Today we talk to Stephanie Bofinger, a former champion swimmer and motorcycling enthusiast behind Fempro Armour, a wearable protective armour product specially designed for women and, more recently, for people over 65 years of age and those with stability issues. Bofinger designed the product using a unique memory foam technology to protect the chest, hip, elbow, shoulder and back while being lightweight and flexible enough to be worn across a range of sports.
ISB: How did the idea behind Fempro Armour come about?
SB: When riding for charity through the Simpson Desert in 2019 with 11 other women I saw the need for better protection as they all had the same issues as me with ill-fitting amour and motorcycling gear.
ISB: What makes Fempro Armour lightweight while providing a great deal of protection at the same time?
SB: Our armour is made from a special viscoelastic foam that has a memory effect. By using this foam we are able to keep the weight low, and by using viscoelastic foam we have flexibility which means comfort for the wearer. There is nothing worse than wearing something heavy and hard that makes you uncomfortable.
ISB: What has been the most challenging aspect of bringing such a product into reality and how did you overcome it?
SB: Cashflow is one of the biggest challenges in business and many businesses fail due to this issue. Over the last two years, I poured everything I had into the product and company. I’m hoping our product will be accepted in the market. The second challenge is educating females about chest injuries and why they should wear protection. This is an ongoing battle which, over time, will get less as more awareness will come.
ISB: Alongside a focus on apparel for women you also target the over 65, what inspired you to focus on that customer segment?
SB: It’s not just the over 65 market, it’s also the vulnerable people market as many have stability issues. It doesn’t matter if you fall from a horse or motorbike or fall whilst walking or from a chair, the injuries are the same, and particularly for the elderly recovery takes much longer, with many dying fairly quickly as their independence diminishes by the minute.
ISB: How do you envision Fempro Armour growing in the next couple of years?
SB: Fempro Armour will grow with more retailers coming on board and by increasing our brand awareness through customers, ambassadors and our educational portal. Fempro Armour will be a household name in the coming years, just like Nike and their like.
ISB: What is the most important you’ve learned in this business journey that other would-be entrepreneurs should keep in mind?
SB: There are a few that come to my mind straight away. Firstly, make sure you have a never give up attitude. Secondly, build some thick skin when the rejections are coming. Thirdly, surround yourself with better people than yourself and lastly, always believe in yourself, e.g. this is my only plan A. I don’t have a plan B, so I will make sure this will work as there is no other option.