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Apprentice Bianca Miller crowdfunds to redefine nude

EXPLORING NUDE HORIZONS: Bianca Miller

A RUNNER-UP on the BBC’s hit show The Apprentice could have nude-coloured tights suitable for black women in shops as early as this year, depending on the success of a crowdfunding campaign.

Personal branding expert Bianca Miller pitched the idea to businessman Lord Sugar last year but lost out to winner Mark Wright.

She told The Voice that turning to crowdfunding was not an easy decision but said overwhelming public support from women convinced her to take her chances.

Miller said: “The conversations I have been having with retailers confirms to me that they still don’t see a need for this product and that the limited range that exists is enough.

“I wanted to give potential customers an opportunity to get on board to prove that this is something that is needed. Retailers and investors respond to the market. That is why I am calling this ‘redefining nude’. I want retailers to understand that what they think of as nude is limited and goes much further.”

Women can pre-order Bianca Miller London hosiery via website IndieGogo. The proceeds from sales will be used to help fund the company.

It will also serve as market research that could help inform future retail partnerships including which of the eight shades – ranging from Powder to Mocha – are the most popular.

At the time of going to press, £3,000 had already been raised within a few hours of the site going live.

Miller, who grew up in Thornton Heath, south London, comes from a family of entrepreneurs.

Her father runs a successful kitchen business and her mother has always been self-employed, working as a celebrity make-up artist with clients such as Beyoncé, Alicia Keys and Alesha Dixon.

After graduating from the University of Sussex in business management and economics, Miller worked at Accenture, one of the world’s largest and most reputable consulting firms as a HR advisor to a third of the 1,000-strong graduate pool.

While there, she conceptualised the Preparing for Promotion initiative to help graduates develop the skills to aid their career advancement. She then moved on to a new position at a top financial recruitment firm.

However, her passion for nude hosiery was ignited at 18 years old. Miller, who celebrates her birthday in December, wanted tights that would work with her outfit but couldn’t find anything that was flattering.

She explained: “I trawled the high street, searched the internet and saw a variety of options none of which resembled my skin. So what did I do? Well, trying to be young and fashionable – I braved the cold!

“A few years later, whilst working in the City of London, the challenge of nude hosiery became poignant again. The job required me to attend corporate events in professional dress and despite having a larger budget it still proved impossible to purchase nude hosiery to compliment my skin tone.”

Clients of her image consultancy firm The Be Group also shared her frustration.
Industry figures confirm that 236 million pairs of tights were bought in 2013 with a 92 per cent increase in those of the nude variety since the Royal Wedding in 2011 – the Kate Middleton effect.

Miller added: “I would love for you to start this journey with me – making my dream of redefining the nude horizon a reality.”

For more information visit www.indiegogo.com/projects/bianca-miller-london-redefining-nude-hosiery

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