Young female entrepreneur leads UK’s number 1 baby clothing rental subscription
University of Manchester graduate Eve Kekeh is behind Bundlee, the disruptive concept that provides parents with a more affordable baby clothing solution, while reducing textile and energy waste.
Eve, 25, said the idea was developed after analysing the disruptive nature of businesses such as Netflix and Rent a Runway and thinking how this could be applied to challenge the rising cost burden on parents raising babies across the UK.
It takes 3,000 litres of water and 7 kg of carbon dioxide to make just one baby grow. When coupled with the rate at which babies outgrow clothes, it leads to a significant environmental impact.
Parents who join Bundlee receive a bundle of 15 high-quality, British-made cotton clothes. All of which comes in a reusable drawstring bag, ensuring every detail considers environmental sustainability as well as affordability.
After a three-month rental period, parents return outgrown clothes to Bundlee in a free return, biodegradable mailing bag and then receive the next size up, in line with their baby’s growth and the changing seasons.
Clothes are professionally cleaned and must pass quality control before being sent to the next renting family.
Eve - who received funding from The University of Manchester’s Innovation Company, UMI3 Ltd, through the UMIP Innovation Optimiser Programme and from other sources including Manchester Enterprise Centre's annual business start-up competition, Venture Further – said UK homes are full of 183 million items of outgrown baby clothing.
“The cost of raising a baby grows year on year,” said Eve. “In 2017, the cost of raising a baby in the first year was over £11,000. So, it’s not surprising that 60% of parents say they are struggling to cope financially.
“Baby clothes are a huge expense as babies grow incredibly fast, and often clothing items can only be worn a couple of times before they’re outgrown.”
Speaking about her idea, Eve, who previously worked for product management companies and a dating app firm, added: “The idea was conceived while I was travelling before starting the Master of Enterprise course at the Alliance Manchester Business School.
“I was thinking of ways we could consume more sustainably, and I wanted to help UK parents facing this growing problem. After speaking to more than 500 parents I soon realised that parents have drawers full of outgrown baby clothes. Basically, drawers full of wasted money. As many parents don’t know what to do with these perfectly wearable outgrown clothes, sadly one third are thrown in the bin.
“From that came Bundlee. And it’s an idea that stuck because it’s not only a financially sound business model with inbuilt recurring revenue, but also one that causes a positive societal and environmental impact. Every bundle rented saves 40,500 litres of water and 105kg of carbon dioxide.
“I also believe it’s vital to execute on ideas and the Innovation Optimiser Roadmap programme provides a fantastically well-thought through framework for this. I’ve recently been accepted on to the Centre for Fashion Enterprise (CFE) FashTech Pioneer Programme. As one of six fashion entrepreneurs, it will be exciting to see how the programme helps me to grow Bundlee and create further sustainable impact.”
More than 20 companies have now graduated through the UMIP Innovation Optimiser (IO) programme within three years.
IO director, Tony Walker said over £265,000 worth of support and awards have been provided by IO while 164 entrepreneurs from across The University of Manchester campus have engaged in the programme.
Tony said: “With Bundlee, Eve has created a special start-up that is already having a tremendous environmental and societal impact.
“She’s found our Roadmap programme particularly productive and enjoyed sharing knowledge and experiences with other young entrepreneurs who have engaged with IO.”
The UK Social Entrepreneur Index, sponsored by UBS, is a celebration of social entrepreneurship across the UK.
Open to social entrepreneurs tackling a social or environmental issue at any scale, entrants will act as beacons of inspiration for others to encompass positive social impact.
For more info visit www.socialentsindex.co.uk.
Published: 05 December 2018