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I set up a £1million lingerie firm Tyra Banks & Anthony Joshua love and even changed the dictionary definition of ‘nude’

A savvy entrepreneur turned a £7000 investment into £1 million business and even started a social movement which attracted the likes of Tyra Banks and Anthony Joshua.

Joanne Baban-Morales, 27, first launched her undergarment business - NuNudes - just three years ago after discovering the word "nude" was defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as "of a pale pinkish-beige colour"  - excluding Latino complexions like her own - which eventually led to to launch a successful petition to change it.

 Joanne Baban-Morales, 27, first launched her undergarment business - NuNudes - just three years ago after discovering the word "nude" was defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as "of a pale pinkish-beige colour"  and wanted to change what "nude" meant
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Joanne Baban-Morales, 27, first launched her undergarment business - NuNudes - just three years ago after discovering the word "nude" was defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as "of a pale pinkish-beige colour"  and wanted to change what "nude" meantCredit: PA Real Life

She started an Instagram account for NuNudes - an undergarment brand that caters to all skin tones, ethnicity and sizes  - in late 2016, several months before launching the business, which attracted over 5,000 followers before the business had even launched - with supermodel Tyra Banks and boxer Anthony Joshua even supporting the brand.

Seeing a need for change, the savvy entrepreneur capitalised on the buzz surrounding her brand and began gathering signatures which officially resulted in "nude" being redefined as "a colour of clothing or make-up resembling that of the wearer's skin."

By the time she officially launched NuNude in March 2017, she was already making waves on across social media and has since racked up 100,000 Instagram followers.

Speaking of the successful petition, Joanne said: "It was amazing to know I'd actually got the dictionary to change its definition of nude and made such a big difference.

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Credit: PA Real Life

The businesswoman was Latino and said she always struggled finding the appropriate shade of "nude""When we launched NuNude, supermodel Tyra Banks reposted our post and boxer Anthony Joshua said it was a 'great idea,' all of which helped to increase our reach and get the backing we needed."

The savvy businesswoman was born in Columbia, South America but moved to the UK  as a child with her parents Clara, 60, and Saman, 56 - both entrepreneurs in their own right with her mum owning her own graphic design business by the time she was 21, and her dad heading up his own media company.

Joanna said: "It always bugged me that so-called nude brands never accommodated women with darker skin tones.

"Every woman needs nude underwear - but not every woman can find a nude shade to suit her skin tone - and that's why I decided to launch NuNude."

 The range is available in sizes XS-XXXL and includes nipple covers, shapewear, bodycons, jumpsuits, slimwear and plasters in all shades of nude.
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The range is available in sizes XS-XXXL and includes nipple covers, shapewear, bodycons, jumpsuits, slimwear and plasters in all shades of nude.Credit: PA Real Life
 Joanne uses real-life followers of the brand to showcase the range - rather than professional models
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Joanne uses real-life followers of the brand to showcase the range - rather than professional modelsCredit: PA Real Life

Joanna insisted that she wanted to create a brand that " challenged the fashion industry" and wanted to empower all woman of "all shapes and shades to love themselves".

She said: ""Fashion shouldn't be limited to one skin tone, or one size, it should be inclusive of everyone."

And it seems her idea was one that resonated with many, as her products are now stocked by retailers in the USA, boutiques in Colombia and other parts of South America - she has also secured a large, loyal UK customer base through the NuNude website and social media channels.

The range is available in sizes XS-XXXL and includes nipple covers, shapewear, bodycons, jumpsuits, slimwear and plasters in all shades of nude.

 She launched the business only three years ago and has since made waves across social media
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She launched the business only three years ago and has since made waves across social mediaCredit: PA Real Life

But despite being a part of a business-savvy family, Joanne insists that she worked hard to create a successful business and did not rely on her family's success for a hand out.

She said:“My dad’s hugely successful, but he’s never spoon-fed anything to me - I mean, who wouldn’t want a little short cut? I know I did!

"It's a blessing in disguise, though, because I can honestly say my business has been built from my own blood, sweat and tears."

Joanne saved up the initial £7,000  from working an office job , and used the money to source stock when she first launched.

She claims the business is still in profit, and admitted it's a "huge accomplishment for a start-up company."

 Joanne hopes to empower all woman
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Joanne hopes to empower all womanCredit: PA Real Life
 She single-handily runs the business which has helped her grow a successful business
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She single-handily runs the business which has helped her grow a successful businessCredit: PA Real Life

She did admit, though, that she's been forced to take a cut on a weekly wage and hopes to get backing from an investor to help boost the already thriving business - and she hasn't ruled out selling the million-pound business so she could reinvest into something else.

A part of her growing success could be owed to the fact that she runs NuNude single-handily and relies on a volunteer advisory board to help when it comes to making decisions.

She also uses real-life NuNude followers to showcase the garments, rather than professional models, which allowed her the opportunity  to arrange a pop-up fashion show in Shoreditch during the 2017 London Fashion Week.

She said: "I wanted to show the industry that the products are for real women – not just model-like women.

 The ambitious Joanne only has high hopes for the future and plans to continues growing her business and brand and eventually "make it the one-stop shop for all skin tone products"
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The ambitious Joanne only has high hopes for the future and plans to continues growing her business and brand and eventually "make it the one-stop shop for all skin tone products"Credit: PA Real Life

"And at London Fashion Week, I wanted to show that women of all shapes, sizes and abilities can walk the catwalk.

"Our show was called ‘Taking Diversity to a Whole New Level’, and women of all backgrounds and ethnicities strutted their stuff in our shapewear."

Joanne admitted her taste for business started way back in school where she sold sweets to her friends to make a quick buck.

But not all her ventures have enjoyed her current success, with a fledgling photobooth business she launched soon after graduating from Royal Holloway University in Egham, Surrey, with a media production degree, failing.

She recalled: "I'd found an internship at Sky TV and Fox international during my third year of university in 2014, but once I graduated, I couldn't get any paid work in media.

"I was at my friend's wedding and she'd hired a photobooth for the reception,  I got talking to the women who she'd got it from, who said all she did to make £500 was drop off the booth and pick it back up from venues. I couldn't quite believe it, I was just like, 'How much?'"
She gathered every penny she had saved from her part-time jobs over the years, and  in November 2014 Joanne invested £10,000 in a photobooth.

She eventually made her money back and was able to hire three additional staff but as quickly as she made her money, the business went bust causing her to once again start over.

She admitted that her mistake was omitting to invest in business insurance and legal advice - a mistake she vowed never to make again.

Since learning from her mistakes, Joanne has made a huge success of NuNude and even organises workshops to empower other women to have self-confidence and follow their dreams.

She said: “The brand is still very much about shapewear and underwear, but it to also stands for encouraging confidence in women, so I give talks at universities about breaking into the fashion industry too.

"Soon, I'm hoping to host female networking events as well as workshops because I strongly believe your network is your net-worth."

The ambitious Joanne only has high hopes for the future and plans to continues growing her business and brand and eventually "make it the one-stop shop for all skin tone products".

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