category: a brand that delivered on redefining what sexy means today—smart, healthy, active, and confident. Now more than ever, women are finding an incredible amount of confidence and appreciating their individual beauty.
You've also been an impressive leader in size diversity. What prompted that?
Since LIVELY’s inception, the development of the brand has been rooted in an open dialogue with our community. The process of listening to what our girls need and want from us, and incorporating them into our process is in the DNA of everything we do. The launch of the Busty Bralette is a perfect example of this and demonstrates our brand in its truest form. It is built on a campaign that we could not be more proud of — one that is so deeply based on our LIVELY crew and community. Our DD and DDD girls asked us to make a bralette for them and not only did we deliver, but we incorporated them in every facet of the marketing and sharing of this new launch. It has been heralded as a groundbreaking style—creating a bralette specifically for a wider range of sizes.
How do you juggle it all?
LIVELY launched before I found out I was pregnant with my son and from my experience, I've learned that you have to take life one step at a time and enjoy the fun in "figuring it out". It has been one of the most fulfilling life experiences I've had. In any high-pressure situations, I like to take a moment for myself and meditate or do some sort of physical activity whether that’s going for a run or taking a yoga class.
Having a daughter, and creating a diverse, empowering brand — what are the messages that you hope you're instilling in her?
When I started LIVELY I wanted to create something that would inspire my daughter —a brand that represents her as an individual and that acknowledges that she is her most powerful and beautiful asset. I want her and all women to know that their uniqueness and shape are what makes them so special. Everyone should celebrate that confidently and courageously.
What are you excited about right now in the lingerie industry?
I love seeing brands that have become more size inclusive with their offerings. I’ve learned that the moment for body positivity is now and that we have a platform to empower. We have had such a tremendous response from our community of women and have helped women to celebrate their individual uniqueness and unlock their inner confidence. The purpose of LIVELY is to empower women, encourage nonconformity and celebrate individuality. Women and girls who struggle with body image should realize that their biggest assets are themselves and that they don’t need to conform and be like everyone else. When they are able to tap into their inner confidence, they’ll be able to enjoy life and live more passionately and purposefully.
What are your favorite healing modalities and modes of self-care?
I make sure I spend at least 45 minutes to an hour of “me time” where I do whatever fitness routine is currently giving my mind the best work out. Running, spin class, or even just a good walk in the park. It is the time where I do my best thinking and reflect on all the incredible things happening in life. I often spend this time mentally appreciating my family, friends, health and LIVELY
What does legacy mean to you and how do you wish to leave a mark on the world?
When I was building the concept of LIVELY, my goal was to create a brand that would inspire women to get out there and live life purposefully and confidently, and empower others in the process. Bringing our community together to bring our ethos to life was one of the most exciting aspects I saw for building and breathing life into LIVELY. Being a digital brand has amazing benefits, but our community is so core to who we are and what we do that these physical events and moments are beyond key in establishing and growing our movement. I’m excited to see our brand and community continue to grow and remain a place to empower others.