Introducing Bare Kind - From banking to socks…. How they took the leap
I started Bare Kind whilst I was on the graduate programme at HSBC. I wanted to have more of an impact on the world, and so I set up a brand to sell sustainability-based products.
It’s completely fair to say that I had no idea what I was doing, but I really enjoyed the process of learning along the way. I didn’t really have a vision for the company at this stage so it was easy for me to try out new products and ideas and just see how they landed.
I started with reusable straws, after seeing the awful video of a sea turtle with a plastic straw stuck up its nose. I began with a drop shipping model, allowing me to only purchase stock when a customer had actually bought from my website. This was a quick and cheap way to validate my product, however, I had no control over packaging or delivery times so I quickly moved away from this model and invested in. some stock to hold at home.
Since then I have grown, selling thousands of bags of straws, and various other products. No other products came close to the volumes of straws I was selling until the humble bamboo sock came along.
I’d had this idea that I wanted to donate profits to animal conservation charities, so the charity model actually came first and then I was on the hunt for a suitable product to fit into this idea. I landed on bamboo socks; mainly because I really love socks, they are my favourite present at Christmas!
Turtles had inadvertently become a mascot for me so I started by supporting the Turtle Foundation…and the rest is history! I brought out my first design in 2019 in time for Christmas, and then after seeing how popular it was I moved to bring out subsequent designs.
Throughout all this, I was still working for HSBC. I had secured a job off the graduate programme, but it meant I had to commute from London to Birmingham three times a week, which was far from ideal.
I was commuting this way for over a year, and was slightly in denial about how terrible it was…..And then the year 2020 hit us all like a freight train.
Working from home was obviously a great turn out for me, I went from spending £50 a day on trains and a 5-hour return journey to rolling out of bed and starting work at the kitchen table. At this point, I knew I could never go back to commuting that distance ever again.
However, it wasn’t until October, when I invested in some marketing for Christmas, that I even considered Bare Kind as a full-time option. It had plateaued across the year, but it went absolutely nuts with Christmas sales and it felt like a bit of a Hail Mary for me – it was now or never.
The decision to actually quit happened very quickly. I had a day off for my birthday and I had floated the idea with my partner, spoke to my parents and friends and then I handed my notice in the next day. It felt right, and once I had made my mind up I couldn’t stay any longer.
It was absolutely the right decision, I haven’t looked back. The amount I have been able to achieve whilst working on the business full time has really surprised me.
I’ve got a whole new range of socks, with 5 new designs, coming very soon. And by the end of the year I hope to have a range of at least 20 designs.
The amount of sales I made in the first 3 months of working full time on Bare Kind has doubled compared to previous whole years! And I have also been awarded a ‘Grow it’ grant from my university by the UEA Enterprise Fund.
The extra time, and the funding, enables me to bring out more
socks! And with that, I can partner with more charities and therefore save more animals, which was my goal all along for these socks.
Covid-19 made me realise that anything can happen and life is very short. My gut instinct was to quit my job and I was right to do so. Where this leads me next I have no idea, but I feel the same about the company now as I did when I started it, the learning and the journey is the best bit!