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#LifeLokal: How Lily of the Valley custom lingerie uplift women in every stage of their lives

By JUSTINE PUNZALAN Published Aug 06, 2022 1:35 am

Self-love and empowerment.

These are two values entrepreneur Camille Escudero aims to bring out in every woman who purchases products from Lily of the Valley. It is with this deep-rooted purpose, too, that the all-Filipino lingerie and loungewear brand continues to expand—both in revenue and recognition—since its birth in 2014.

Lily of the Valley is known for its period products or "Relief Lilies," which include period underwear and reusable menstrual pads. It also specializes in sports bras (Freedom Lilies) and loungewear (Serenity Lilies).

While all of these intend to help women rise above the issues they face regularly, Escudero has been demonstrating how big of a heart her brand has, with its nursing bras or "Life Lilies." 

Escudero made the brassieres easily customizable to cater to the needs of Filipino women of every size and in every stage of their lives. 

She explained, "If they're outside the standard or they're in-between sizes, we can make their underwear according to their size. Also, if a customer says, 'Can you make something smaller or can you make something bigger?' Then, we can change that."

This goal to "cater to the underserved and unrepresented" is not only felt by Escudero's customers, but more so, the communities her brand is supporting through give-back programs.

"Every year, we provide period products to public school scholars. One of our partners is Manila Science High School," she said. " Our partner, Youth UpRising, is the one who connects us to the public schools in Las Piñas 'cause we're based there."

In addition, Lily of the Valley donates parts of its proceeds to non-profit organization Roots of Health as part of its "sexual and reproductive health programs for young mothers in Palawan."

Know more about Escudero and her brand that advocates for women's reproductive health and sustainable living in this interview with PhilSTAR L!fe.

Camille Escudero (rightmost) with the models of Lily of the Valley

How did you bring Lily of the Valley to life?

Lily of the Valley started in 2014, but its origin dates years back. We have a family business focused on undergarments and yung friends ko from college would always get underwear as Christmas gifts. And so they seeded the idea of creating a brand and selling to Filipinos kasi we make products abroad.

Then in 2014, a friend of mine asked if I could make a period panty. At that time, I really had no idea what it was. So we did interviews, focus group discussion, and then Lily of the Valley was born. 

Our first product was period panties because we wanted to address period pains and unwanted leaks and also yung biggest issue is yung wings ng pads — they would lose their adhesives or they would rub sa skin and cause irritation.

In 2019, we had a relaunch and introduced an improved version of our period panty. Now, we have period underwear that you can bleed into. It's washable and reusable, and you can reuse it to use disposable pads.

What inspired you to add bras and reusable pads to your products?

We wanted to introduce sustainable ways of managing periods so we also introduced cloth pads that are reusable and washable. And at the same time, we launched our nursing bras. There were friends kasi who would give feedback na wala silang masyadong nakikitang nursing bras, so we made a product that is functional and also look pretty. 

One of the major concerns of soon-to-be moms is their changing bodies because they have a growing baby inside them. This often causes them anxiety and so we want to help alleviate that by providing them products that make them look good and feel good so that they can feel beautiful and good about themselves. Also, later on, when their body changes again, we can help them resize. That's also one of the things we offer, free resize for moms whose bodies change. 

We also make bras for people who have had a mastectomy. These are people who have breast cancers and had their breasts removed. So sometimes, if one breast is removed, it will look uneven.

So they will come to us and ask us to make a bra to make their body look even. So what we do is we make one side that will hold their natural breast and another that has a filler. Then kapag sinuot niya, it will look like she has two breasts instead of one.

Why does Lily of the Valley advocate reuse?

We want to be a brand that positively impacts society and so we created products that are purposeful and functional. Apart from that, we also want to empower our customers with our products. That empowerment may mean giving them confidence in their everyday lives, supporting them in their lifestyles of more conscious living, looking after the environment, and taking care of our community.

How do you apply Filipino culture and heritage to your brand?

One, we're proud that we design and we produce in the Philippines. Kasi many believe na kapag top quality, mahal and sa abroad lang. We want to show everyone that puwede rin 'yun sa Filipinos, that Filipinos can also produce international quality products.

Another is that we want to continue producing locally kasi we support the communities around us. Lily of the Valley is composed of 90% women. So by helping these women, we're also helping their families.

What makes your brand stand out from other local lingerie stores?

One is we're very needs-oriented. We develop products because we listen and we learn from our community. And so we offer products that are responsive to those needs. And I'm proud to say that we always cater to those underserved and unrepresented.

Second, our products are long-lasting because our materials are durable, high quality, and they perform well. That's why we offer free after services because we know they can last long even if you move into a different phase in your life.

And the third one is after-sales service where we offer free repair, free alteration for your products. I don't think other brands offer that. But we do that because we want you to continue using your Lilies and also to promote sustainable living and reduce garment waste. Because if you throw it, it will just go to the landfill. So if you could still use it with some alteration and repair, then we would be happy to do that.