Young Innovators Success Stories: Tabby Bunyan, Re_considered, London
The past year has seen Tabby both learn a great deal and have ‘amazing experiences’ as the Founder of Re_considered. At 21, she found out about the Innovate UK and The Prince’s Trust Young Innovators Awards and everything changed.
For Tabby, the Covid-19 lockdown proved to be a life pivot and was instrumental in sparking the idea for her innovative business, aimed at tackling the fast fashion industry.
Lockdown came as Tabby was completing her university degree in Spanish and Film Studies. While at home she rediscovered her love of sewing and upcycling, which she had been doing on and off since she was 15, but never envisioned it would become her full-time job.
She began by helping her friends and posting on social media items she was making for herself out of old things lying around, soon attracting followers and her first customers.
At 21, she found out about the Innovate UK and The Prince’s Trust Young Innovators Awards and everything changed. “Being successful in my application and starting the programme is what gave me the confidence to seriously think about the next steps in turning it into a business,” she says.
Creating a movement
The past year has seen Tabby both learn a great deal and have ‘amazing experiences’ as the Founder of Re_considered.
She has partnered with established organisations and other creators working within the sustainability sector; created three mini collections out of pre-loved materials that have proved very popular; been part of a pop-up shop in Shoreditch, East London; and as the pandemic receded, offered her upcycling service in person for the first time.
She says, “All these milestones have enabled the brand to grow organically, spread its word and mission, and join a community of like-minded people striving to slow down the fashion industry. People from around the world are visiting the website, enquiring about custom upcycles, and joining the Re_considered movement. It has been a pleasure to witness.”
Her increased sales have also led her to be able to hire two part-time members of staff, a seamstress and a marketing assistant, and the team of three will soon grow to four with an intern joining in the near future.
For Tabby, winning the Award gave her the cash boost she needed to grasp every opportunity that came her way, with the ability to outsource some of the upcycling proving invaluable.
“Without that kind of support it can be hard to just take the leap and spend the money, in the hope that it will be worth it later. There are lots of things I would have restrained from doing without the grant and am so thankful I had it there to ensure that I took any opportunity that came my way,” she says.
The additional business support she has received through the programme has proved instrumental in Tabby building her confidence. Working closely with her mentor, she has upskilled in areas such as business planning, time management, and marketing strategies.
The KTN-led bootcamps gave her introductions to elements of running a company that previously seemed impossible to tackle without a business background.
“The programme is great for many different reasons, but I think the most important one is the confidence boost it provides and the opportunity to really go for it in terms of making your idea happen.”
“It’s always a risk going out and pursuing an idea you have, and can seem incredibly daunting, but with the encouragement of such a great programme and the people involved – your mentor, the others in your cohort, the guest speakers at the bootcamp – you can actually make it happen.”
Tabby’s ultimate goal is to flip fashion upside down. Rather than consumers leaving their homes empty-handed hoping to buy new items, she hopes they bring existing products to stores and then return with them fully transformed.
With Tabby’s mother Samantha Bunyan recently being recognised as an Innovate UK Women in Innovation Award Winner 2020/21, innovative ambition runs through the family and Tabby has exciting plans for the coming months. She hopes to onboard more upcyclers and seamstresses as well as reach a wider audience through more in-person appearances.
A major milestone will also be her first physical store which she plans to open in the near future to provide a shop front for her products and service.
She says, “Time management is still a little difficult and finding the energy to get through the long lists of things to do can get very overwhelming, but I believe I’m only at the start of the journey and have a lot to learn.”
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