Introducing Minna Bunting and Hattie Tennant to the Twenty Mile Club fold with Fruity Booty. What originated from their university business enterprise module, turned into their fully fledging business. We’ve caught the girls in the early stages of their start up journey as they delve into the ins and outs of getting a business off the ground. Fruity Booty launched in October 2017 and is a London-based underwear label, providing stylish, affordable, high quality, and comfortable underwear. This female duo wanted to shift the underwear binary from the only options of ‘sex kitten’ or ‘plain jane’, to instead providing intimates that mirror women’s tastes and personalities. We caught up with one half of the duo Hattie here…(discount code at the bottom)
Minna Bunting and Hattie Tennant
18/12/93 and 20/12/93 nearly twins!
We both live in London.
If you went to university was it a clear-cut path what you were going to do?
Definitely not! We both studied Business Management at Newcastle, but we never ever imagined that we would be managing our own business straight out of university.
What is Fruity Booty and when did you launch?
Fruity Booty is a London-based underwear label that we launched in October 2017. We created the label to provide stylish, affordable, high quality, and comfortable underwear, for women like us. We want to shift the underwear binary from the only options of ‘sex kitten’ or ‘plain jane’, instead providing intimates that mirror women’s tastes and personalities. We were fed up of the airbrushed, overly sexualised and unrealistic images that surrounded the underwear industry. Fruity Booty aims to create something that women can relate to and most importantly feel incredible in.
How did the idea for Fruity Booty come about?
We actually started the business hypothetically in our second year of University as part of a Business Enterprise module. However, it wasn’t until we graduated that we took the plunge and started it officially.
Have you left full time employment to pursue Fruity Booty full time?
We went straight from uni into starting Fruity Booty. We both consult, waitress and nanny on the side, to keep financially afloat, but Fruity Booty is our full time job.
What were the initial challenges in getting the ball rolling for Fruity Booty?
The biggest initial challenge was definitely finding the correct manufacturer and material supplier for our price point and quantities. We stupidly thought you could just google ‘underwear manufacturer’ and take your pick. Sadly it is much more complex than that.
How do you go about finding a manufacturer? Any tips you can offer…
- Google, there are websites like https://utelier.com/ which match designers with manufacturers.
- Find people who work within the same industry, but aren’t in direct competition and ask if they can introduce you to any contacts. Finding someone via word of mouth is much more reliable.
- Contact manufacturing agents. This is a more expensive way of doing it, but very reliable.
- Always meet your manufacturer. Your relationship with your manufacturer is key to your business success, so make sure you go out there and meet face to face.
How are you raising investment?
We are growing the business organically and reinvesting all the profits. We will be looking to raise finance this year and are exploring lots of different options such as crowd funding, convertible loan notes and angel investors.
Any advice you could give others looking for investment?
We are definitely not experts yet but the main advice we can give is don’t rush it. The longer you wait, the more time you have to grow your business and increase its value. The more your business is worth, the less equity you have to give away so put it off for as long as possible.
Have you got a mentor?
Yes we have built ourselves a support network of six incredible mentors. They all specialise in different areas – finance, marketing, retail, underwear, startups and public relations.
Who do you seek out for support and advice (if not a mentor)?
We literally seek advice from everyone. We love asking our friends because we value their opinion so much, but it is hard for them to give it to us straight. So if we need an honest answer we always ask our family. We found it hard to ask people for support and advice before we had launched because without our product or website it was hard for people to really visualise the brand and understand Fruity Booty.
Do you ever doubt yourselves?
Of course! It would be a lie to say we have never doubted ourselves. Weirdly, we have never doubted ourselves or had a bad day at the same time. One of us is always there to pick the other up.
How are you marketing Fruity Booty?
So far only through social media as it’s cheap and effective and great for our target market. We have found Instagram incredibly powerful, as well as collaborations with other start-up brands.
How do you think Fruity Booty differs from the competition out there?
The biggest difference between Fruity Booty and other brands out there is the experience which we look to give our customers. We felt the underwear industry was too serious and predominately serious and tailored towards the male gaze. We are shifting the focus back to woman and the experience they want to have and from our underwear terms, to our product descriptions and social media we look to bring as much fun back into the shopping experience as possible. We are also committed to manufacturing in an ethical way.
Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
That’s a tricky question because of course there are numerous things, big and small, we would have loved to have done differently. But, the actual answer is answer no, because we have learnt from all of our mistakes. All of our errors have been huge valuable learning opportunities and put us in a much stronger position now. They have also made us more resilient and thick skinned, a bit like orange peel.
Anything you would tell yourself then, that you know now?
Trust your gut and a lot of advice isn’t necessarily a good thing.
What’s a typical day for you working on Fruity Booty?
Minna always gets into the office first at about 8 am. Which she never lets me forget. We eat a fruit salad for breakfast everyday just to keep our head in the game and stay on brand. Typically our mornings are spent working separately on our different tasks and afternoons together brainstorming and packing up orders.
Were you wary about going into business with a friend?
Definitely not, the opposite we were so excited! If tensions do run high we plug in our headphones or leave the office and work separately for the afternoon – it doesn’t happen that often, but when it does, we just need a bit of space.
Any personality traits you have discovered about yourself along the way?
Haha yes for sure.
M – Hattie can be irritatingly all knowing
H – Minna can be exasperatingly defensive
Any fuck ups along the way?
There is a fuck up a week. There are some we cringe about so much I can’t even bear to think about them.
One of the most embarrassing was referring to our branding as ’tongue in cheek’ which doesn’t sit well for a lingerie brand. One of our 50+ year old male business mentors had to point out the obvious, which was fairly mortifying.
What has been your best moment so far as a result of setting up Fruity Booty?
One of our best friends tried on our Cranberry bralet and burst into tears she loved it so much. I know that sounds a little dramatic, but she is 5ft 2in and has quite juicy melons. She has never felt able to wear bralets before and was over the moon with how great she felt in it.
What advice would you give other twenty-something’s who are thinking of pursuing a career in the same industry as you?
Don’t underestimate how complicated it is to manufacturer underwear. The average bra is made up of 28 components and there are up to 36 different sizes.
What do you think is next for Fruity Booty in the next year?
This is a huge year for us. We have two beautiful collections coming out which we are in the process of designing. We are also starting our transition into nightwear which we are incredibly excited about. So keep your eyes peeled!
What’s the dream?
To help women feel fruitylicious and fabulous buying and wearing underwear.
Just for fun…
In our twenties the three things we tend to think about are… our next meal, weekend plans and dreaded bills
When I look at my bank statement after a night out I usually… hyperventilate
The Twenty Mile Club is…. entre-pear-neurial and sub-lime
Find links to Fruit Booty below!
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