Charlotte Massey on Leading through the Pandemic

Effective leadership is vital to a company or organization’s success. But how does one effectively lead through a global pandemic? In celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week, HERlead Fellow and SheFly Apparel Co-Founder, Charlotte Massey shares how she was able to navigate the pandemic, lessons she learned along the way, and her take on the essence of entrepreneurship.

Charlotte is a HERlead Fellow, Grantee, Ambassador and Global Delegate, who has represented Vital Voices at the Trust Women conference in London.  Among her many titles and accolades, Charlotte is the co-founder of a startup called SheFly Apparel. SheFly Apparel’s mission is to revolutionize clothing for women’s unique needs in outdoor spaces. The idea for SheFly was born from Charlotte and her co-founder’s, Georgia Grace Edwards, passion for outdoors activities and the discrepancy they found with their apparel. The women noticed that traditional pants were not designed for their anatomy, rather they were designed solely for men’s. Charlotte and her co-founder teamed up to design pants that allow everyone to relieve themselves outdoors with equal comfort and safety.  

Like so many companies and young organizations during the global pandemic, SheFly had to weather the storm of closing manufacturing facilities and disruptions to the supply chain.  

According to Charlotte, “When our factory shut down due to COVID-19, we lost our main source of revenue and had to maintain operations with very little funding. We bootstrapped, got day jobs to fund legal fees, and kept working.”    

As a young entrepreneur during a global pandemic, Charlotte has remained true to her values and fiercely pushed on with determination. Charlotte shares, “we never give up, even when the odds are stacked against us.” And to Charlotte that is the essence of entrepreneurship; creatively addressing and “creating solutions to problems people face and bringing those solutions to the market.”  

Because of Charlotte’s fierce determination, SheFly Apparel plans to grow in several ways. Charlotte and her co-founder have now placed their first order with a new factory that meets their fair labor standards and plan to have inventory in the spring of 2022. Additionally, the co-founders plan to introduce new product lines, will be expanding their wholesale accounts to more stores, and since they are patented in thirty countries, they plan to license to other brands so more types of pants can utilize their zipper design.  

Charlotte’s story and SheFly’s trajectory perfectly exemplify the entrepreneurial spirt. For Charlotte, the pandemic taught her how to persevere against the odds, a necessary skill for all entrepreneurs. The future looks bright for both Charlotte and SheFly.