meet Janet Kraus peach CEO


why peach, why now

If you had told me a few years ago that I would be the CEO of peach, a company that is changing the way women shop for and feel about intimates and basic apparel, I would not have been able to see it. I never expected to find life and purpose in lingerie. What seemed frivolous in the past, is now an essential part of my life.   

I was teaching at Harvard Business School when the peach opportunity presented itself. At the time, I was really happy with where I was in life and in my career. After successfully growing and selling two start-up companies, I was in a role where I was helping others, particularly women, plan for and achieve their life and career goals.

This is when I met Derek, the founder of peach, joined the board and shortly thereafter offered to help him in his search for a CEO. It was during this search that I had a powerful revelation: I realized my passion to find the CEO stemmed from my passion for the peach vision. And, that my confidence that I knew “her” and could find “her” was because I might be “her”.  I rolled over in bed one morning and said to my husband, “Oh my God. I’m going to do it again. Another start-up.”

I loved my past businesses, but something felt different this time. No other CEO opportunity touched me in the center of my core like this one did. More than any other job before, peach was the perfect intersection of my passion for empowering women as customers and as business owners, and of my own evolution as a woman and entrepreneur. peach was a one-of-a-kind experience that I could not turn down.

how motherhood made me a better entrepreneur

At the age of 40, my mother re-entered the corporate workforce and by the age of 60 she was the vice chairman of one of the country’s largest banks. My mother not only re-launched her career at 40, but she crushed it and in the process taught me, at the age of 13, and my brother Stephen, at the age of 3, a valuable lesson about what motherhood could look like. For me, the result was a learned confidence. So when people ask “how do you do it?” I tell them I watched my mom do it…successfully…with grace. As I have embarked on a similar journey of motherhood, I hope I inspire and empower my two daughters the way my mom inspired and empowered me. 

peach was not only a career opportunity for me, but also a chance for me to show my daughters an important side of their mother. Before peach, my daughters had only seen me as Harvard Business School teacher “Mom,” never as a CEO. As proud as I was to be a professor at HBS, that was really my second act.  At my core, I am an entrepreneur. It became clear and important for me to show my daughters the full incarnation of me: that I am Mom, and I’m an entrepreneur.

It may sound strange, but I love being an entrepreneur even more now that I have a family. Before I had kids, the businesses I created were all I had. Now my priorities have changed. It’s so important to set ground rules about where you work, when you work, and what you do. Sometimes the corporate world doesn’t value the same things that you do, or what makes YOUR life work. I find the freedom to set the rules a premium. Now, I can look at the calendar and figure out how to build this amazing company, peach, within the restraints and blessings of my life.

how peach will change women’s lives

I believe that peach is solving a real pain point for women. We believe (because she has told us) that today’s bra shopping experience is as painful as a root canal. At peach, we are getting rid of the dressing room drama and making each and every interaction delightful. But, our mission is so much more than the bra problem.

Many women think lingerie is frivolous or oversexed and connected to a woman’s objectification. peach is taking this back. We are helping women find their voice as customers and as business owners. We’re saying “no thank you” to an industry that promotes an exclusive standard of beauty; instead, we’re creating the new standard, where all women feel beautiful in their own skin.

For many years now, I have been sharing my perspective with women that being an entrepreneur or owning their own business at whatever scale (small, medium, or large) is a wonderful career path.  Now, with peach, I get to help women realize that directly. As a peach Personal Stylist, you can build your own business and decide how the workday goes, what’s important, and how you embrace that 360-degree version of yourself. 

At peach, we are just shy of 300 inspiring women who have joined us and who are already rocking it.  They communicate with one another 24 hours a day on our peach private Facebook page in the most authentic, fresh, and heartfelt of ways.  I frequently log into the site just to experience the many ways in which they are finding voice, finding power, supporting each other, and building the life and community that they want. I am humbled every time.

I decided to go on this journey with this company because it has a mission that supersedes all else – to inspire women to be confident. I’m proud to build opportunities that are empowering to women in every dimension. We’re invested in changing the world so that it is more inclusive and so that women have an equal seat at the table. We love and empower entrepreneurship because it is the fastest way to create change.

I hope you will join me

with love, Janet peach

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