Q&A: Shazia Awan, Peachy Pink

Where did the idea for Peachy Pink come from?

I have always been ambitious. I spent a few years after university directing the PR strategy for some national and international consumer businesses but I always wanted the freedom to one day do it for myself.

I enjoyed PR but was frustrated in the role I was in. I believe as soon as you stop enjoying something it's time to stop doing it, so I handed in my notice with no job to go to.

The idea for Peachy Pink came from the fact that, like most women, I've had orange peel skin at one time and it really isn't nice. I wanted to find a solution to help banish the problem. Through my work in fashion PR I had made some great contacts. I developed underwear that uses peach extract, green tea and caffeine in a 3D wave knit that massages skin as you move and actually helps reduce cellulite whilst holding in the wobbly bits! And so Peachy Pink was born.

How did you fund your start-up?

I started off by writing a business plan but was turned down by every bank I went to for a loan. So, I used my life savings and a credit card to start up Peachy Pink. It was 110% the right thing to do - I always believe in following my instinct; failure is not something that I waste time on contemplating.

I drew on my experiences, from university to PR, to help me develop my product. I chose to produce everything from the yarns to the packaging in Italy, which to me is synonymous with quality. I launched Peach Pink with fifty women in their underwear marching down London's Bond Street - it was fabulous.

How did you first get the brand noticed?

Buyers always want to work with brands that are innovative and can offer something fresh to the market. The products are key as we are responding to a consumer demand and need.

PeachyBody is a unique, patented line of shaping products comprising of revolutionary body fat, cellulite and toxin combating and preventative technology. The products work with the natural movements of the body.

The products are natural, safe, and clinically proven to be effective, without the side effects that can be brought about by chemical ridden lotions and gels or having to resort to unpleasant and invasive surgery.

Any mistakes along the way?

I wouldn't do a thing differently. I've worked hard and learned so much. I wanted to be involved in every aspect of the business from creating the website, to the designing packaging negotiating with retailers, which has made me a better businessperson. And of course I loved doing the PR but as the business has grown we have had to outsource.

I can't see a shop on the site. What made you decide to keep sales purely offline?

We do actually have some e-commerce. We sell our Max-Core shaping and posture control T-shirts online.

You've launched a men's range. Is this going to be a big earner for the company? Or will women always be the core market?

Max-Core, which is our newest brand, represents a new generation of shaping and posture control garments for men. Max-Core is perfect for sportsmen, men who want to slim and tone their stomachs and those who seek to correct or improve their posture and circulation.

The patented 3D wave weave fabric exerts a micro-massage onto the stomach area of the skin breaking down fatty deposits whilst giving you a defined shape. Max-Core's unique MMT (Muscular Mechanics Technology) system was created in partnership with physiotherapists, sportsmen and the best athletic construction engineers in Italy.

You've got celebrity endorsement from Peter Andre. How did you get him on board?

We have a lot of celebrities that wear both our ladies and menswear brands. Peter Andre actually wore Max-Core for an OK! Magazine shoot he did and we decided we would work together on the launch.

Any other celebs sporting your stuff?

We've had a fantastic 12 months- it's always a great feeling when you pick up a national magazine or newspaper and read that people love a product that you wear yourself and that you've created.

We have a lot of celebrity fans, including Amanda Holden, Christine Bleakley, Nicola McClean and Amy Childs. A lot of reality stars and wags cite Peachy Pink as their "red carpet secret weapon" and I read in the paper the other day that apparently Beyonce and Katy Perry both have Peachy Pinks! We also have a lot of Bollywood actresses that wear our Peachy Pink leggings.

There's been lots of great press for the brand. What's your secret to getting noticed by journalists?

We have a lot of fun with both Max-Core and Peachy Pink. We have  unique innovative products, great accessible brands which consumers like and we have a big celebrity following internationally. My background is PR and I have worked for some of the biggest consumer brands in the World managing and directing high profile PR campaigns for them.

What is your day to day role?

One of the best things about running a business is that there is no such thing as the average day. I am very lucky to have a great team and a job that I am really passionate about. Life is too short to do things that you don't enjoy.

Advice for anyone starting out in business?

Make the leap! If you believe in your idea and think you can have fun with what you want to do, then go for it. Don't let anybody ever tell you that you can't do it or be the person you aspire to be.

Who are the people you respect and look up to in business/industry? Your heroes?

I have always admired Oprah Winfrey. One of the things she says is "live your best life" it is such an inspirational and a powerful way to live and looking at her achievements makes me feel truly empowered to believe anything is possible.

Oprah has achieved so much in her business and uses her voice as a catalyst for positive change from spearheading literacy drives to setting up the Oprah Winfrey foundation where she has donated hundreds of millions to charity. I am truly inspired by her in everything that I am involved in, from business, charity to politics.

Find out more about Peachy Pink

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