“We have designed a product that is effective, discreet and is everything we set out for it to be…”
Halto started when Lerryn went shopping for a holiday bikini and found the golden unicorn of bikinis; beautiful fabric, gorgeous styling, in the sale AND in her size. The only thing that made her buxom heart sink was that it was a halter neck, and she has 32H boobs. That was not a happy combination. “Surely there must be something out there that solves this problem. I can’t be the only one that suffers with this!” And with her sister Lucy she set out to create MyHalto, a innovation in halter necks.
What motivates you to innovate in your industry?
We both believe that women should feel amazing and know that part of that is being able to wear what they love. We set up Halto with a foundation of female empowerment to enable women to embrace their shape and not be confined to swimwear they don’t like because of the pain it gives them. Women are held to impossible beauty standards all the time and we just want women to feel comfortable and confident in the body they have. Alongside Halto we are developing new products that will also help women to feel confident, and have a strong message through blogging and social media of female empowerment. One of the things we love most about Halto are the messages we get from people who have felt amazing because of either the product and being able to wear the bikini they love, or have been touched by some of the personal stories we have shared around our own struggles with body image. It is that knowledge that we are helping women in a small way feel better that makes us want to continually grow the range of products we have and continue empowering women.
What’s the innovation you’re most proud of?
We are incredibly proud of the product that we have. Although it is only small, we spent 3 years designing and testing it before bringing it to market. We had never done anything like this process before and so it was a steep learning curve for us. Managing to bring this to market alongside the challenges of raising young families and full time jobs was definitely a challenge and one we are exceptionally proud of because we have designed a product that is effective, discreet and is everything we set out for it to be.
What or who inspires you?
We are inspired by so many people. Local Cornish business women such as Michéle Poynter of Mish Online and Lucy Jewson of Frugi, who are incredible businesswomen running national businesses from Cornwall that they have built up themselves from nothing. We have had some incredible mentors along the way who have all inspired us in different ways and Halto wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for those amazing people. For example Rob and Ouvrielle Holmes, who founded the Gro Company, inspired us to give anything a go and off the back of that we have successfully Crowdfunded, been on Dragons Den and done countless things that we never would have given a go if it wasn’t for them. We are also inspired by celebrities such as Ashley Graham, who speaks eloquently and bluntly about body image and how to love yourself, and Emma Watson who has spoken comprehensively about issues relating to female empowerment across the world. We are also continually inspired by our children and the desire to be good role models for them.
What industry change was the biggest to you in the last few years?
We are still fairly new and so as yet there haven’t been many industry changes that have impacted us. However, Brexit is already impacting our import and export costs and we anticipate that it will also affect the industry and the process by which we are able to export Halto, so we are watching this space carefully.
How did you overcome it?
Watch this space!
What industry challenge would you most like to solve?
One of the biggest issues within the swimwear industry is the poor fit of swimwear for normal body types. Although it is improving with the introduction of cup sized swimwear, generally the fit is still left lacking compared to underwear. This impacts women in how they feel and how confident they are. Whereas women are confident and comfortable moving around in underwear, swimwear tends to lead women to be more guarded, either because they are uncomfortable or because they feel less secure in it. And generally the more secure the swimwear, the less flattering it tends to be. Halto enables women to be more comfortable in swimwear and tie straps up tighter to feel more secure. However I think long term we would love to be able to look at swimwear designs and how to make them more flattering and better fitting for women.
What’s the best piece of advice you could give to a fresh innovator starting out in your industry?
The best advice I could give would be to firstly thoroughly research your market. Make sure there is a market for what you are trying to sell before investing too much time, money or energy into it. Secondly, to take risks where you need to. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there if it means you will sink or swim. It is always better to fail fast than be too conservative and never make the impact that you need to.
Do you have any particular routines that help you find inspiration?
As we both work fairly independently from our respective homes it can be difficult to really be inspired on our own. Whenever we get together and talk through our ideas and progress of the week we never fail to have a fresh burst of energy and feel motivated for the week ahead, so we try to have a few hours each week where it is just us to really look at the direction of the next week and what we need to achieve.
What does the future hold for your business? What products or innovations do you have in the pipeline?
We have big ambitions I think its fair to say! We have a few new products in the pipeline that we are currently working on and are are working on a really big project that you will have to watch this space for I’m afraid!
What technologies do you think will shape the future of your industry?
I think that innovations like Halto will put the focus on improving the fit and design of swimwear, allowing more women to feel confident when wearing it.
What do you think will be the next big thing in your industry this year?
I think the shift towards focussing on what real women want in swimwear will transform the range available over the next few years. Already we are seeing more plus-size models and less photoshopping in images, giving a more realistic idea of how women look in real life and starting to break down the myth of the perfect body.
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