Cass and Company Founder/President Susan Ledyard has been named the top Gold Award Winner as Entrepreneur of the Year – Consumer Products. The Award – The Stevie Award for Women In Business – was given out at a gala dinner in New York City on November 8.
Susan Ledyard also won in a second prized category – Innovator of the Year. The Stevie Award is one of the top three national/international awards given
specifically to women in business.
Cass and Company – also known as Cass Luxury Shapewear – is a leader in luxury shapewear.
The company was founded nine years ago after Susan Ledyard had given birth to two children and was unable to find quality shapewear. She chose to create the products herself. $50 million in retail sales later, she is considered an innovation leader in shaping tops, bottoms, dresses, hosiery and accessories.
Ledyard was honored for her innovative role in shapewear, an $812 billion business (2011) with fewer women than men at the top, since July 1, 2012. These innovations include adding copper to shapewear – an industry innovation – against a chorus of criticism and skepticism.
Ledyard saw the benefits herself – enhanced skin tone, texture, reduced wrinkles and the providing of anti-bacterial protection. Cass and Co. is now in the process of incorporating copper into hosiery.
In the same award-winning time frame, Ledyard introduced “Luster,” shapewear with literally “zero gasp factor”; “Lucky Back” – shapewear that prevents slouching and rounded shoulders; and what could just be the first shaping top for larger women that doesn’t dig into healthy tissue at all. Madonna wore Cass on her most recent tour. The superstar asked Ledyard to design styles for the tour, including for her dancers. How else to wear shapewear and also move around easily as well as have the shapewear function equally well as outerwear, an already well-known Ledyard innovation.
Ledyard was also honored because she went against the industry requirement of a New York City showroom (and apartment) and chose instead to spend more time with her family and to build a business compound on farmland in the wilds of Pennsylvania. “I worried the change would affect my business relationships and stores would no longer work with me,” says Ledyard. “Results were the opposite because my employees are so much more relaxed.” Productivity has tripled; gross margins
The entrepreneurial award is one of three awards given in the category based on company size; Ledyard’s honor is for companies with “10 or less employees.” The Innovator of the Year Award is given in three categories: Advertising, Marketing, Public Relations and Business Services; Health Products and Services; and Ledyard’s impressive category – “All Other Industries.” The Award was given out at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York