If you’ve listened to an entrepreneur talk about their business-building journey, you know it often starts with solving a problem they faced. When Apricotton co-founders, Chloe Beaudoin and Jessica Miao, started their capstone project as friends and project partners at Ivey Business School, their aligned vision for a shared problem sparked what is now a popular bra brand and vibrant online community. Apricotton is the only bra brand globally that designs bras that “grow as she grows,” meaning customers can wear the same Apricotton products throughout puberty and into early adulthood without having to endure the painstaking and constant search for new sizes. “We specifically started this company because we had both struggled to find bras that fit us when we had gone through puberty and had family members going through the same struggles at the time of founding Apricotton,” said Beaudoin. “We wanted to start a bra brand that was actually an enjoyable shopping experience and make buying your first bra more of a celebration than an embarrassing chore.”
After creating Apricotton as simply a project idea, the two young co-founders saw an outpour of support from their peers, professors and mentors to take their innovative idea and make it a reality. With the education and entrepreneurial spirit behind them, they graduated Ivey Business School together in 2020 and launched Apricotton mid-pandemic. Two years later, their growth is impressive and sustainable, and their continued expansion is excitedly anticipated by Londoners and supporters alike. Beyond their innovative products and inspiring hard work, the Apricotton co-founders have built an online community through both TikTok and Instagram that is gaining traction and changing the bra-shopping narrative for many of their customers. Developing a community of girls online, the Apricotton founders have found a space where they can support young women by answering “uncomfortable” questions, educating and cultivating a space for likeminded people to connect has allowed their online community to impact their brand, and in turn, their sales successes.
Throughout the month of August, the hard work of Apricotton’s founders paid off as they saw a 1,000 percent increase in sales and grew their online community to monumental numbers. They attracted over 65,000 followers on TikTok and garnered over six million views. They also reached an Instagram milestone of 6,000 followers as their social presence and welcoming online spaces gained traction. In continuation of its momentum, the company was recently announced as a deserving recipient of The i.d.e.a Fund, which is supported by the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency of Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) to help high-potential ventures have the tools they need to succeed by providing financial and business advisory supports to develop or redesign products, services, processes and technologies that reduce impacts on the environment and create made-in-Canada climate change solutions.
Apricotton’s co-founders are currently in the process of product development and continuing their impact on social media. Their core values of entrepreneurship aligning with a true passion project, propel them into big ideas and greater things. With continued collaboration in the London region, including their first in-person shopping experience being available at Elizabeth Noel and continued connections with both Western University and Ivey Business School, their impact in southwestern Ontario does not go unnoticed by innovators and entrepreneurs in the region.
When reflecting on the past two years of entrepreneurship, growth, hardships and business ownership, the co-founders come back to the core of their mission; their community. “We get messages from girls online talking to us about how we have changed their lives,” said Beaudoin. “Some of them are saying that they finally feel confident in their bodies because of our bras, which feels so great as a founder. To hear someone say that we have inspired them brings us so much joy and energy to continue doing what we’re doing.”
Creating connections for their community to have a safe space where they don’t have to go through puberty alone is derivative of the co-founders’ connection to each other and their shared stories and experiences that sparked Apricotton’s existence in the first place. Open conversation about the hard parts of life combined with the drive it takes to create a business is the epitome of a founder’s journey. Making strides toward expansion at a rapid pace and with an energetic excitement, Apricotton has its school, region, and entire community cheering the company on.
To shop Apricotton’s collections, go to apricotton.ca and @apricottongirls on Instagram
To learn more about The I.d.e.a Fund go to techalliance.ca/idea-fund.