The Legacy of Olga: Christina Erteszek Shares Stories About Her Parents

"Behind every Olga, there really is an Olga.”

In her memoir, The First Lady of Underfashions, Christina Erteszek tells the story of her mother—the real Olga—and father, Jan Erteszek, chronicling their courageous vision as founders of the Olga brand in 1941.

Part family saga, part coming-of-age tale, Erteszek’s memoir touches on her unique upbringing as the daughter of creative, entrepreneurial parents, Polish Holocaust survivors and refugees who risked their lives for a chance at the American dream.

“I would rather have had a baking kind of mother—wrapped in an apron skipping around a kitchen smelling of nutmeg and cinnamon,” Erteszek muses. “Instead, my mother [Olga] prepared her gourmet delicacies in a factory...Her ingredients were the finest French laces: satin and spandex fabrics, topped with spices of silky buds and bows.”

By the time she was a teenager, however, Erteszek caught onto the advantages of having a mother who “loved to create pretty things.”

“I learned the power of clothing: how it defined the body and flattered imperfections,” Erteszek recalls.

Today, Olga continues to empower women as it did more than 75 years ago, offering everyday bra and panty solutions that help them look their best and feel confident in their skin. In the conversation below, Erteszek joins us to share her thoughts on her parents’ escape from war-torn Europe in the 1940s—and their success in building Olga, a women’s intimates empire known for innovation and people-first values.