Eleanor Howie took secured finance of £6,500 through Start Up Loans delivery partner Virgin Start Ups in Spring 2020. Her business Valiant Lingerie provides empowering lingerie for women who have been impacted by breast cancer or risk-reducing mastectomies.
Her mother had breast cancer when Eleanor was very small and following surgery struggled to find lingerie that wasn’t frumpy, beige, and clinical. After discovering she has a genetic mutation that significantly increases her risk of a diagnosis of breast cancer, Eleanor had a risk-reducing mastectomy when she was just 24 years old and found that nothing had improved over time in terms of the availability of contemporary post-surgery underwear. This had a real impact on her self-esteem, so a few years later she decided to do something herself.
Eleanor is very conscious of the fashion industry being problematic in contributing to the climate crisis and does not want to be a part of the problem. Valiant Lingerie’s collection is made using yarn from recycled fishing nets. The fabric is soft and functional, but also sustainable and recyclable. All products in the line are produced by a small UK-based partner, cutting down on their carbon footprint.