Name: Kirsty Lunn.

Age: 40.

What is your business called?


Where is it based?

Rural Perthshire, near Scone.

What does it produce, what services does it offer?

Molke is an ethical, body positive underwear company focused on sustainable Scottish employment. All of our bras are handmade in Perthshire and our products are designed with comfort, fit and lifestyle front of mind. We believe in helping women to be confident in their own skin whatever their shape or size including those living with a disability or chronic illness or recovering from surgery/injury.

To whom does it sell?

We sell to a wide range of customers throughout the UK and overseas. The youngest that we know about is 10 and the eldest is in her 80s.

What is its turnover?


How many employees?

15 currently but that is set to rise to 17.

All our employees earn at least £9.50 per hour, compared with the Living Wage rate of £9.30.

When was it formed?

We registered Molke as a limited company in December 2016, then ran a successful Crowdfunder campaign before our official launch, which was in July 2017.

Why did you take the plunge?

I bought my first sewing machine after having my first child. I didn’t want to go back to my job which I didn’t enjoy, I also wanted to be there for my new baby. I decided to set up a business sewing cloth nappies from home, with no experience or knowledge. I enjoy a challenge!

I expanded from cloth nappies into clothing for breastfeeding women and in 2016, I designed and made the first Molke bra. The business just took off from there and Ros Marshall came on board to assist with the day to day admin and running of the business. Months later, we officially joined forces and Molke was born.

What were you doing before you took the plunge?

I was a pub manager. That involved long hours and whilst I loved the customers, the job just wasn’t for me. Before that, I did all sorts of jobs, never quite finding the right one for me. Everything from being a chef to teaching in China and being a tour guide in Paris!

How did you raise the start-up funding?

As well as a loan from the bank, we ran a Crowdfunder UK campaign, raising over £10,000. The campaign was a huge success, we made half the money within 24 hours and still have many of those who pledged to support us as customers now.

We were awarded £45,000 funding last year under the Scottish Edge programme for firms with high growth potential.

What was your biggest break?

I walked into the Blairgowrie offices of business support organisation Growbiz and that was the day it all changed. Within a month, we were a limited company, making business plans and looking for funding. Growbiz, along with Business Gateway and Scottish Enterprise, have provided us with so much support and help over the last few years.

What do you most enjoy about running the business?

The feedback and the reviews we get from customers really get me through the harder days and make everything so worthwhile.

What do you least enjoy?

I can’t be as hands on as I used to be as I am more office based. Whilst I still love the job, the role evolves as the business grows so I don’t get as many opportunities to be creative as I did in the beginning.

Because we are so committed to making our bras in Perthshire, everything is made by hand by our dedicated team and this means we can’t always say yes to people straight away. It also means that we can’t always introduce new products as quickly as we would like and having to put the brakes on can be hugely frustrating

What are your ambitions for the firm?

Long term, we want to be one of Perthshire’s main employers, making a range of products here and selling them all over the world.

What are your five top priorities?

Local employment, sustainability, ethics, customer empowerment and customer service.

What could the Westminster and/or Scottish governments do that would help?

I strongly believe small and new businesses should be given a tax break. In our first year, if we’d had a break from VAT until we hit the £100,000 mark it would have given us a massive boost and enabled us to grow and secure the business early on. It’s so difficult to manage your cashflow when you are starting up and paying out huge bills for VAT.

What was the most valuable lesson that you learned?

To learn from mistakes and move on, not to carry them with you. And to remain absolutely committed to the values which you started the business with.

It would be easy, as a business grows and you face various pressures, to allow your values to be compromised but then we wouldn’t be Molke. Being ethical, sustainable and honest is absolutely fundamental to who we are, which is why we are committed to manufacturing our core products in the UK in responsible, well managed facilities.

How do you relax?

I do find it very hard to turn off from work, however I make time when I’m with my family. We do a lot of crafts at home.

I’m hoping to get myself a new sewing machine for personal use soon and make my own clothes again, my children also want to learn how to sew. Last time I did any sewing for myself was years ago, before the bras took off!