WHY YOU WANT TO LISTEN:
Hanky Panky is a $50-million lingerie business that began when Gale Epstein made a bra and panty set out of handkerchiefs for her friend Lida Orzeck’s birthday. Over 40 years later, they’re known as the Jobs and Wozniak of thongs, except they never went public, never took outside investment, never advertised, never outsourced production, and never entertained the hefty offers to be acquired. They talk with Nancy about bootstrapping, product innovation, buzz marketing, and alternative exits.
ABOUT OUR GUESTS:
Gale Epstein has been designing clothes since the age of twelve. She grew up in St. Louis, studied at Washington University, and then came to New York City to attend Parsons School of Design. Before starting her own business, she worked for a sweater company. Now, she is President and Creative Director of Hanky Panky. In addition, she is a board member of Glynwood Center in the Hudson Valley, and she serves on the Small Business and Agriculture Advisory Council to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. In her free time, you can find Gale horseback riding or practicing the harp. She is also a passionate environmentalist and animal rights advocate.
A Brooklyn native, Lida Orzeck graduated from Barnard and continued on to earn a PhD in Social Psychology from Teachers College. After grad school, she spent a few years working as a researcher, first for the New York Police Department and then for Health and Hospitals Corporation. Today, she is Hanky Panky’s Co-CEO. In addition, as an experienced cellist and performing arts enthusiast, she sits on the board of a contemporary dance company, Doug Varone and Dancers. She is also a board member of the International Organization for Women’s Development and the Southern Poverty Law Center. Her philanthropic interests include education, civil rights, and human welfare.
OTHER GOOD THINGS TO DO, HEAR & READ:
- LOOK at the original bikini set in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s permanent collection.
- READ the 2004 Wall Street Journal front-page article that elevated Hanky Panky to a household name.
- VISIT Hanky Panky’s website and earn some Panky Points of your own.
- LEARN more about their uncommon exit: the employee stock-ownership plan (ESOP).