Female Disruptors: Renata Mutis Black of EBY On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry
I believe that my only competition is myself. Every day I need to be better than yesterday. My success is determined by my grit, determination and vision. I believe that where the mind goes energy flow and I just don’t like to give the conversation of men not having the same challenges as women energy. Sure it exists. Sure I have felt it, but it is not something I give my power to.
As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Renata Mutis Black.
Renata Mutis Black is the CEO and Co-Founder of EBY. She studied microfinance under Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, has had a chapter in Deepak Chopra’s book “The Soul of Leadership” written about her, and has been featured in such as the WSJ, Forbes, InStyle and TechCrunch. Renata speaks at numerous institutions including the United Nations, MIT and Harvard Business School on the topics of entrepreneurship, female empowerment and women in business. She is also the founder of Seven Bar Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mandate is to raise awareness for micro-finance and to raise funds for micro-finance programs focused on women globally.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?
I was adopted by my mom and my uncle at one and always had a deep-rooted purpose to impact the world. I felt very lucky to be adopted. I started a microfinance program in India with over 800 women and fell in love with empowering women out of poverty and into business. I studied under Muhammad Yunnus and Noble peace prize winner in 2005. When I lived in India women used to always say to me it must be horrible living in the states having to show your cleavage in your legs. I always hated having to wear the Sari every day as I felt like I was wrapped up in a burrito and it was just so hot. When I came back to the states I was watching the Victoria’s Secret show and it hit me that maybe we do use seduction to objectify women and what if we could use seduction to empower women. That is what set me on my trajectory to enable women to have an impact with the one decision they make every day — the underwear they wear.
Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
I think it’s the combination of all the pieces that make the whole of Eby. We are female lead, Hispanic founded, size inclusive, and most importantly purpose driven. I think today it’s beyond having the best in class product but it’s also about adding value at every touchpoint to your customer’s lives. This is what we stand for. Our product is the best in class period. You can put it next to any other seamless undergarment and hands down we are the best. But when you buy our product, you also get access to power that gives you tools to become the best version of yourself. At the end of the day, we are a women’s empowerment brand. This is not some slogan. This company was built to consistently fuel microfinance.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
As a high-growth startup, you are constantly pitching investors. There was one time where I was pitching a man and I was explaining to him as if it was obvious that women buy underwear in handfuls and they buy it frequently so in essence underwear is a repeatable purchase. The man responded to me and said that he thought that was very interesting because he still had his underwear from high school. I immediately started dying laughing and he did not think it was very funny. I learned at that time that you should really know your audience and that from that moment forward I would be pitching a lot of men and would have to adapt my pitch so that it was relevant to them. Ever since then, I start my pitch big picture with the size of the industry and the industry’s potential so that they can take the pitch more seriously and understand the real potential of startups in the intimates industry that are purpose-driven.
We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?
I have had amazing mentors in my career. One is my VC Andrea Drager. She always pushes me to bring my A-game. She challenges and inspires me. She has high expectations of me and never settles for less than above average from me, and I really appreciate the standard that she holds me to. The other mentor I have had is Malinda Behrens, who is a badass business savvy ninja. She has just always believed in and supported me constantly. She builds me up and because of who she is, I rise to the occasion of the person she thinks I am. Both of these women have enabled me to reach heights they saw for me, and I ended up reaching because of that.
In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?
I think the word disruptive has been overused and overplayed. I think the bigger questions are three:
“What is the best use of your life?”
“Are you adding real value to people’s lives”
“Is the world going to better because of what you created?”
If you have a positive answer to all then what you are doing is needed and worthwhile and I think in the end that is all that matters.
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
- Do not confuse hard work with results
- You can do anything, just not everything
- You are only as good as your last game.
We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?
We have an entire campaign about being provocative yet powerful. For some reason those 2 words can never go together but the truth is that through seduction and sensuality is how a woman creates. This is incredibly powerful. You create greatness when you take two opposing things and bring them together to have an impact. THIS is what you can expect to see from EBY.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?
I personally do not like to engage in these types of conversations. I believe that my only competition is myself. Every day I need to be better than yesterday. My success is determined by my grit, determination and vision. I believe that where the mind goes energy flow and I just don’t like to give the conversation of men not having the same challenges as women energy. Sure it exists. Sure I have felt it, but it is not something I give my power to.
Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?
Masters of Scale
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
If you are an accountant, nurse, or schoolteacher, this wage falls well within the top 1% worldwide (World Bank Data). Yup, that means that out of the 7.53 billion people in this world, these professions, amongst so many others, are part of the 1% of the income earners that live on this planet. Take a second to think about that. Every decision you make from the coffee that you drink to the underwear you wear, impacts the other 99% . Make sure that you vote with your dollars and that with every decision you make, you are having an impact. Your choices matter more than you can imagine.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Refuse To Lose
Refuse to be Defeated
Refuse to have Regrets
How can our readers follow you online?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!