After taking home the top prize at Big Idea Challenge 2020, London Met Furniture and Product Design graduate Ella Merriman, along with her cofounders, Amelia Powell and Holly Thomas, successfully launched MERRI Intimates through Kickstarter in 2020 after raising their funding goal in just two hours!

MERRI Intimates offers its customer a range of beautiful underwear to promote women’s gynaecological health. The funding enabled them to undergo multiple rounds of product sampling to create a product that fulfils its purpose and fits all bodies.

The team explained, “we believe that underwear has the power to make women feel beautiful and confident – no woman should ever have to compromise on this for her health. However, most “sexy” styles on the market are made from synthetic and highly-elasticated fabrics, which often aggravate and amplify common infections.”

“MERRI Intimates aims to dispel existing and harmful taboos around UTIs and thrush, conditions which affect 1 in 3 women in the UK and can be completely debilitating. Gynaecologists and doctors recommend cotton underwear for optimum vaginal health and to help prevent these infections. MERRI Intimates will produce sustainable and ethical organic cotton briefs, that are sexy and flattering too. We hope to prove that cotton pants don’t have to be granny pants!”

Describing what makes MERRI Intimates unique, Ella explained, “our three designs all feature an elongated 100% organic cotton gusset. This means that all vulvas, no matter their size or shape, are protected by the most natural and breathable material available. Other pants don’t have elongated gussets because the seam is seen to photograph badly, meaning that essentially the aesthetic of the underwear has been prioritised over women’s comfort. However, the additional and unnecessary seams that most underwear include allow bacteria to colonise and cause friction where you least want it.”

While the proportion of start-ups founded by women worldwide has doubled to 20% in the last 10 years, -female founder teams in the UK get less than 1p for every £1 of venture capital investment, according to a British Business Bank report. Meanwhile, all-male founder teams receive 89p, with mixed-gender teams getting the remaining 10p.

“With this in mind,” the MERRI Intimates team explain, “it’s all the more important we strive to get as much support and exposure as possible. We want to harness the power of female voices to help us find investment and support for common female problems, not commonly spoken about.”

Find out more about MERRI Intimates and purchase your own pairs of underwear on their website.