On the up Hunter Ruthven · 21 June 2016
A feminist lingerie brand that began life on The Prince’s Trust enterprise programme
With less than 5 in her bank account, but a clear business idea in her mind, Hayat RachI has built up a lingerie brand challenging the status quo and shared her story with Business Advice. (1) Who are you and what’s your business? Im Hayat Rachi, the CEO and founder of Neon Moon feminist lingerie for women with feminist values. (2) How long have you been around for? As a concept since January 2014, and as of trading since March 2015. (3) How do you make money? I launched Neon Moon on Kickstarter in March 2015, where we were successfully funded and went viral. We now sell our amazingly comfortable and luxury lingerie direct to our amazing supporters via our own website. (4) What makes you different and why should people take notice? it’s hard not to notice an unapologetically feminist lingerie brand that’s for sure. Neon Moon is proudly Photoshop, sweatshop, sexualisation and objectification-free. We pride ourselves on being inclusive to the LGBT+ community as well as women of colour. Reflecting our amazingly diverse community is so important to us. Our size guide is also a world’s first. We size everyone to compliments, so we currently stock sizes Lovely, Gorgeous, Beautiful, Fabulous and Stunning. Celebrities have also taken notice during our body positive campaigns and supported us along the way. We deserve better, and we are creating better. (5) What was key in terms of getting started? I was homeless and unemployed when I finally decided to work for myself in 2014. I approached The Prince’s Trust who accepted me onto their year long enterprise programme to make my idea a reality. I have no background in fashion or lingerie. I studied economics at university and was the only woman to get a first with honours. I never let my lack of formal fashion education hold me back. So long as I had guidance, learnt from people smarter than myself and had Google on my phone I was ready to get started. I literally had nothing to lose. (6) What’s your biggest achievement to date? Having Neon Moon successfully funded on Kickstarter by 150 per cent over the amount I initially needed to create a viable business was the most incredible feeling in the world. I felt like I had the validity from the world’s press, feminist celebrities and from people all over the world who have supported us along the way. I literally had 3 and something pence in my account before I launched Neon Moon on the crowdfunding platform there was no plan B. That’s why I have always been so humble and grateful to our amazing community. Everyone who has bought Neon Moon lingerie is literally family to me. (7) What setbacks have you had along the way?
ABOUT THE EXPERTHunter Ruthven
Hunter Ruthven was previously editor of Business Advice. He was also the editor of Real Business, the UK's most-read website for entrepreneurs and business leaders at the helm of growing SMEs.