Ghap Shap: Women of Influence – Farnaz Khan
FitBritches – The name has been creating ripples in the textiles industry andwomen simply can’t stop talking about one of UK’s leading brands for feminine shapewear.
We caught up with founder and inventor of FitBritches, Farnaz Khan, who has had an interesting journey since the products launch, to being on Dragons Den and today becoming a household name.
Tell us about your invention FitBritches. Interesting name for a business?
I initially did a branding exercise with a branding expert who came up with the brand 8 as it represents the female silhouette. Prior to launching I did a lot of research to get feedback on the brand and found not many people got the brand in the first instance. Having a marketing background I knew that was commercial suicide. So I started researching alternative names for pants when I came across the old term “breeches”. The whole concept is based on looking and feeling fit, and I wanted a brand people can engage with, have fun with, talk about, so Fit Britches was born and the rest is history.
A brand is your business identity and if done properly should be a means to draw brand awareness. I’d like to think we do that pretty well as we hook, draw attention and have got the press and consumers talking everywhere.
What were you doing before FitBritches and what made you take the risk to launch your own invention?
I have a background in tech. I started off with a marketing business at the height of the dot com boom – in summary I created a permission based marketing company which helped connect brands with new consumers. I did a range of niche activities at the time, e.g. set up one of the first viral app games which hit top 10 worldwide viral charts, developed strategic relationships with other media owners and through my own online properties reached 20m consumers in the UK, represented Britain on its first mission to New York participating in round tables with the likes of Blackberry, Pepsi, Delliiotes and more. I then delved into the world of textiles, uniting tech with my heritage after having 4 children, accumulating 4 dress sizes and battling with low self esteem. I experimented with a lot of stuff and developed a range of fabrics making them hydrophobic, infused with ingredients e.g. vit E and scents, and did a private label development of a European retail chain.
Fit Britches® is now an award winning range of shapewear and body shapers clinically proven to help firm loose skin and improve the appearance of cellulite in just 30 days. The products have been widely seen in the Press: Daily Mail, Sunday Post, Bella Magazine, Good Morning America, This Morning, featured on British Television and worn by celebrities including Khloe Kardashian, Jessie J and many more. Fit Britches made the finalist UK Lingerie Awards for BEST Shapewear brand of the year award, and the UK’s hottest start ups 100 list. To date Fit Britches control pants has shipped to 50+ countries, our mission is to “reshape” the world.
Can people buy FitBritches outside of the UK?
Yes! We ship worldwide and have served customers in over 50 different countries worldwide.
Where is your business heading now? What’s next?
We’re looking to grow our product lines and expand into new markets.
What or who has been your greatest influence in business and why?
My mum, she has been a rock and great inspiration to me. My mum has grafted, worked hard all her life, juggled family, work and adversity. My mum had no one. She taught me to work hard with integrity, honour and do things off my own back.
What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?
Getting worldwide press coverage on how I went from a dress size 14 to 8 with Fit Britches. As a result we sold out and had back orders from customers worldwide.
We’ve also gained a number of high profile celebrity features including Khloe Kardashian, Jessie J and more. Fit Britches made the UK Lingerie Awards finalist for Best Shapewear Brand of the Year Award and made the hottest startups 100 list.
How do you juggle family life with running an international business? How do you keep the balance?
You have to have strong discipline and good time management just as you would at home, but with an extra load. I take a lot of my work home and sacrifice a lot of sleep to run a tight ship.
You’ve won and been nominated for many awards over the years, what do they mean to you?
It’s always humbling to be recognized and it makes the hard work worthwhile. It’s also a shining moment for my family, for me it’s about creating great memories we can treasure and having a positive impact on society. When your journey inspires other people in a positive way to do something with their lives and change it for the better, that feeling is priceless as you know you are making a positive difference and its impact is invaluable.
Business shouldn’t just be about profit but purpose and the impact you can have on others.
What one thing have you learned as a business owner that has served you well over the years?
Always trust your gut instincts – they know more than you think.
What advice would you offer anyone who is sat on an invention and doesn’t know how to take it to market?
Do your homework (lots of research), understand your market, value proposition, channel to markets and evaluate your industry/competition too. Businesses never plan to fail but they do fail to plan.
What are your views on the EU? Should we stay or leave? And why?
I say stay in. It’s easier to trade as a single entity to the rest of the world as we have one set of regulations, tax rules, postage rate (crucial for us as we serve customers everywhere) etc. I think separating will cause a major issue and it could have a drastic impact on the markets. Secondly we have to consider skills, the tech sector has to draw in skills from everywhere as there is a massive shortage but the sector is growing so we need skilled people to sustain it. The same applies to other sectors like nursing, medicine (consider the impact on our health service as there is already a massive shortage) teaching and more e.g. jobs people don’t want to do. I also feel when people of different backgrounds collaborate it fosters innovation which is key for growth. The other thing to consider is that at the moment it’s an idea and we’re voting on an idea not a complete exit plan, which I find quite daunting. If we vote out there will be a transition period; no one really fully knows how this will impact everybody, industry etc and how or what will need to take place. There isn’t really a blueprint to say this is what exiting means and how it will affect you personally – and let’s face it, everyone will somehow be affected. The markets have an impact on the banks, inflation etc which has a knock on effect – you get the picture.
Finally, what’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to our readers.
“Have faith” if you don’t have faith in yourself how do you expect others to have faith in your business, services or products?
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