Company founder Laura Schoorl creates products good for people, with good meaning comfortable, well-designed, and sturdy as well as sustainable and good for the Earth.
Longtime thrifter Laura Schoorl was inspired to start an underwear company, Pansy, seven years ago with a friend when they realized that they couldn’t find any U.S.-made organic cotton underwear on the market. “Underwear is such a personal thing. I feel like it’s my responsibility to make something good for people,” said the UC Berkeley grad. “Good” can be defined as comfortable, well-designed, sturdy, and most importantly to Schoorl, sustainable and good for the Earth.
Pansy’s sustainable materials begin with organic cotton grown in Texas and milled in North Carolina and natural rubber elastic made in South Carolina. Sustainability extends to the business model, which favors managed growth and mindful decision-making over pumping out collections according to the fashion industry’s hectic seasons. Styles include three types of underwear (low rise, high rise, and x-high rise) and the best-selling bras (regular, full, cross, and sports) custom-dyed in Novato. Recent additions to the line include loungewear — stretch shorts, T-shirts, drawstring pants, leggings, and robes. Pansy’s products are sewn locally in a small factory in San Leandro and are compostable.
The Sacramento native credits Instagram as the biggest tool in growing her business. With over 100,000 followers, Pansy’s feed is filled with arty yet intimate photographs of women of all shapes and sizes (often Schoorl’s friends or friends of friends) modeling Pansy underwear. Schoorl art-directs most of the photo shoots, and her community-focused aesthetic emerges from the love-filled mood in Pansy’s photography.
Instagram’s recent algorithm changes have greatly decreased the number of people seeing Pansy’s posts, so Schoorl is focusing on other ways to promote and sell her underwear, including craft fairs and a redesigned website. Future releases of the website will incorporate video content about her philosophy of sustainability, how her products are made, and tutorials on how to repair Pansy underwear when needed.
You can find Pansy at Ali Golden and Good Stock in Oakland and also online at Pansy.co. Prices range from $9 for a pair of socks to $132 for a cozy robe.