How the Snaggler community helped its founder out of a tight spot

We are delighted to share the second podcast of our fourth season, with Brigitte Read of Snag, a business she has grown to £40m turnover in just four years. Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

You will hear Brie, as she’s known, talk about her inspiring journey in satisfying both a personal and consumer need. She begins by talking about her embarrassing tights disaster on a street in Edinburgh that led to the eureka moment: “Turns out they didn’t fit anybody. From super skinny people, tall, short, every size, every shape, every person had an issue with tights and at that point I thought ‘That really sucks. There isn’t a problem with people, there’s a problem with the tights.’”

From the very beginning, Snag’s purpose was an extension of Brie’s strong views on the fashion industry: “A lot of people feel absolutely disenfranchised from fashion… So we want to create a space where people can feel really safe, really welcomed, no matter what size they are, no matter what gender they are, no matter who they are. They’re welcomed… On one level we sell clothes, but what we really sell is people being able to look on the outside what they feel on the inside.”

You will hear how she has adapted the business around her lifestyle: “I think naps are really important and are really highly rated in my world. You prioritise the things that are important in your life… You don’t need to be working 16 hours a day every day.” This has seeped into the culture of the business: “For us it’s all about outcomes, it doesn’t matter if you’re sitting at your desk eight hours a day. You’re paid to do your outcomes and, as long as you do your outcomes, nobody minds where you are.”

She has also built the business around her love of customers and data: “I love numbers… I love spreadsheets, I love analysing… When you can actually understand not just what the customer says, but what they do, your ability to make better decisions is just so enhanced.”

Like all businesses, Snag was hit by Covid and quickly ran out of cash after Facebook called in a very heavy bill. The brand’s response was inspiring, using its community of fans to raise £1.25m in just a few days. On her loyal band of ‘Snagglers’, Brie is effusive: “I don’t think there’s ever been a more inclusive, loving bunch of people in the entire world… I think how we stay true is because we have those constant dialogues with them. They get to decide the future of Snag and our new products and what we do just as much as we do.”

Talking through Piper’s 7, 17, 70 inflection points, she says “I think it’s really interesting particularly when it comes to staff numbers. When you’ve got 17 staff, it’s the first time you go ‘I can’t manage all these people myself, we need to have some kind of structure in there.’ And we keep seeing it, when we got to 70 as well. You need to keep changing your technology to be able to deal with it.”

Brie also has some wise words for other aspiring founders: “I think a lot of people get their dreams crushed because they try and start their own business with an idea that isn’t good enough or a market size that isn’t big enough or just with bad product/market fit. And I think when you’re in that situation it’s really disheartening… And it’s almost never the effort, it’s much more about whether the idea at the start is good enough.”

There are so many more insights in this anecdote-packed episode, filled with perspectives of the everyday challenges of growing a brand. We hope you enjoy listening to it as much as we enjoyed recording it, and we look forward to sharing the third episode with you in a fortnight with Taymoor Atighetchi of Papier.