Founder Focus: Claire Turpin of CONTUR
Frustrated by the lack of favours her sportswear was doing for her figure, working mum of two Claire set out to create curve-enhancing and sweat-wicking activewear that busy women like herself could feel confident wearing both in and out of the gym. From this idea, CONTUR was born.
High-quality and eco-friendly, all CONTUR products are made with premium sports fabrics – derived from the high-quality fibres that can be produced from ECONYL yarn, and recycled ocean plastics and fishing nets.
Boasting UV protection, abrasion resistance, and unparalleled muscular compression and shape retention, CONTUR activewear flaunts the body, empowers the mind, and supports the planet.
Keen to know more about starting out in the industry, and building a brand that she’s so passionate about, we caught up with Claire Turpin – the founder and CEO of CONTUR.
What was your eureka moment?
It was when I was at the gym and caught sight of myself in the mirror. My sports bra had just completely flattened my chest, and my leggings looked see-through and were falling down – leaving my stomach hanging over the top. Despite how hard I’d been training, my shapeless and drab sportswear had left me feeling frumpy and self-conscious. I wanted my gym-wear to contour my shape and make me look and feel my best, as this would motivate me to train more. And that was it!
What is your elevator pitch?
CONTUR is…..sports-luxe, urban-chic & glamorously comfy activewear for everyBody.
How did you test your idea?
Focus groups and market research were key. Based on this we designed products which went through various rounds of sampling to ensure the perfect fit on different body types and sizes. We then progressed to wearer and washing trials.
Being a qualified fitness professional myself and someone whose workouts weekly include spin, HIIT, weight training, yoga and running, it was important to me that the products were fit for multi-purpose and ultra-breathable.
Creating clothing that had body-sculpting qualities for all shapes and sizes was also key – so we rigorously tested the muscular compression provided by different textiles, before settling on our super-soft Italian blend.
What advice would you give someone who wants to start a business on their own?
Research and have a solid business plan, and ask yourself if your idea is both commercial and sustainable.
Also, do you truly believe in it and are you prepared to put everything into it? When starting a business, you experience both good and bad times, so you’ve got to have the determination to pick yourself back up, stay resilient and move forward.
Do you have a mentor or are you one?
Early on in my journey, I sought out some amazing mentors, and they have been crucial in helping me gain confidence. Equal parts supportive pushing, my mentors haven’t shied away from challenging me to get out of my comfort zone, and I’ve really benefited from listening to people with more experience – it’s been incredibly valuable.
I am also in various business communities that give me the opportunity to network with people who are on a similar stage of their journey. We bounce around ideas, discuss successes and failures, and generally support each other. It’s also a great way to gain insight into other areas of business, and learn about entirely different sectors.
What’s your plan B?
To be fully committed to plan A! In order to make CONTUR a massive success (which it will be), we are constantly listening to our community, improving on what we do, and driving the sustainability message.
What is the most worthwhile investment (time, energy, money) that you have made?
Definitely energy! Ultimately, your energy and ability to inspire excitement about an unknown brand is what you’ll initially have to rely on people buying into – whether that’s customers, business partners, or suppliers. It’s tricky to motivate people into supporting you if you don’t exude drive, passion, and unwavering confidence and belief in yourself.
What one failure are you glad you experienced?
Lacking confidence and keen to make the right choices, I was initially too trusting of the intentions of other people in the industry. People definitely took advantage of my lack of industry experience, and I got led down many wrong paths which were costly at the beginning of my journey.
However, going through these unpleasant experiences has definitely made me a more assertive businesswoman, and more trusting of my own judgement.
It’s your business – so make sure you always do your own research, and don’t be afraid to question and challenge people. When in doubt – go with your gut!
What is coming up for CONTUR?
We have a new yoga range out in July, and will be planning an exciting event later in the year to celebrate our first year anniversary.
What book would you recommend that everyone reads and why?
How to be an Overnight Success by Maria Hatzistefanis. The founder of global luxury skincare and beauty brand, Rodial, Maria is super relatable, and shares her real-life struggles, experiences, successes, failures, and passions.
This book drives home the message that not everything is glamorous – hard work, setbacks, rejections and patience are all pivotal parts of a successful journey.
How do you find balance in your daily life?
I plan my diary and have daily and weekly objectives for both my personal life and business. I find this keeps me focused and end-goal orientated, but also gives me that sense of achievement to look back on and see what I have achieved – which is really useful when I have low moments or setbacks.