All around us there are businesses small and big headed up by inspiring women. Some work online, some work in a physical space, some work during the days, some work during the nights, some work alone, some work together: the more we share, the more we can learn from each other. And the more we learn from each other, the more we can teach the ones following in our footsteps. May these women inspire you as they inspire us.
Today on the blog we talk to Eve, the founder of baby clothing rental company Bundlee. Enjoy!
Eve Kekeh – Founder, Bundlee.
I’m Eve and I’m the founder of Bundlee, the UK’s first baby clothing rental service. I run Bundlee full-time and love working in the sustainable fashion space. Running a startup can be pretty all-encompassing, so to distract myself I take dance classes and get the endorphins flowing. I’m currently 10 months into a year of not buying any new clothes, and have enjoyed exploring different sustainable options like renting, charity shopping and depop-ing – next for me is learning how to make my own!
1. There are not (yet) many baby wear rental companies. Can you tell us how you started your company Bundlee and what prompted your business idea?
I started Bundlee in 2018 as the UK’s first baby clothing rental service. As the eldest in my family, I experienced the problem that many new parents face: babies grow, but their clothes do not. They outgrow 7 clothing sizes in their first 2 years, and I saw how quickly our small home was overrun with piles and piles of outgrown clothes, and how much waste this led to.
During university, I focused on business and was particularly interested in social entrepreneurship and using business as a force for good. I spent a year studying abroad in Los Angeles, where womenswear rental service Rent The Runway was really popular. My friends and I would rent dresses for parties – it was such a fun and sustainable way to wear really beautiful clothes that were affordable for us as students.
When I came back to the UK I was surprised by the lack of rental options available. I went back to university to do a Masters in Enterprise and ended up putting the two together: baby clothes + rental… it just suddenly made sense! I started Bundlee in 2018 with a pilot to test out how the rental service would work and get parents’ feedback, and have been growing it since then.
2. How did you approach funding your business idea?
We’ve really utilised grant funding! There are lots of grants available to sustainable and innovative businesses, that have helped us get started. We also received some investment from one of my mentors last year, and are looking to begin a fundraising round this year.
I didn’t pay myself for the first year and a half and had part time jobs alongside trying to build Bundlee – this taught me to be really efficient with my time and also learned how to live on a lot less.
3. What was your experience of your first year in business?
I’ve never learned so much! From building a website, to designing clothes, to understanding marketing channels, to VAT returns, I did everything in the business in the first year. I think it’s so important to have a baseline understanding of all elements of your business before outsourcing or delegating them, so that first year of learnings was really valuable. I also spend a lot of time (and still do) connecting with our customers and understanding how we can improve – lots of emails, surveys, coffees and calls to find out how we can grow to be the best rental service for families.
4. What three things have you learnt since starting Bundlee?
- Tenacity – having a great product or service isn’t enough. There’s a lot of marketing involved to get people to move from “what a cool idea” to actually purchasing.
- Patience – everything takes longer than you think!
- Vision – having a vision beyond just making money, really helps to keep me motivated.
5. We meet many creative, talented women. What do you think holds women back from starting or maintaining businesses, if anything? What can we as a society do to change that?