Lucy Jeffrey (pictured above) runs Bare Kind, an online shop that sells bamboo socks. Here, we find out how she moved from side hustler to full-time entrepreneur, supported by a Bounce Back Loan from Starling.

Founded by Lucy Jeffrey in 2018, Bare Kind offers ten styles of bamboo socks, each themed with a different animal. Customers can choose from sock designs including turtles, penguins, bees, orangutans, leopards, elephants, rhinos, hedgehogs and rabbits.

Bare Kind donates 10% of profits to animal conservation charities that support the animals printed on each sock sold. For example, for every pair of orangutan socks sold, a donation is made to The Orangutan Foundation. The socks are sold through her website and Lucy, 26, runs the business from her home in London. Lucy commissioned the first range of sock designs and created the latest set herself.

From side hustler to full-time business owner

At first, Lucy ran Bare Kind as a side hustle. “My mum started helping me package and send socks leading up to Christmas 2018 and really enjoyed it. She’s carried on ever since,” says Lucy.

In November 2020, Lucy left her job to run the business full-time. “I spent quite a few months going back and forth on my decision but ultimately, once I had it in my mind that I could quit, I couldn’t stay. I had already validated the business and knew it worked.”

Since then, she’s been able to dedicate more energy to promoting her business. She’s now making more than she did from her office job, even after paying a freelance digital marketer who manages paid advertising and SEO, two interns who help with PR and marketing and her mother.

The Bare Kind team has recently secured a number of interviews and features in local newspapers and online magazines as a result of pitching to journalists.

Bare Kind offers ten sock designs and donates 10% of profits to animal charities

Banking with Starling

Lucy’s decision to go full-time was partly supported by the Bounce Back Loan she received through Starling. “When the first lockdown hit, I completely shut down operations. I didn’t want my mum to put herself at risk by going to the post office to post the socks,” she says.

“It meant that I had no sales for a few months but that’s when my partner asked if I’d thought about getting a Bounce Back Loan. It was a stress-free process and it really helped me kick start the business and boost sales with paid advertising.”

Lucy has banked with Starling from the beginning. “I already had a personal account with Starling and I didn’t think about going anywhere else for business banking - the app is so easy,” she says. She especially likes the Starling integration with Xero, which helps her manage her bookkeeping. She also uses the Starling Spaces feature to organise her savings. “I’ve earmarked money for new stock, paying the factory and paying tax.”

All Bare Kind packaging is plastic free and compostable. Lucy will also be looking into carbon off-setting as part of her business goals for this year.

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