interviews & case studies

Lizzie Gordon from B.X.M on creating an empowering brand vision

Lizzie Gordon, founder of B.X.M, discusses the highs and lows on starting a sustainable activewear company

I’m Lizzie Gordon, CEO and founder of B.X.M, the UK’s first (and only) British-made and sustainable sports bra brand exclusively for bigger cup sizes. Passionate about people and the planet, all of our bras are made from 100% recycled fabric by a small female owned and run factory outside London. Our mission is to make anyone who wears one of our bras feel like they can be and do anything. 

What making an impact means to me

As a bigger boobed woman myself, I’ve never really felt seen or understood by many of the sustainable activewear brands out there – I think this is true for many of us more buxom gals. So, for me, making an impact is creating a brand that specifically caters to their needs as sustainably and ethically as possible. 

Some of our customers say they could cry because they are so happy to have finally found a bra (and a brand) tailored to them – meaning they don’t have to compromise on comfort, support or their ethics. Those moments are when I feel like I’ve created something that is having an impact on people in a positive and empowering way. 

My eureka moment for B.X.M

I created my own (tiny) collection as part of a lingerie design course at the London College of Fashion.

It opened my eyes to the idea and dream that I had to create a sustainable sports bra brand for people like me was something that I could feasibly do. Until then, I’d listened too much to the little voice in my head telling me to leave it up to other bigger brands to create. 

Completing that course gave me the basis for the pieces I wanted to create and the fabric I wanted to use and was generally the springboard for me to get cracking with building the brand and the bras. 

How I validated my idea

A lot of testing and research!

I did some initial research on the idea. Were people interested in it? What sorts of things would they like to see? What were their main gripes with their current sports bra? The lot.

I then took all of this information and built much of it into the designs. Drawing on my own experience and what the women we researched had said, to try and solve some of the common problems so many people have with their sports bras.  

We did about 5 or 6 rounds of testing and prototyping for our medium and high-impact bras. We needed to get real women to test them in real situations, as these were the people testing them in the long run. 

So our team of 4 testers put each bra through its paces in various workouts, from running to HIIT, spinning, and yoga, to ensure they fit for purpose. 

One failure I am glad I experienced

I feel like I’ve done much failing over the last year or so whilst building the business, so choosing one feels tough. 

I also feel glad that I experienced them all (as corny as that sounds). Starting and running my business has been a very steep and exciting learning curve, and I feel like every failure I’ve experienced has had something to teach me in some way. 

The one that stands out to me is having to rebrand the business due to a trademark issue. It wasn’t necessarily an expensive failure. But I remember it being one of the first times I gave in to the little negative voice and felt like I didn’t know what I was doing and should give up now. 

Thankfully, I didn’t, but the failure I felt over making a silly mistake and not checking the trade mark register before starting the business taught me some valuable lessons. 

A piece of industry advice I disagree with

To succeed, you should constantly be working on and thinking about your business. As someone who has tried to do this, I can tell you it is exhausting. 

I’m a big believer in making sure you are making time for yourself.

I could work 16 hours daily on B.X.M. (and there are points pre-launch that I did), but I wouldn’t be giving it the best of myself. 

I need some downtime each day where I’m not actively thinking about or working on my business to give my brain a rest. Often, in these moments, the cogs will still be turning, and an idea or solution to a problem I’d been stressing about to do with my business will come to me. 

We believe there is a particular way that starting and running a business should look from the outside, and nine times out of 10, that isn’t the reality. So if your business doesn’t always measure up to the set ideals, then you can feel like you’re failing. 

One habit I swear by to help with work-life balance

No phones in the bedroom – my partner doesn’t always stick with this, but it’s something that I live by.

As someone who does about 60-70% of my business on my phone, physically not having it in the room with me is a significant catalyst in being able to switch it off at the end of the day. 

It also means I’m less likely to check it when I wake up. 

A book that has a special place in my heart

Business-wise, either Do Open or Do Purpose – both by David Hieatt. Not only are they a fantastic lesson in building and growing your business, but they are also a guide on making it more human. Something that I feel is missing in so many bigger companies today. 

From a personal perspective, The Time Traveller’s Wife is one that I’ve read multiple times. I love the play on a more traditional love story between Henry and Clare, with this additional supernatural complication and factor. It taught me to appreciate how precious life and time are and to savour those moments of joy. 

What’s next

I think the next 12-18 months will be full of exciting things for B.X.M. and, hopefully, a good chunk of growth. 

I’ve got many plans for later this year, including a couple of new products in the pipeline that fills even more gaps in the fuller bust market for anyone looking for more sustainable options. 

I’m also planning on doing a few more in-person pop-ups and possibly even planning our very own B.X.M event – so watch this space and keep your eyes peeled if you’re London based!

Lizzie is the founder of B.X.M, a new sustainable sports bra brand exclusively for bigger busts. To check out the full range of bras and learn more about the brand visit their website.

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