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Defining a new category, inventing products for women & using obsession to fuel resilience with Boob Armour’s Suzie Betts



Hello everyone and welcome back to the show! It’s Doone here - your host and hype girl. A big shout out to everyone who’s been joining the FB group to share stories, ask questions and get to know each other. I love that vibe and it makes me so happy getting to know more of you so if you’re not already chiming in, come hang out with us on Facebook.


Today we’re learning from Suzie Betts - she is the founder of a company called Boob Armour. Suzie started her company after finding lumps in her breast as a result of playing contact sports throughout her life. And now as a mum of two daughters who play contact sports she wanted to set out to create safety gear for women and girls. It’s a really interesting episode and we talk a lot about how she’s approaching partnerships with major clubs like the Matilda’s right through to retail and schools and everything in between.


Let’s get into today’s episode, this is Suzie for Female Startup Club.


FOUNDER STORY:

  • In my late 40s I found lumps in my right breast and when I went to my breast surgeon she asked me if i’d ever received a trauma or injurty from something like sports, huh? 

  • I had more testing which showed more lumps in my left breast and I had to have biopsies and two lots of surgery to find out that I didn’t have breast cancer 

  • You can’t get breast cancer from a trauma but the trauma can mimic cancer cells, meaning you have to go and get them tested 

  • I came home and asked my daughters who both play sports if they ever get hit in the boobs and they like: “yeah ofcourse we do”. Lightbulb moment!!!

  • It was just 2020 and there was barely any research on this at the time, and only very particular vests and t-shirt garments that would protect the breasts

  • Doing research I came up with the idea of capsulation inserts that would be made to the breast size to be the best way to protect the boobs 


THE MONEY PIECE


I thought I needed $10,000. I did a website (which probably cost that), I paid for the samples along the way, but even to this day we’ve entirely bootstrapped. I probably went into this super naive. Now have the EDMG grant for exporting. June last year landed a partnership with Rebel Sport.


THE LAUNCH: we were due to launch March 2020 but I started getting the feeling we should hold off because of covid, so we did. Thank gosh! This gave us the chance to do our patents and copyrighting. We changed our strategy to go into retail due to the pandemic, because otherwise we were aiming football clubs (but that became hard during COVID). We really hit it off with Rebel Sport “this is great let’s trial it in 30 stores and go from there”. But then he just ghosted me. Fell off the face of the earth. Then last April I reached out again and he put me on to the buyer and then we went into store. Before that in 2020 we made XXX. We’re going into intersport this year.



THE MARKETING PIECE


What’s working, what’s not (especially when it comes to the educational piece): ambassadors are key - influential athletes have been amazing. It’s not about elite athletes wearing it, but it’s influencing the grassroots girls. That has been amazing. SEO hasn’t worked for us because the key-words weren’t there. A lot of the digital advertising has missed the spot, so we’re sort of taking a step back. I just want one billboard! Because it’s such a good talking point. Picking curiosity. 


How do you balance taking care of yourself and your brain? Daily walks, tennis. Getting back into sports not just for the mental side but for the physical side. 


If you were to start a new business tomorrow, what would you do the same and what would you do differently? If you want instant cash, don’t try to create a new market. Knowing what you know, doing what you do is an easier way to start a business - but you’ve got to be obsessed with the problem you’re solving and the customer you’re solving it for.

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