Jacinda from Spundies
Jacinda Gugliemino came up with the idea for Spundies when she was hungover. Now it's being sold Australia-wide, and was in the goodie bags at the Grammy's. Enough said.
I could talk to Jacinda for hours and I kind of want her to be my best friend. We met for coffee on a crazy hump-day afternoon in Coogee. A self-confessed insomniac, you’d never know it. Jacinda is bubbling with life and energy and laughter. That’s a super lame description, but Jacinda is anything but super lame. She’s super awesome. And not just because she paid me one of the best compliments of my writing life thus far: “I checked out your website and you’re so cool, I want to talk to YOU! Why are you interviewing me?? I don’t know anything about writing but when I was reading your blog, all I know is, I wanted to keep reading.” Shucks.
Jacinda is a painter, fitness addict, personal assistant to Amanda Keller, sings and dances in a kids’ party band called The Party Pirates, a “sucker for family” and works on her product, Spundies. Next year, she’ll be studying Graphic Design, on top of all that. This chick is a rocket, but she’s always there to offer advice (usually on the phone until 11.30 most nights) to her friends in need. We talked a lot about the power of nice. We both share the philosophy that being nice is the easiest thing in the world, and how being kind can take you places.
"To stand out, you need to be kind to people and network and do something for them, in order for them to help you out. Sharing is the key to business. And everyone always remembers the person that was nice to them."
When it was her turn to pull random questions out of the hat, she almost exploded with joy. Have you ever been skinny dipping? Over New Years in Byron Bay, Jacinda separated from her friends with the sudden urge to be in the ocean. A little tipsy, she made her way back into town in the early hours of the morning and stripped naked to dive in. “There was a little bit of thunder and lightning. It was so liberating. It was like, my moment. You know. Of having a shit year and then it getting better towards the end and it was my moment, saying to myself ‘look at all this stuff you’re doing now, and you’re okay.’ I lost my favourite necklace though, and my I.D.”
This is why I interviewed Jacinda: one hungover morning seven years ago, she had stayed at a friend’s house after a night out and showered the next morning, only to re-dress in her… used… undies. I know right. Bit gross. But we’ve all been there. “As much as I should’ve felt clean, I obviously didn’t. Walking along to breakfast with her friend, the conversation went a little bit like this:
Jacinda: “I feel gross. I’d love a pair of spundies.”
Friend: “A what?”
Jacinda: “You know, spare pair of undies.”
Friend: “That’s a really good name babe.”
Jacinda: “Yeah… and what if it was in, like, small packaging, so you could carry it with you?!”
They sat at breakfast with some more friends, discussing all the times you would need a spare pair of undies: “You’ve had the accident where things come early, or you’ve stayed at a friend’s house, or you’ve picked up for the night. Or you’re travelling and lost your luggage.” The rest, as they say, is history.
"[When I pitched to Qantas] I shat myself, just quietly. But I looked very confident."
Disclaimer: reading this interview, imagine a lot of laughter. Near-constant laughter. We had a lot of fun.
Okay, so who are the coolest people you know?
Shannon Dooley, from Retrosweat. We both will not let the other go down, we’re always lifting each other up. She’s amazing, and full of self-doubt too. We’re people constantly battling our own minds. She’s doing what she loves, and if she can do it, I can do it. We remind each other every day. And we are trying to do cool things!
And Julie from Let's Think (and Spundies), I’ve learned so much from her. She is a creative genius and she’s the type of person who can do a million things at once and she keeps motivating herself. I allow myself a down day, but she will just keep pushing through, which is incredible, I’m so inspired by it.
by Amy Lovat
So, what happened in the seven years between the idea and the fruition of Spundies?
The first thing I did, the only thing I did, seven years ago, was register the name. I’ve never done anything business, I’m a creative person. Over the years someone would occasionally say “When are you going to do that Spundies thing?” but there was always a reason not to… I’ve got to save money before I could start a business, etc. I don’t know how to talk to China! No one really does, unless you can afford to get on a plane and go there. There was never a right time. Then a few years ago my friend Bianca said we should get her mum, Julie, on board, who runs a company called Let’s Think and knows a lot about products. I didn’t even know what step one was. So they bought into the company with me, and within a year, we had the product. I was lucky enough to have someone to help me.
How did you know when the product was ready?
The amount of times that one pair of undies and packaging came back and forth from China! It took about eight months. It was always, “No, now you’ve changed the fabric, we said this…” “No, the packaging is a millimetre too long” and all that. We’ve perfected it as much as it can be perfected. It’s a pair of undies that’s meant to fit the majority, which is hard to do and we’re aware of it. But at this time it’s a one-size-fits-all, seamless style. It’s a great present idea.
What do you do with Spundies now?
I basically do the creative. We’ve got other people with their roles now, and investors. At first I did the sales, so I took the product around to stores in Sydney, and in about three months we had 75-80 boutique stores on board. Now we’re working on getting it overseas. It’s a slow process. Qantas has also taken it on now too, which is amazing and makes so much sense. It should be on board flights.
How the frig did you get in with Qantas?
Well, when it comes to the big guns, I’ve never pitched anything but Julie said to me, “You’re young, you can talk about this product better than anyone else, so why don’t you come in?” I shat myself, just quietly, but I looked very confident. We had two young girls dressed to look like stewards with stockings and Spundies and little jackets and hats, it was very cute. We gave everyone a box of Spundies. That was a great experience for me, because it was a bit of pressure. And now I just want to do it again.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of all this?
I’ve been so lucky to be able to learn as I go with something that’s also mine, partly mine. I couldn’t have done it all on my own. The idea would probably have just fizzled. It’s not until you start a business that you realise how important networking is. Everyone can find someone to do something for them. To stand out, you need to be kind to people and network and do something for them, in order for them to help you out. Sharing is the key to business. And everyone always remembers the person that was nice to them.
And the biggest challenge?
Hmm. We’re trying to get it into gyms at the moment, which is awesome, but they want us to get our own vending machines, which is costly. Rather than just putting them on the counter or something. It’s been interesting… the majority of people we’ve spoken to are males, and to be honest, they don’t really understand. It’s hard to relate. It’s a place they don’t want to know about! Or they say when you’ve got dirty undies “put them inside out” or “just don’t wear any”.
How do you fit it all into your day?
My day is neverending. Long. People always say to me “you do too much” and “you’re going to lose your mind”, but the thing is, I’m going to lose my mind if I don’t do a lot of stuff.
I think that’s just part of being a creative person. I’m the same.
The day you stop is the day you die. That sounds so dramatic, but I’m also a dramatic person. But I truly believe that! My brain doesn’t shut up. If it does, I’m screwed. I stop smelling the flowers. Actually they say that if you can’t smell roses, you’re close to dying.
That’s kinda creepy. Now I’m scared to smell the roses.
I know, it’s like “shiiit, can you smell that?” I absorb a lot of stupid information. I always fall asleep about two hours before I get up. My brain is always ahead of me. Anyway, I kind of tried to make myself the busiest person on the planet and I thought it might help me with sleep, but it hasn’t.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned?
No one knows how to do anything, you’re always learning. You don’t know how to dance, until you start dancing… [sentimental pause] And I’m definitely dancing.
[Cracking up] That quote is going to look SO INSPIRATIONAL. I can practically see metaphorical tear rolling down your cheek…
[Cracking up] 80s fist pump moment. Oh my god. So cheesy. Even saying it is making me go red.