- London-based Galyna Nitsetska, 28, founded Empress Mimi in 2015
- Loved job which allowed her to travel Europe and Middle East by private jet
- She wanted to build her own successful business and founded lingerie brand
- Subscription boxes start at £14.95 a month and contain wire-free bras
A woman who gave up her high-flying career in private banking to launch a lingerie brand is now on course to make £1.1M by the end of the year.
London-based Galyna Nitsetska, 28, founded Empress Mimi - a range of lingerie subscription boxes featuring completely wire-free bras, as she wanted to create affordable and beautiful underwear, that's comfortable and practical while remaining fun and sexy.
Working in private banking afforded her the opportunity to travel between London, Monaco, Switzerland, Moscow and the Middle East in her early 20s, but while she loved the job it made her realise that she wanted something more.
'At some point you do wonder why you can't dedicate the time, energy and knowledge you are giving to someone else, to build something you actually believe in,' she told Femail.
'When my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer, it was probably the last push I needed to leave. These situations have a way of forcing you re-evaluate your life and priorities.'
Galyna was born in the Ukraine and moved to the UK via the Netherlands and Spain, where she studied Politics, Economics and Russian at UCL before becoming a private banker.
'I've always been the only female in every team I have worked in, so whenever I got the chance to work with clients who were successful businesswomen it would be an eye opening experience showing me what is possible,' she recalled.
'It helped me decide that if I ever wanted to run a company on my own, it would be a female-focused one.
'I don't know many people my age who have had the opportunity to travel in private jets and meet some of the most successful people in the world to the extent that I have.
'But being surrounded by so many people who had built successful businesses on their own, whilst also being asked to dedicate all my time to supporting their dreams and goals, definitely led to frustration with the job.'
Galyna was inspired by the idea of creating a lingerie brand, both to make the experience more pleasant for women and create a more affordable product.
'Being always pushed for time, shopping for lingerie was not an experience I enjoyed, although having nice lingerie was something I loved very much,' she explained.
'Being semi-naked in a fluorescent lit cubicle whilst squeezing yourself into various ill fitting bras is not my definition of a good time.
'And I wanted to create something which would let women have that experience of receiving something delicate and beautiful in luxurious packaging without the eye-watering price-tag.'
Galyna decided she was going to offer something different by creating a subscription box, costing from £14.95 a month, rather than selling pieces separately,
'I think we have come to a point in history where women are more financially independent than ever before, and buy items like lingerie to treat themselves rather than solely for the purpose of seducing someone else.
'This financial independence has also come with time constraints, and having spoken to many of my friends who are in relationships, many admitted they hated going shopping for lingerie as this felt more like something to cross off a to do list rather than a fun experience.
'Buying lingerie as a gift in the meantime, left men in a panicked frenzy over where to go and what to buy.
'We receive a lot of thank you emails from husbands and boyfriends who buy the subscription as a gift; they get to take the credit for having the perfect gift sent over to their significant others without having to go through the awkward process of pretending to know what women want.
'A subscription box therefore seemed like the perfect solution: lower prices whilst keeping quality very high because of our business model - no high rents for physical stores , no flashy runway shows or expensive Kardashian models, limited marketing spend due to recurring revenues.
'There's a surprise feeling of a gift even when purchasing for yourself.
The subscription box asks you to reimagine yourself and take on a new persona with each new piece - maybe its something a little more risqué than you would usually go for, or a little more feminine.
'We encourage our customers to see themselves in a light they may have not seen themselves in before. I believe women are multifaceted creatures, but we tend to forget this. For example if you're a mother, it's easy to forget that a part of you is also a flirty and sexual being, and that it's okay to explore those sides of yourself.'
Galyna wanted her designs to be beautiful and delicate while remaining super-comfortable.
'Our designs are therefore specially chosen for their wearability whilst also making the women feel beautiful and feminine, and more than a little sexy,' she said.
'I grew tired of the notion that we have to choose between comfort and style - why not have your cake and eat it too?
'The initial idea came after we produced a couple of bralette designs and after a while I just couldn't wear any of my wired sets - it was like a whole new world of comfort had opened itself up to me and I decided I never wanted to go back.
'There are several scientific studies that have indicated that metal underwires can contribute to the development of breast cancer in women.
'We all know that all too familiar moment when you get home and the first thing you want to do is throw off your bra, it just seemed ridiculous that in 2018 women are still expected to put themselves at risk and live in discomfort.
'Through innovations like our wireless push up bras, we have become niche 'in the know' brand, and have grown our following to include celebrities and pop-stars.'
However, Galyna admits it hasn't all been plain sailing and there has been a few hiccups along the way.
'Turning the idea into a real product has been a game of patience: I can be quite hard on myself in terms of trying to get everything right straight away but running this business has taught me that it's a long game of reiteration,' she explained.
'We are constantly on the lookout for new manufacturing partners, even our box design has undergone more changes than I'm willing to admit.
'This is a journey as a designer and business owner you just have to learn to love and accept.
'Even what you would think are great moments can turn into stressful periods if you don't take a moment to check yourself; a couple of months ago we had an unexpected spike in sales and completely sold out.
'Rather than celebrating I remember that the two weeks I had to wait for new stock to arrive being some of the most stressful I had experienced - I was terrified that I was disappointing our customers and that somehow this would spell the end for the company.
Sharing her tips for other entrepeneurs, Galyna advises getting started while you're still in full-time employment.
'You do not want to be running a company from a place of fear that if things do not take off in x amount of time, you won't be able to pay your rent.
'Things can take time, so patience is key. In the end, remember you are building something for your future self; if you can't imagine working for someone else five years down the line then the investment has to come now.'