In this episode of Women in Retail Talks, Women in Retail Leadership Circle Co-Founder Melissa Campanelli interviews Fran Dunaway, president and co-founder of TomboyX, the B Corp Certified LGBTQ+ size- and gender-inclusive intimate and apparel brand. Dunaway discusses her varied career path to becoming an “accidental entrepreneur” (1:54), the inspiration behind TomboyX (2:36), and how the brand and her role at the company has changed since its founding (3:19). She shares what it means to be a B Corp Certified organization (6:16), TomboyX’s first-ever collaboration with Target to create an exclusive apparel collection celebrating Pride Month (8:03), and how the collaboration is being done right to honor the LGBTQ+ community (9:36).

Dunaway discusses how she’s overcome obstacles in her career as an openly gay leader (11:35), her advice for other companies that want to better support the LGBTQ+ community (14:01), and how she uses her platform to advocate for greater inclusion and diversity in business (16:12). Lastly, she shares what’s next to drive brand awareness for TomboyX (19:58).

One of the inaugural Forbes 50 over 50, Fran Dunaway is a media executive-turned-fashion entrepreneur and co-founder of TomboyX, a Seattle-based gender neutral underwear and apparel brand launched in 2013. The brand started as a passion project in collaboration with her wife and co-founder, Naomi Gonzalez, to create the perfect button-up shirt, pivoting to focus on underwear based on the overwhelming demand for their first boxer brief for women. Fran and TomboyX are driven by a belief that brands can be a force for positive change, and their messaging promotes a human agenda to inspire conversation about gender, confidence, acceptance and inclusion.

Prior to founding TomboyX, Fran spent over 15 years in media production including director-level roles with political consulting firms. Her work included managing multimillion dollar budgets and large teams in production of TV/radio ads and animations for Congressional candidates and social causes. She has also produced TV episodes for PBS and independent films, with festival showings at Sundance and DigiDance. Fran is active in social causes and served as executive director of Equal Rights Washington, a nonprofit focused on LGBTQ+ rights that successfully advocated for passage of anti-discrimination legislation (Washington House Bill 2661) in 2006. She also served on the Steering Committee and Board of Governors of the Human Rights Campaign’s Seattle chapter.

Date: June 21, 2022

Credits: Fran Dunaway

Duration: 21:04