Australian native Billie Whitehouse is the Founder and CEO of Wearable X, a fashion tech company based in New York City. Established in 2013, Wearable X designs and manufactures wearable tech that uses haptic technology to help users experience different sensations.
Simulating touch with haptic technology
In 2017, the company released a collection of yoga wear called Nadi X. Sensors are implanted at locations in the yoga pants while haptic technology enables the sensors to correct the user’s posture and positioning. This ensures an effective workout. Nadi X yoga pants have been featured in publications such as Vogue, Forbes and Entrepreneur.
Whitehouse’s own yoga-related frustrations inspired her to design the product. “I really struggled in yoga classes myself … I wanted that one-on-one feedback, and to be able to go home and practice properly,” Whitehouse said. “But I never felt like I was able to get there in my own practice. Out of that own frustration, I went back to our team, and I said, Is this even possible? And of course, everyone said, ‘No.’”
Whitehouse was undeterred. After all, she already had experience designing wearable tech. In 2013, Wearable X released Fundawear, a collection of vibrating underwear intended to foster intimacy for couples in long-distance relationships. Fundawear allows couples to experience the sensation of being touched by someone who is not actually in their presence.
Whitehouse describes the Fundawear design and testing process as “nothing short of highly entertaining.” At the time, she had a regular full-time job, but she harbored dreams of entering the world of wearable tech. “We would stay up until the wee hours of the morning because myself, the software team and the hardware team all had nine to five jobs,” Whitehouse said. “This was just what we were doing on the side because that’s what you do as a young budding entrepreneur.”
Wearable X also released The Alert Shirt, an Australian rules football jersey that allows people to experience the same sensations their favorite players are experiencing. Examples of sensations you may feel are a pumping heartbeat, the rush of adrenaline and even the sensation of a tackle. The company partnered with Fox Sports in Australia to release this product. The brand then released The Fan Jersey for the 50th Super Bowl in 2016 in partnership with Bud Light.
Throughout the month of May, Wearable X offers a special Mother’s Day promotion. Consumers get a free pair of Nadi X yoga pants to give to their mothers. After a 30-day trial period, the lucky mom can choose to either return the pants or purchase them.
“The core of the brand itself has always been, ‘How do we connect people back to themselves?’ How can we send their physical experiences back to their loved ones, to people that we are sometimes far, far away from? It involves the experiences and the places that we really care about,” said Whitehouse. “[These products provide] an opportunity to put that phone away and have that physical sensation that keeps you in the moment.”
In this video, Billie Whitehouse discusses the design and testing processes, her own experience with self-doubt and imposter syndrome and her advice for fellow female entrepreneurs.