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Wearable wellness.

How did it all begin?

When shopping for underwear, Founder of Nudea, Priya Downes was often left feeling uninformed and unsupported. After asking several friends about where to turn for reliable everyday pieces, she found that there weren’t many options at all and even less which were also kind to the planet.

This sparked Priya’s motivation to create her own line of bras and briefs designed with purpose and the perfect fit in mind, to create a brand with sustainable and ethical business practices at its core, only working with factories and suppliers who share this ethos and responsible outlook. To provide a solution to everyday underwear that is comfortable, easy to wear and supportive.

What sets your business apart?

Nudea is a thoughtful curation of underwear & sleepwear created from natural and recycled materials. Each piece is purposefully designed with the perfect fit in mind.

Born from a desire to offer the functional, the necessary and the purest form of comfort, we aim to provide the best foundations to support your unique personal style while ensuring that the layers closest to your skin feel the most supportive, comfortable and flexible.

What is the concept behind your business or the problem you’re solving?

We are passionate about leaving the world in a better way than we found it. It is this belief that inspires our sustainability practices and pledge to support our community of like-minded women by empowering our customer to make positive changes, no matter how small. For a more sustainable and balanced future. To create an understanding that this change starts with self-care. We are proud to be B Corp Certified.

Where to next/What is your brand vision?

While we use responsible materials, minimise our use of plastic, locally source our components to the assembly factory, monitor our carbon emissions and recycle our customers’ bras, this only scratches the surface.

We need to continue working with our manufacturers, customers and operators to create systemic change that is bigger than just one brand. It is the only way as an industry we can make a real change to move forward.

Priya Downes

Founder of

Nudea

What do you feel passionate about/what drives you?

My passion has always been focused on making positive changes to the world where possible but my love for the planet goes beyond my interest in driving change within the fashion industry as an avid beekeeper who also finds joy spending time in nature.

Share an example of early life that has shaped you?

Having grown up in Kenya where I witnessed poverty first hand, I was determined to make a positive change in the world and create a business which encompassed environmental and ethical responsibility.

Prior to my years of working in luxury fashion, I was part of a pioneering sustainability movement within The World Bank where I developed several initiatives to champion projects on environmental responsibility and fair trade fashion around the world. My dedication to encouraging a more conscious approach to fashion did not go unnoticed with The Washington Post penning me as a key change maker in the world of fashion at the age of 25.

Highlights of your business journey so far?

Becoming B Corp Certified was a huge moment for myself and Nudea. To be recognised as one of the few underwear brands taking accountability and driving such a positive change is something I am so proud of.

Key lessons you have learned along the way?

Hire a good accountant – cashflow is key in a business and you need someone keeping decisions on check this also helps you focus on what things really matter.

Best piece of advice you have received?

Focus on what you’re good at and fill the gaps you’re not so good at quickly by hiring great talent.

Advice to an aspiring entrepreneur or woman just starting her career?

Surround yourself with mentors you look up to, it’s important to have a person or even better a diverse group of individuals that will be open and honest about your goals. I run all my major decisions past mentors, they challenge you but are also your biggest champions. Often they can surprise and more often then help open doors for you.

What funding route have you chosen for your business and why?

Self, angel investors and Crowdfund. I have self funded the business since launch bringing in outside investors along the way. I have always wanted to remain lean and grow the business on good fundamentals (quality product, margin and profitability). In the challenging times we have lived through in the past 5 years, it’s even more important to go back to basics. I do hope to raise a bigger round in the future to really scale the business to the next level.

Some of the challenges you have faced and how you overcame them?

Fundraising – it’s a cliché but true. As a women raising for products designed for women, it’s been a rollercoaster trying to convince an investor community which is still dominated by men. Even our crowdfund was 70% men. I would love to see more women invest. I have been lucky to be in a position where I can back myself with funding and also proud that I still own the majority of my business.

Why is it important to support women-led business?

Because otherwise who will? Sadly there is still a gender bias that exists at board level and throughout senior leadership. Women-led businesses still get a tiny proportion of funding despite the fact new business growth is at its highest level – we need to support the next generation of women and we need to do so by setting an example.

60

Seconds

with

Priya Downes

My inspiration is...

I’m always amazed at the women breaking ceilings in male dominated industries for example Suzie Wolff and Jamie Chadwick, F1 drivers.

My greatest fear is...

Never trying. I’m not afraid of failure, my biggest fear is never having gone for it in the first place.

The most courageous thing I’ve ever done is...

Take the leap from a full time corporate job to start my own business.

Guilty pleasure?

Spending a day binge watching Netflix in my PJs.

Mantra you live by?

Eat well and take care of your body. Physical health contributes to mental health.

Female role model?

Trinny Woodall – love that she started a business later in life and wasn’t afraid to prove people wrong.

Women-led brand you love?

FLOWERBX.

Top productivity tool?

Fresh air and a calendar. It’s so easy to spend all day behind a computer - I find regular walks outside keeps my head focused and I am much more productive for it. My shared family calendar is my bible - I would be lost without it. With 3 kids, school activities, plays – pickups etc and running a business, it keeps me organised!

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