As a teenager, Téllez remembers feeling dismayed by Victoria’s Secret’s skimpy underwear and impossibly thin models. So she cofounded Parade in 2018 to offer an alternative that wasn’t so big on sex appeal: a line of fun, colorful underwear that comes in inclusive sizes. “It’s a $13 billion category in crisis,” says Téllez, the daughter of Colombian immigrants. “We want people to feel celebrated, like they’re part of a parade.” The Gen Z– friendly brand’s supersoft underwear is made from 85% recycled plastic and compostable packaging made from corn starch. To date, the New York company has sold 650,000 pairs of underwear and is on track to generate $10 million in revenue in 2020. It has raised $8 million from traditional VC shops and celebrities including Shakira and Karlie Kloss.
As North America settles in for a long pandemic winter, there are bright spots on the horizon. Hundreds of them. The 600 young entrepreneurs, activists, scientists and entertainers featured in our 10th Annual Forbes 30 Under 30 give everyone reason to hope. Some are defying the odds and building businesses despite Covid-19; others are helping to fight the illness, serving on hospital front- lines or working with A.I. to discover new drugs. This year they were photographed by one of their own: Mamadi Doumbouya, a 23-year-old immigrant from Guinea who appears in this year’s Art & Style group. Collectively, our Under 30 trailblazers have raised over $1 billion in venture funding and are proof positive that ambition and innovation can’t be quarantined.
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