When Bonnie showed her Bonbon bra and pants to staff at Scottish Design Exchange’s (SDX) store in Glasgow’s Buchanan Galleries, (she wasn’t wearing them at the time) it took just seconds to see that they were a sure fire winner. Not only is Bonnie’s new design underwear made from the best quality bamboo, it is Über comfortable and has no metal clasps or wire underpinnings.
”It feels so beautiful against the skin, is hyperallergenic and offers brilliant support, says Bonnie. “In fact, you would scarcely know you were wearing them.” Now she wants to sell exclusively through SDX. “This business ticks all my boxes, she explains. “The model is ethical as well as successful and the fact that sales revenue goes directly to the artists and creators is amazing.”
It was after Bonnie underwent a breast reduction operation that the idea first sprung to mind. “The wiring on my bra was cutting into me – especially around the area that had been stitched. Many women have since told me of their discomfort with traditionally made bras (some even talked about being stabbed by rogue wires). Add to that, the pressure to wear vanity sizes. I worked in Marks & Spencer a few years ago – a job I absolutely loved. I saw there how women tended towards bras that were ill-fitting and fashionable rather than functional. My epiphany moment came when I recalled buying and wearing Bamboo socks during my years living in Germany. I loved the material. Could I? Of course, I could. That’s when I set out to design a bra that avoided all the pain points I, and so many other women, have experienced.”
“Then on a search to source the very best quality Mosso Bamboo (that is the very best), I found a company in Wales that imported from Turkey, ethically sourced Bamboo of the exceptionally high quality I needed and was fully GOTS certifiied (Global Organic Textile Standard). I then discovered Beyonder in the east end of Glasgow – this is a brilliant not-for-profit organisation that specialises in helping designers who use ethically sourced organic fibre to manufacture in small or large batches and pays the living wage to local women.
“That was the final piece in the jigsaw – aside that is, from market testing the product. All my female friends were recruited to wear Bonbon and come back with their views. The result was a resounding thumbs-up.”
Bonnie is a whirlwind of positive energy and just a few minutes in her company is enough to convince you of her fearless intelligence. Here is an entrepeneur ready to shake Scotland – then the World. Anyone who moves seamlessly from creating an app to inventing a new style of underwear shows the kind of adaptability Scotland should celebrate.
As a military wife, Bonnie spent 14 years in Germany followed by a stint in Cyprus and then back to England where her husband was forced into premature retirement by Fibro Myalgia. “My late mother was from Glasgow and I always regarded it my spiritual home. So, to base our lives here is a dream come true. Every step I take in this great city, reminds me that I am walking in my mothers shoes.”
A sports bra, complete with sensor is her next project and she is currently working with a University on its research and development. There is also good news for men. Bonnie is planning to produce Bonbon boxer shorts. One thing this remarkable lady is not short on is ambition. She wants Bonbon bra to be a global brand, positioned as the bra women choose for elegant support. You can see the Bonbon bra and pants at Scottish Design Exchange’s fantastic new store in Buchanan Galleries in Glasgow.