HER Biz: Butter Butter, Michelle Huang & Eleanor Castellani

Buttery-soft, flattering and with a uniquely luxe fit, it’s not hard to see why in just two short years Australian activewear label Butter Butter has quickly grown a loyal community obsessed with its pieces. Be it the brand’s signature leggings, shorts and sports bras, each garment is designed with the same mission in mind — to create activewear that not only feels and looks good, but seamlessly fits into workout and leisure. As part of HER BLACK BOOK’s Festival of Her, a shopping event to support female-founded businesses, Butter Butter co-founder Eleanor Castellani shares some insight into the pair’s business journey so far.

“We actually picked one of the most saturated industries to enter at the height of COVID, and we were met with a lot of doubt from others in the beginning. We asked ourselves how we would stand out when everyone and their dog was starting an activewear brand, and spent another nine months before launching to ensure that our product was truly different, and unlike anything that already exists. With countless tempering and tampering with custom fabric compositions, the lightbulb moment came to us when the finished product, well, quite literally felt like whipped cream. After sharing the product with other women to try, every single one of them were blown away by the fit, quality, and comfort and told us it was like nothing they’ve ever tried before. That’s when we knew our idea worked, and we had to bring it to the market.”

“We are actually living in one of the most spectacular ages, one where anyone can bring a concept to life by utilising the limitless amount of resources we have access to at our fingertips. Want to learn how to code? Take a course on Udemy, watch YouTube tutorials, join Facebook coding groups, network via Instagram. Looking to start a business? Sign up for a trial on Shopify, have a play around on the platform, read up on their guides etc. We truly are very well equipped to pursue almost any venture we’d like, as more and more apps, platforms, and resources are being introduced to support entrepreneurs.”

“We’re aiming to be the authority of fit, the difference between a plain grey sweater from a fast-fashion house compared to haute couture may very well be, only in the way it is cut and how it lays on the body. We’re extremely intricate with the most minute of details, from the length and width of the gusset, to the redistribution of density concentrated in one area to prevent camel-toe or bunching, right down using a 60° degree angle for the tapering of our waist-band, to ensure there is upper and lower abdominal support without the muffin-top effect. In saying that, our Sculpted Suedes collection has been a huge hit, we also have a jacket coming in 4 weeks called ‘The Tuxedo,’ a world’s first in merging haute-couture with activewear — the way this jacket is cut, will sit on your body as if it was tailored for you.”

“It’s been 14 months since we launched and we still don’t pay ourselves a wage yet; the both of us have lived off our savings for almost a year and half, investing everything we make back into our business in order to grow. At the beginning there were a lot of 16 hour days, giving up our social lives to be stuck in front of our laptops was a weekly norm. It’s certainly been rocky at times, but ultimately, we are both working towards a vision, and we know that the sacrifices we’ve made will reward us tenfold.”

“We’ve hit many, there were many, many things that could’ve only been learnt taking a backwards glance, we had to experience them. We’ve both shed real tears in this business from stress or being hit with things we never would’ve expected, and at times when we thought ‘we can’t do this anymore,’ we realised ‘well, we’re already doing it’.”“We listen to our audience, our business is semi crowd-inspired, what this means is, we take our customers through every step of the journey from concept to creation, right down to the diversity and representation they want to see in our campaigns.”