When Min and I first started Fruity Booty we worked on every single task together. And, when I say everything I mean everything. Minna would pretty much follow me into the loo it was that intense.
It was a bit of a weird situation as we both graduated from the same course, at the same university, having done very similar A-Levels and work experience. This meant our areas of expertise, or more importantly lack of, were very similar. Looking back our system was tedious and inefficient but, in our opinion, necessary. We were both new to the lingerie world and the startup rat race. We wanted to make sure every decision was collaborative. The reason for this was two-fold. We told each other that it was necessary so that Fruity Booty was an equal vision. But really, and more importantly, it was in case something went wrong so you couldn’t be shafted with the blame.
After a while it became annoying and there was some underlying tension between us. We knew it was time to stop mollycoddling each other.
So… we delegated.
We joke that Min lumped me with all the shit jobs like finance and operations. I distinctly remember her saying, “finance really suits you” and being quite chuffed with the compliment. Little did I know, she had fooled me into thinking she was bad at accounting. I’ve now discovered she is in fact quite capable, but fancies herself as more of a ‘creative type’.
Our business cards changed from both being co-founders to ‘Managing Director’ and ‘Creative Director’. Technically that’s a lie because I ordered so many of the initial batch to get the biggest discount at Moo Print (how good are their sales can I just say!!). So, yes, our titles hypothetically changed. We wrote a very clear list of divided tasks and pondered getting desk name plates stating our newly defined roles.
We were filled with a new sense of purpose and I think relief on Minna’s behalf that I would stop nagging her to go to Barclay’s and unlock her pin for the millionth time. The clarity was refreshing. I was excited to complete a task solo and feel a sense of satisfaction I hadn’t realised I’d been missing.
Turns out it wasn’t quite as simple as it sounded. We were far too nosey in all aspects of the business to relinquish control. There was also that incident when Minna caught me being a bit liberal with the business credit card and I was firmly informed that Tesco’s Finest salted caramel cookies were not expensable… not good. Sadly she now has a keener interest in our outgoings.
So slowly we are learning to trust ourselves and each other. I have now optimised my stock counting to record speed and accuracy whilst Minna is trying to innovate knickers for our SS18 collection. Don’t blame me if they’re crotchless.
Do we feel totally secure in complete separation of roles? Not yet. Is it a bad thing? No. We couldn’t have got this far without each other. While we are learning to give each other space to grow we feel a stronger sense of teamwork and joint ownership of the brand. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t long for the day we can hire an accountant.
So in short, Minna is generally responsible for the underwear existing and I am responsible for getting it to you (Royal Mail hiccups aside).
Illustration: Rachel Campbell @the_illustratice