Shocked to discover that fashion is one of the most polluting industries in the world, Beth was inspired to launch her own brand, Hunter+Boo, a modern, ethical baby and childrenswear label that doesn’t compromise on style or personality.
What’s your story?
I’m Beth Medley, the Co-Founder of modern, ethical kidswear label, Hunter+Boo, originally from the UK, now living in Singapore. As someone who endeavors to make more conscious choices in my life for things like food and skincare, I realised I wasn’t doing the same with either mine or my kids’ wardrobe. As I researched the clothing industry I was really shocked to discover that fashion is one of the most polluting industries in the world! I struggled to find ethical clothing choices available here in Singapore and that’s where the idea for Hunter+Boo came from. The brand launched in late 2017 with the aim of providing beautiful, modern kidswear designs people can fall in love with, but can also feel great about buying.
What excites you most about your industry?
I am excited that the fashion industry is waking up to the need to rethink the entire way supply chains are managed in terms of becoming more open and transparent. This is one of our core values at Hunter+Boo and something I strongly believe in. Hunter+Boo proudly participated in this year’s annual Fashion Revolution Week Campaign, a hugely important initiative to raise awareness for garment workers and promotion of transparency in the industry, which was set up in the wake of the Rana Plaza tragedy, where in 2013 a garment factory collapsed in Bangladesh killing 1,134 people and injuring 2,500 . All players big or small within the industry need to accept their part in helping to improve transparency and it’s exciting to be championing this ourselves.
What’s your connection to Asia?
After nine years working in the City of London for a financial institution I was given the opportunity to move to Asia. I initially spent time in Hong Kong and moved to Singapore in 2008. I loved my corporate career and thrived on the pace and travel, however over time I became disconnected from the role and sought to focus on more creative pursuits. As luck would have it, shortly after becoming a mum, the opportunity arose to take a completely different path as an entrepreneur, one which, ultimately allows me the creativity and flexibility I craved.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Colombo in Sri Lanka, where our clothing is produced in a small, family-run factory. During our research to find a supplier, we discovered Sri Lanka has a strong framework in place to protect the workforce, and as we knew we wanted to go down an ethical production route, seemed a natural choice. I always look forward to our regular supplier visits to Sri Lanka and being given the opportunity to be so closely involved in the whole production process, we have had the great pleasure of building tight-knit relationships with the individuals and communities who form our team on the ground there.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Always have your elevator pitch ready and fine tuned. As an entrepreneur you never know where a conversation may lead and it will serve you well to have that pitch ready to go at any given time.
Who inspires you?
On a daily basis, my twin son and daughter who are the namesakes and double inspiration behind the brand. My father, who has successfully established and run many of his own businesses, you could say the entrepreneurial spirit is in my blood. I’m also inspired by so many amazing business leaders that I have had the pleasure to meet during my entrepreneurial journey so far, particularly those taking a conscious or ethical standpoint as the core values of their business, challenging the status quo.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Apparently it takes 2,700 litres of water to produce the cotton to make a single t-shirt, that’s how much we would drink over a three year period! These kinds of scary facts still amaze me as I delve deeper into the fashion industry and supply chains. I love that customers are genuinely interested to learn more about our production and supply chain. As consumers we have the power to make a difference; choose brands that share your values. There are so many amazing ethical businesses here in Singapore doing fantastic things – support local! Green is the New Black’s directory is a great starting point.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I am a strong believer that things happen in the way they do for a reason and generally aim to live without regrets. Having said that, I probably would tell my younger self to just go for it and take the plunge sooner to start my own business.
How do you unwind?
Spending time with my family, we love to get outside as it’s so easy to forget about nature and the planet when we live in a concrete jungle, so we work in regular visits to the beach and Singapore’s beautiful outdoor spaces. I also try to fit in a regular mindfulness practice through yoga and meditation. The Breathe app is great.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
It has to be Bali, where I was married. It gets better and better every time I visit, shopping and hip restaurants in Seminyak , laid back surf vibe in Canggu, culture and spirituality in Ubud or temples in Uluwatu, Bali certainly deserves it’s ‘island of the Gods’ moniker.
Everyone in business should read this book:
“The Universe Has Your Back” by Gabrielle Bernstein. This book is all about relinquishing control and overcoming fear. The only thing we ever really have control over in life is how we view a situation. I find the lessons so applicable to all aspects of life and from a business perspective, the message about connecting to your purpose really resonates with me.
Shameless plug for your business:
Hunter+Boo is a modern, ethical baby and childrenswear label that doesn’t compromise on style or personality. The label was founded in 2017 by my sister Sarah and I; we combine our love of nature, art and fashion with a desire to improve the lives of those who produce the collection. Our clothing line currently includes a range of dresses, rompers, tops & bottoms, bibs and blankets made with 100% super-soft, certified organic cotton and signature prints using eco-dyes. Every product is made with comfort in mind, from the cosy feel against the skin to the delicate screen printed inside labels.
How can people connect with you?
This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews
Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started,
built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.