Welcome to our newest editorial initiative, Who What Wear Spotlight, where we'll be using our editorial platform, social following, and ad inventory to turn the spotlight on small businesses that need our support now more than ever. Each week, we'll be highlighting a new fashion or beauty company. If you own a small brand and would like to be considered for the program, please apply here.
Underwear shopping can be difficult at the best of times. However, one small lingerie brand is hoping to slowly change that and make buying bras and pants a little more, well, fun. Fruity Booty was founded by Hattie Tennant and Minna Bunting, and before the lockdown, they operated out of a small studio in London Fields in London. This is underwear created by women for women, and so they deliberately stay away from the glossy, perfect imagery you usually see to advertise bras. The Fruity Booty images on their site and Instagram account are all beautiful and artfully shot but natural and unstaged so you can see how the bras and pants actually look.
Another reason we love Fruity Booty is its sustainable standpoint—50% of the collection is currently made from repurposed fabrics that would have otherwise gone to waste. Due to the technical requirements of lingerie and the amount we wear them, the brand believes these garments should be designed to last and cared for, rather than bought as disposable fast-fashion items.
Here co-founder Minna explains how they built the brand, what makes their underwear so special and how they are adjusting their business in the current climate.
When did you start your business, and why did you set it up?
Fruity Booty is a London-based lingerie and intimates label. Hattie and I launched it three years ago with the aim to redefine what was considered sexy in the lingerie space. We decided to create our own label to focus on celebrating the individuality of women and to produce a more creative, conscious and approachable underwear shopping experience for women.
How have stay-at-home orders affected your business? How have your priorities shifted?
As with most other small businesses, it has been a really scary and uncertain time. Initially, the most obvious effect from lockdown was on our supply chain. We faced massive delays and order cancellations, which was really frustrating, as we had been working on these collections and pieces for the past year. Luckily, we have amazing relationships with our factories and all the crazy-talented seamstresses. We have been working together to support each other and come up with solutions that ensure everyone is safe and financially okay.
We also had to cancel all of our photo shoots and rethink how we were going to get content out during lockdown without going near anybody. I have actually loved this part, as I think as a team we have gotten way more creative. I wouldn’t say our priorities as a brand have changed, but our transparent values and cultivation of local relationships definitely feel more important than ever. We also feel more connected to our customers than ever before, and the support and encouragement they have shown us during this time have been pretty incredible.
Tell us about the sustainable element of your business.
Underwear is different to clothing when it comes to repurposing and recycling, as it’s not something people share or easily sell on. It is also difficult to make it last forever due to the nature of how it is worn and the delicacy of the fabric. That's why we work with the most incredibly skilled and talented seamstresses to ensure the quality we provide gives it the best possible chance of lasting. Currently, 50% of our collections is made from repurposed fabrics and materials that would have otherwise gone to waste.
When it comes to packaging, we have stopped our manufacturers sending any of our garments in individual plastic bags and ensure our own packaging that we send out to our customers is 100% recyclable. When Hattie and I learned about what it took to manufacture bras, the endless rounds of sampling for the correct fit, specially trained seamstresses, specialist machines, and countless components involved, the thought that underwear could be thought of as a fast-fashion or disposable was just unthinkable to us. We share as much of our production and sourcing journey as possible with our customers in the hope that the more people understand what goes into producing underwear, the more they will look after it. We are definitely not perfect, but we are always trying to constantly improve.
We are super excited to announce (this is actually the first time we have spoken about it) that in a few weeks, we are launching a new collection and offering larger cup and knicker sizes. Offering a huge variety of sizing is something we have always aspired to do but has been extremely hard to implement from the beginning due to the high costs. In an ideal world, we would have catered to every single size from the very beginning, but we have had to do it incrementally in order to ensure that the demand is there, the fit is perfect and that our cash flow can survive it.
A single bra can have up to 48 parts in it, and then when you think about the number of back sizes, cup sizes and amazing different shapes women's boobs come in, you realise catering to everyone is incredibly difficult. We promise we are trying; it is just going to take us a little while longer, but we will get there.
Some people are finding joy in getting dressed and doing their beauty routine, even if they have nowhere to go. What do you think fashion and beauty can offer people right now, and what has it done for you?
I think fashion and beauty can offer lots of different things right now. Firstly, sticking to your fashion-and-beauty routine despite working from home can offer the sense of security and normality in a very uncertain time. If it makes you feel good, do it. I think it also is a great source of creativity and inspiration.
I wouldn’t say I have kept up with beauty so much, as I am not very creative in general when it comes to makeup, but I have loved going through my cupboards and finding old items of clothing and falling back in love with them again. To me, it’s as exciting as something new and shows me that just because you get sick of something for a bit, doesn’t mean you won’t love it again later.
What are your three favourite products you sell and why?
It changes daily, but right now my favourite three products we are selling are The Flora, which actually goes on sale this week; The Savannah (I wear the sample, as they sold out before I could get one); and our long broderie anglaise dresses. Apart from pj’s and tracksuits, they are pretty much all I have worn for the majority of isolation.
Is there anything else about your brand you really want our readers to know about you?
We have been working on some new Spotify playlists, which are now available through our website in case anyone is getting bored of their own music.
Keep scrolling to shop the bras, pants, minidresses and more we love from Fruity Booty.