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Our Story

Sophie and Marie, the two entrepreneurs who wanted to create the world’s most sustainable tights

 

Who are we?

 

We are two young French women, Sophie and Marie, who met in the workplace in London. Together, we decided to embark with passion on a new adventure.

Ambition doesn’t come unprepared, though! Before creating Billi London, we trained and worked in marketing, new business, fashion, and eco-responsibility. Our collaboration is based on complementarity.

 

How did we meet?

 

Through work. At the time, we were working for large companies, and didn’t know we shared the same dream of fixing the hosiery industry! Though we could perhaps have guessed it, given how often we both wore tights

 

Billi London co-founders Sophie and Marie behind-the-scenes in 2021

 

Where does our brand name come from?

 

“Billi” is my nickname (Sophie). All my friends call me Billi. It’s my last name - the first part of my last name, actually. Its multilingual aspect reflects our own journey: the name “Billi” exists in French and English, but also in Italian (I have Italian origins, and our tights are manufactured in Italy). “Billi” was also very meaningful for Marie, because that’s her own sister’s nickname! So we both had a story with “Billi”… 

 

We added “London”, as a tribute to the city where we first met. London is an incredibly exciting place for any fashion-lover!

 

The interior of the Billi London pop-up in Seven Dials, Central London 2022

Why tights?

 

Firstly, because we are tights’ biggest fans! We love how they effortlessly and instantly elevate any outfit. Sadly, the environmental impact of tights is real (several tons of waste each year, taking between 40 to 100 years to degrade), but often overlooked.

 

Secondly, because we felt that shopping for tights – a sensual product if there ever was one – should be a much more enjoyable experience! Where was the glamour, playfulness, and elegance?

 

We wanted to create the world’s most sustainable tights, which would also be resistant, comfortable, soft, and sexy. We’ve been obsessed with this idea ever since. Although we now have a whole legwear collection including socks and leggings, it all started with tights.

 

Marie and Sophie visiting the Billi London stall at the BHV Department store, Paris, 2022

 

What do we want?

 

To reduce waste in the textile industry and encourage the transition towards a circular economy. That’s why we wanted to go to the very root of the problem – yes, tights made of recycled materials existed, but these would still take up to 100 years to degrade in landfill… There had to be another solution.

 

How are we doing it?

 

With high tech tools. We use Amni Soul Eco®, the first polyamide yarn produced in a more sustainable way and that biodegrades in around 5 years after disposal in a sanitary landfill. Yes, 20 times faster than traditional tights! 

While such fibres existed when we first started in 2019, they had never – and we really mean never – been applied to tights. We were the very first in the world to work on this… Now you understand why it took 2 years of research and development!

 

Marie and Sophie inspecting product before packaging some of the first Billi London orders in 2020

Everything happens for a reason

Our favourite Billi London moments

 

May 2019 – My tights ladder right in front of Marie. We both passionately explain we’ve always felt the tights industry needed fixing!

 

June 2019 – We exchange ideas for our future brand in a lovely London park.  We didn’t realise it yet, but it was quite telling that we didn’t want to sit around a table for this…

 

September 2019Bernard Saltiel, former CEO of the extremely successful and popular hosiery brand Le Bourget, tells us that he believes in our project.

 

December 2019 – Bernard comes with us for a 3-day trip to Italy, to meet potential partners, and, more importantly, to eat the most delicious gnocchi ever.

 

May 2020 – Our first crowdfunding campaign is launched on Ulule. We sold our first ever tights box.

 

October 2020 – We feature in a news article for the first time! Thank you, Telegraph!

 

November 2020  Here’s a month we won’t forget! We launch our e-shop, and send out Ulule pre-orders. Believe it or not, Sophie’s daughter is born the day of our very first shipment! 

 

May 2021 – Forbes publishes a whole article on Billi London. They explain that:

 

“disrupting the tights market is something only a scrappy startup on a singular mission seems willing to embark on”.

 

Wow! Someone, pinch us!

 

July 2021 – Billi is on TV for the first time! B Smart invites us on their set to talk about our world's innovation.

 

September 2021 – We set up our London pop-up store in Seven Dials, Covent Garden.

 

September 2022 – We launch in BHV, in Paris

 

Today – You’re reading this. Join us in the tights revolution! 💚

 

Sophie and Marie carry luggage to the staff entrance of Le BHV Marais is Paris, in preparation for setting up the Billi London product stall, 2022