She's Making Stylish Protective Clothing for Female Scientists
Beau Wangtrakuldee founded AmorSui the first professional apparel line that protects and empowers female scientists
**this article is re-used from the Story Exchange feature by Vic Flexner.
Beau Wangtrakuldee is a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based scientist who found a niche in the apparel market. After suffering a chemical burn in the lab, despite having a lab coat on, she realized there was a need for better safety apparel for scientists, specifically female scientists. She founded AmorSui just seven months ago, the first professional apparel line of stylish and protective clothing for female scientists. Today she is pushing towards her fundraising goals and learning about the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur along the way.
Wangtrakuldee’s story, as told to The Story Exchange 1,000+ Stories Project:
Although there has been a significant increase in laboratory safety standards, 40,000 cases related to exposure to harmful substances, fire and explosions are reported in the US every year. That is why I dedicated myself to finding a solution for 1.3 million female scientists worldwide after suffering a chemical burn from a lab spill four years ago, despite being properly dressed with a lab coat on. I founded AmorSui, the first professional apparel with a mission to protect and empower female scientists. My team and I created a new approach to chemical safety and compliance by offering well-fitted and stylishly-made protective clothing that women scientists want to wear, with or without a lab coat. “AmorSui” in Latin means “self-love”, as female scientists wear our garments to protect themselves while feeling confident and beautiful. AmorSui embodies the power in every brilliant woman to discover the next big thing, knowing there is nothing that can stop you. As a young girl, I learned from my experiences of being a competitive athlete that I am most proud of moments when I tried my hardest even if I didn’t win. Because of this, I have always pushed my limits in every endeavor. I learn and grow from the most challenging tasks and reach for more. My grandfather passed away last year, and his passing added to my perception of success. He was a successful businessman who made an impact on people in his community. Founding AmorSui, in a way, was my way to find this success and to make the same sort of impact that he made on those around him. I am taking a huge risk in starting my own business that I know in my heart is a needed business and will impact my fellow women scientists all over the world. In this process, I have learned and grown so much as an entrepreneur, a leader, and an advocate for female scientists. That, within itself, is a winning success to me.
My journey to start AmorSui has been on an accelerated track. I am very proud of what I have accomplished in starting what was still just an idea only seven months ago. I put my team together to develop prototypes based on interviews with female scientists and we are now launching our product on iFundWomen and talking about it with everyone. It has for sure been a difficult and stressful experience, but it is reassuring that we are on the right path at the same time. I received messages from backers and female scientists from all over the world telling me that AmorSui’s products are needed. I even sold our fire-resistant Rosalind Franklin pants to a female scientist from New Zealand! My campaign on iFundWomen is currently at 34% funding and I won’t stop until I reach my goal.
My biggest challenge in starting AmorSui has been to recruit and build a team that complements my skills and knowledge, in order to successfully create this clothing brand. I have experience in business, intellectual property, leadership management, and organization building, as well as a female scientist’s perspective. I know that what I lack is experience in fashion design and manufacturing, so I set out to find experts in these subjects to join my team. Through extensive networking, I teamed up with Lele Tran, an entrepreneur fashion designer, and Betsy Cook, a pattern maker, and was able to utilize their 30 years of combined experience to bring the vision of AmorSui, the first ever clothing line for female scientists, to life.
I come from a long line of self-starters and business owners. My grandparents and parents both have businesses that they each built from the ground up. I have to give them credit for instilling an entrepreneurial spirit within me as they were my primary role models growing up. My grandfather was the most courageous entrepreneur I have ever known. He built a successful business from nothing and created an organization with loyal employees that respected him. His passing reminded me of how much I wish I could be just like him. I had the idea of starting AmorSui since 2014 based on personal experiences and sat on this idea for four years while saving up enough funds to start the business. My grandfather’s passing and the fact that I was at the point of my life where I was able to support this business encouraged me to register AmorSui, LLC and go for it! My team is currently raising funds on iFundWomen to launch select pieces from our chemical- and fire-resistant Chimie line, which will be available for an early bird discount until the end of September. Our prototype development process is now complete, and we are finalizing a production schedule with a local factory and will begin manufacturing product by the end of September. We plan to increase our brand awareness by working closely with influencers and hosting pop-up shops in our home city of Philadelphia in the fall. In addition, our team is also putting a business plan together with prototypes to pitch to research centers and industrial companies to establish long-term partnerships.