Lucy Jeffrey: Founder of Bare Kind – Ep. 70

Video Episode:

About Lucy Jeffrey & Bare Kind:

Lucy Jeffrey, founder of Bare Kind. When the pandemic hit, Lucy did what any sane, rational, intelligent person would do: she quit her stable job and founded a bamboo sock company to help save endangered animals.

No? Not everyone did that? Huh. Welll… Lucy Jeffrey did, and that’s why she’s not your typical person. In just a few years, her company’s saved hundreds of acres of rainforest, helped thousands of turtles, saved dozens of rhinos and a whole lot more.

Discover how lucy was able to turn a (very) small pandemic loan into the mission-driven business that changed her life forever.

She’s been able to do an enormous amount of good while building a company that has changed her life personally for the better. She’s proof that when everybody else zigs you should seriously consider zoinking.

Full Unedited Audio Conversation:

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2:51 – “I joined the graduate program after I left university. So pretty standard path to start with, school, uni, grad scheme. It seemed like the normal thing to do, so I quite enjoyed it, it was fine, but it didn’t kind of light any fires underneath me.”

3:29 – “I wanted to start something that gave something back to the planet. I started by selling various different kind of sustainable goods. So I didn’t start with the socks that I’m on now, but I had reusable straws, recycled T-shirts, that kind of thing, and eventually landed on socks, because I wanted to bring out a product that had this charity model. So the premise of the product is 10 percent of the profits from each pair of socks is donated to the animal on the sock.”

5:10 – “I actually ended up quitting my job at the end of 2020, but I think the pandemic helped with that because it was the bit of: well, anything could happen in the world right now, so if I don’t take the leap now, will I ever? And I haven’t looked back. I’ve just done over a year full time on the business and I feel amazing.”

7:04 – “You you could go into it thinking 10 percent isn’t that much, it’s just a pair of socks. That might be if you buy one pair of socks, but then I’m looking at everyone in the world I want to buy my socks. So 10 percent of that is a lot.”

8:48 – “So I took out a fairly small loan actually, it was about 3,000 pounds, but you could take up to 50k. So it was a small amount and I just threw it all straight into Facebook ads. I was like, right let’s go for it. And we had one particular ad, and it was the orangutans actually that smashed it, did really, really well, like ten times what we normally do. And I was like, huh! OK, maybe I’m onto something.It was just kind of enough of a confidence boost to allow me to just say, OK, there’s something here. If I don’t go all in and and quit my job and go for it full time then maybe I won’t be able to grow this to what it could potentially be.”

10:44 – “I just sort of fell into it. I knew I didn’t actually want to carry on doing biology because it seemed like a path into kind of teaching and research. At that point, I didn’t really fancy that, and I panicked a bit. I actually applied to do a masters at the same university. And in doing so, I applied for like a finance master’s because I like that broadens my horizons, I’ll just do that.”

12:14 – “…it started getting, not worse, but I started to notice the corporate side of it like how hard it is to do things. You can’t change anything. You can have such a tiny impact. You’re a tiny cog in a massive machine.”

14:00 – “There’s only so far you can take it, doing both [a job and building your business]. I think at some point you’re going to have to take the jump unless doing both is quite comfortable for you. If you really want to grow a business and take it global, you’re not going to be able to both.”

14:40 – “The reusable straws was my first product, I got them from Alibaba, actually, which is the Chinese marketplace where you can find all kinds of products online, so it wasn’t the most sustainable way to start, I have to admit.”

17:19 – “I have one point of contact [for my supplier] from the very beginning, and he’s just been very supportive and, you know, he’s either very good at sales or I do genuinely feel like they’re very invested in my company, what I’m doing as well. Because yeah, having that relationship is key, and if you have a bad supply relationship, it can really put a spanner in the works so fast.”

22:40 – “Sometimes I sit back and be like, I was actually quite close to not carrying this on. You know, it’s kind of scary, to think how close I came.”26:26 – “…the key thing is I probably wouldn’t have spent my own money then. I would not have put £3000 of my own money into Facebook. But because it was… £3000 and it’s free for a year and then I can start paying it back. It was a no brainer.

40:43 – “You actually take your time to sit down and look at your impact, it’s almost more meaningful in that way, because you’ve been so busy doing everything in the year, you kind of forget about it because it’s your objective to save more animals but then once you actually sit back and reflect on it, you’re like “yes” that’s amazing—this is why we’re doing it.”

50:40 – “I’ve had those doubts. Well, it’s just socks. But I guess the way I’m doing it is working. So I say, if anyone out there listening who’s had that too-simple-business-idea, that you should just do it. I mean, I’m not the only sock company. I’m not the only company that’s got this profit donation, but I’m still doing well from it.”

54:02 – “A lot of people would be like averse to this kind of change and it’s nerve wracking. But I think once you make that leap and you just start something… It’s easy to look at my journey and be like, Wow, she’s gone from this to quitting her job to now aiming for a million. But it didn’t start that way.”

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