Tiffany Chiu is the owner of the UK’s only allergy-friendly underwear brand called JulieMay Lingerie.
Many of my customers suffer from eczema, skin allergies, or contact dermatitis caused by contacting materials like latex, synthetics, elastane or harsh chemicals. My customers are mainly aged 30+ and mature women who may have developed allergies or sensitive skin due to menopause.
JulieMay Lingerie is proud to offer organic cotton underwear for all skin tones. Organic cotton bras lined with silk are perfect for hot flushes during menopause, cooling down the skin for eczema and psoriasis sufferers and post-surgical care. It also helps to relieve skin rashes, hives and itchy Allergy-friendly. Perfect for menopause and post-breast surgery.
JulieMay has three unique brand values:
1. Allergy-Friendly: Allergy-Free UK has certified all my products to be friendly for people allergic to synthetic fibres, latex, elastic and sensitive skins.
2. Organic: We use Certified Organic Pima Cotton as the main fabric to make the collections luxuriously soft.
3. Ethical: In JulieMay, no harmful dyes and bleaches are being used, and I am also conscious about the water usage during the dyeing process to save water.
As a sustainable brand, we work with Greenspark. With every order our customers place, we plant trees in the Eden Reforestation Project, an UN-endorsed project in Nicaragua. We also donate part of our sales to support the Plastic Bank project to help over 5,000 people in Haiti, Brazil, the Philippines, and Indonesia earn a fair, sustainable income by collecting plastic waste. We continue to expand our impact via our partner Greenspark to support more projects like Hydroelectric Energy in Chile and improving cook stoves in Malawi to offset our carbon footprints. JulieMay Lingerie is making a big impact on the existing market and providing the best underwear in the allergy-free market.
How did the idea come to you for the company?
I started a few years ago when my mom gave birth to my little sister, and she developed rashes on her breasts. I was trying to find relief for her skin conditions but realised there is no such thing as allergy- friendly underwear on the market. I decided to start my brand to help women who, like my mum, struggle with their skin conditions. Although the journey was full of challenges, I feel rewarded when I receive customers’ feedback saying how grateful they are to find my brand.
What are the key successes?
We have made many achievements so far. The brand has been featured in the Guardian and Evening Standards and won the London Prestige Award 2022, the Best Lingerie Store of the Year. We have been selected as one of the top 100 most inspiring small rms by Business Saturday, the winner of Llyods x Foundervine Accelerator Dragon’s Den. And awarded the Most Promising Business of the Year by the Kent Invicta Chamber and the Kent Council. I am also honoured to be selected as one of the Natwest 100 female entrepreneurs to watch by the Telegraph and the Natwest Group.
We are partnered with the University of Portsmouth to support their research in Breast Health. And donated unused stock to charities like Uncommon Threads to help women in need. We also work with the Allergy UK org to raise awareness of skin allergies to the public. And I am looking to create so much more and give back to our female UK communities.
What are your plans now/for the future?
Market Penetration and Product Diversification
We are looking for an investment to keep growing in the UK and expand to the US and Canadian markets as we see a huge potential there.
We participated in the intimate apparel B2B show last week and were delighted to receive B2B orders from local retailers. We aim to make our collections more accessible in different physical locations.
We do digital marketing, such as Google Ads, FB, and Social Media Ads and collaboration with bloggers and influencers. Among them, Google ad performs the best. However, word of mouth and recommendations by friends and family contributes a big part to our sale. We will keep investing in our digital marketing to sell online.
We plan to partner with other businesses and charities to raise awareness of people with eczema and skin allergies and give back to the community. We are also working with different online marketplaces to expand our reach, to stock our products on their websites.
We are developing our new collections in men’s underwear, children’s underwear and women’s nightwear. We strive to keep our brand dynamic, inclusive and diverse.
With all the product development and marketing e orts, I am confident JulieMay will achieve sustainable growth
What would you like to share with others to encourage them to start their own entrepreneurship journey?
My advise is only plan a campaign with a strong customer focus, deliver engaging, interactive and informative content rather than selling.
I am grateful to have a group of very loyal customers passionate about the brand. They are willing to participate in any testing or fittings and keen to give feedback. I now collect all my customers’ feedback before I draft any marketing campaigns. They also tell me what size they need, what cup shape they want and what style/colour they want to add to our next collections. I collect all those suggestions for our designers before they start to design. We will adjust our sizing and product details according to their detailed feedback.
This is one of the lessons I have learnt. My brand is always evolving to customers’ needs.
Can you share your top tips for entrepreneurial success?
I believe that all businesses across all industries have two important pillars – Innovation and Marketing.
When I started in 2018, I barely had one sale in a month. I learned to talk to customers and listen carefully to what they want. I spent all my time researching the best fabric combination based on their feedback and source materials that will not trigger any irritation to the skins. I’m proud to say JulieMay Lingerie is the only brand that uses Certified Organic Pima Cotton with Pure Silk inner linings for underwear. And the only one to wrap all elasticated parts with a layer of Pima Cotton to avoid allergies and bras digging in. I studied and found a dyeing process and digital printing to avoid all the harmful chemicals, which allows me to create beautiful patterns that customers feel feminine and confident wearing.
Everything I’ve done so far has paid off and I will never stop moving forward. I will keep looking for innovation and material revolution in the intimate apparel industry.
What are your favourite inspirational /motivational quotes?
Every journey starts with a single step
Any books recommendation to entrepreneurs struggling with structure?
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
What are your Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn social handles and also website links so our readers can connect with you?
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