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  • Writer's pictureGreat Companies

Kelly Barrett - Great Companies Women Entrepreneur Award Winner 2023

Name: Kelly Barrett

Business Name: Underwear for Humanity

Location: Byron Bay NSW, Australia

Establishment (Year): 2021

Category/Industry: Manufacturing

Profession/ Specialty: Sustainable Fashion Design/Manufacturing

Social Media: LinkedIn

Company Detail:

Underwear for Humanity (UH) treat their social and environmental impact as a primary measure of success for their business and prioritize it even in cases where it may not drive profitability. They actually take pride in making no money so that they can focus those funds towards planetary good like recycling underwear that would end up in landfill upstream to insulation and hopefully construction materials like concrete fabrication and roads to reduce the Co2 emissions UH exist to raise consciousness. UH are the visible embodiment of kindness in action. They’ve converted key commercial opportunities into powerful moments of influence that are propelling the change-making partnerships, relationships and reputation they need to scale our impact. Sharing their industry-leading ideas, credible track record and bigger narrative of systemic change through higher-order platforms is now a norm - accelerating our profile as a disruptor in the industry and beyond, and a prototype for what’s possible elsewhere.

Unique Selling Proposition or Competitive Advantage:

They envisage a future where they are all more aware of their impacts and have the ability to regenerate people and planet. Their goal is to contribute to a radical system refocus, where humans and earth are valued, not financial paradigms. If they offer people the opportunity to participate in creating a better and fairer world, By building a business that prioritizes impact in everything that it does, It will lead to a shift in the way people consider where their money goes and the power that they have,

And ultimately empower them to contribute to and feel more connected to their humanity. The originality is simply by creating the system for people to have access to and then scale this up to all retailers. Not one company in fashion or any industry was recycling underwear – Kelly was first women independent non-paid founder that created Australia’s first and only underwear (any brand) take back scheme with plans to scale this to every retailer and then create a mass product that can be used across multiple markets from insulation to concrete – all from a humble bra and briefs. Key pages form the impact report are included by available on the website. They have a number of companies approaching to take part of the scheme through their underwear brand.

In June 2023, UH published a fully transparent impact report. They are very proud to confirm in July 2023 we became B Corp certified with over 126 points. From their official start in June 2021 they have already had real measurement tangible impact on people, communities, the planet and societal thoughts around waste/reuse/recycling. This includes **14,919 (valued at $51,262) one for one donation undies to those in need – removing the stigma of poverty and shame of homelessness or domestic violence escape. **diverted 7632 bras and undies from landfill ** helped 6 disadvantaged youths through our pick and pack work training program ** $5278 rent paid to indigenous groups **34,644L water saved through the manufacturing process **5659kg of Co2 avoided compared to industry standard (1.5 times climate positive contribution to On a Mission) ** $199,190 spent with ethical manufacturers

Challenges Faced During the Journey:

They believe that creating a business model that is not focused on money but focused on human connection and healing is the future. We understand that it is hard to reach, but by seeing it is healing. To see a model with completely different goals help them step into the future. This means taking the long road and the time to make things work - there is a way to overcome every obstacle

Advice for Women Entrepreneurs:

Everyone is going to tell you that it can’t be done, it won’t work and that you will fail. You need to be ok and accept that failure is only the first response to the first attempt. It is absolutely ok to fail - at least you tried and learnt and will make the next round even better. Never listen to the people who think they know about business or your idea when they have never done it themselves. Equally those that have been in business for years will most likely have an outdated way of thinking. There is no norm any more - NOW is the time for real change, real ideas, crazy out of the box thoughts that could change and reshape the planet and society.



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