Two best friends from Llangrannog, Ceredigion, have turned lockdown stress into business success by setting up a sustainable sleepwear brand during the pandemic and are already working on their second collection.
Bella Mossman, 24, and Ffion Boyesen, 25, have known each other since they were babies and, despite going to university at different ends of the country, have come together to create HUNA, a sleepwear brand using handmade and sustainable linen, crafted in Wales.
Bella and Ffion started their business with the help of Big Ideas Wales, part of Business Wales and funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government. The service is aimed at anyone between the age of 5 and 25 who wants to develop a business idea, including students and graduates.
Talking about how HUNA originated, Bella said: “After growing frustrated about our own pyjamas, we realised that there was a gap in the market for pyjamas that are designed for a better night’s sleep that also focused on being sustainable and made in the UK.”
Available to buy on HUNA’s online store, Bella and Ffion’s first collection includes two sleepwear sets; a long sleeve top with full length trousers and a shorts and vest set. The most recent addition to the collection is a bedtime eye mask that is made from the off-cuts of the natural linen and biodegradable eco elastic, along with dead-stock black silk and hand knitted wool, in a further effort to be sustainable. The collections starts from £35.
Growing up in rural Wales, the young entrepreneurs wanted their Welsh roots to be at the heart of the business by sourcing all the materials as close to home as possible and using local craftsmanship to make all of their products.
Ffion said: “Incorporating sustainability into every aspect of the business, from the fabric and elastic to the biodegradable packaging, has been a priority for us from the start. We are proud to call Wales our home so we wanted to keep all elements of the product as local as possible, even our labels are 100% organic and come from a company in South Wales.”
Despite dreaming up the idea a couple of years ago, the first lockdown period of the coronavirus pandemic gave the girls the time they needed to get HUNA off the ground.
With Bella’s psychology and business degree and Ffion’s costume design degree from Newcastle and Bournemouth University respectively, their pairing was designed for success with Bella focusing on the business and admin side of the enterprise while Ffion takes on the role of designer and creative direction.
Bella and Ffion have received support from the youth entrepreneurship service Big Ideas Wales to launch HUNA. Talking about the service, Bella said: “We heard about Big Ideas Wales through my mum’s friend who put us in touch with a business advisor, Samantha Allen.
“Samantha was super supportive, giving valuable advice on everything from writing the business plan to knowing the risks to be aware of. We also completed a social media and digital skills course which was free. Starting a business during the lockdown meant that we relied on social media to grow, so the course was really useful and definitely contributed to the success of our first launch, selling 30 pre-ordered sets.”
Samantha Allen, Big Ideas Wales business advisor, said: “It’s fantastic to see how Bella and Ffion have managed to launch a successful business in just a few months. They’ve spotted a gap in the market and have used the downtime they faced during the pandemic to kick start their business. I have high hopes for the duo and can see their business going from strength to strength.”
Talking about future ambitions for their sleepwear brand, Ffion said: “We’re currently doing loads of research on natural dyes so that we can offer new colours and products while staying true to our sustainable designs.”
Bella added: “It would be great to one day have our own studio and partner with local colleges to provide young people work experiences opportunities.”
For information about HUNA sleep go to: https://www.hunasleep.co.uk/
Has this inspired you to kick start your business idea? Visit www.bigideas.wales to get started