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by Trisha Mee
If anyone can spot a red hot business idea, it’s entrepreneur and Shark Tank investor, Naomi Simson. And spot she did when Vanessa Babuin who appeared on an episode of Shark Tank Australia which aired last season, sought investment for her business Sonsee Woman - a high-quality hosiery range for curvy women.
Naomi invested $80k for a 20% stake in the business and now eighteen months on, we caught up with Vanessa to find out more about the brand, what she’s learnt and what’s next for Sonsee Woman.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself and what you were doing before starting Sonsee Woman.
I always loved fashion, photography and the arts. I finished a diploma in design at university and completed my apprenticeship making wedding dresses and couture. I then joined a large organisation and in an eight year period moved through quality assurance, production and product development roles in high volume fashion. My husband and I wanted to start a family and I thought it would be a good idea to do something from home for flexibility.
2. How did the idea for Sonsee Woman come about and what makes your hosiery different?
In my previous job, I was supplying retailers with high-quality, private label products out of Italy, and through my travels, I noticed that no one was catering for the curvy customer, particularly when it came to hosiery. The hosiery on the market was tight and controlling with unattractive gusset panels, so I set out to design something better with the curvy woman in mind.
The point of difference is in the technology we use to manufacture our hosiery, the materials and the design elements. We want to create products that our customers can feel free in - free of limitations of choice, comfort and quality.
3. Tell us about the moment you sold your first Sonsee Woman hosiery.
We sold our first pair after one hour of our website going live. It was such an exciting moment, I rang the customer to thank them for their purchase. I think she was a bit shocked to get the call!
4. What has been the most challenging and most rewarding moment in the Sonsee journey?
The most challenging part to date has been the marketing and branding of the business. There’s so much to consider from social media, blogging, packaging and logo design, not to mention the huge financial commitment. That’s where Naomi’s influence and guidance has boosted my confidence and given me the belief to commit financially to some of these strategies.
The most rewarding moment has been every time a customer reaches out to us with positive feedback and shares their life-changing stories. It gives us such a kick!
5. What do you think is the secret behind Sonsee Woman’s growing success?
We don’t only listen to our customers, we hear them. Working collaboratively with our customers not only helps us predict the products they deserve and desire, but binds us to a community joined by shared experience.
6. What's next? Are there any new products in the pipeline?
With the help and guidance from Naomi, we are now polishing our brand message, logos and look so we can capture, communicate and connect with our customers in a new and exciting way.
Later this year we are also launching Sonsee Active, and in true Sonsee fashion, it will be a high-quality range, made from the best materials and provide the great fit our customers have come to expect.
For more information visit, Sonsee Woman
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