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Founder Fridays Feature: Advice I’d Give My Younger Self

Welcome to Founder Fridays!

Every Friday, we will be asking founders, co-founders and startup specialists the questions we all want to know the answers too. We focus on a model of talent development at Future Arc and transparency to cultivate successful and driven teams. We therefore like to share our successes (and failures!).


This Friday, we welcome Pip Durell, founder of With Nothing Underneath to the chair, a fashion brand specialising in the perfect everyday shirt. We get an honest and inspiring insight into how she navigated change when being a business owner, what she thinks about risk – and most importantly – what advice she would give her younger self. Let’s jump in…

1. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt since you started your With Nothing Underneath journey?

Honestly too many to count!

Firstly trust your instinct. If you got an idea off the ground using your instinct then don’t doubt that as you grow, it’s just about mixing that gut feeling with data driven facts.

And secondly, ask for help! Anyone who will give me 15 minutes of their time I will pin down – every conversation will teach you something and learning is essential to growth.

2. How has your relationship with risk changed since beginning your venture to where you are now?

I’ve had to learn to be riskier! I’m not a natural risk taker but four years in there is naturally a lot at stake and so every decision I take in steering the brand is a risk. It’s a high pressure environment that’s for sure – and it’s definitely true that you don’t get a day off when you own the business!

3. When you think of the phrase “If only I knew then what I know now”… what two pieces of advice would you give your younger self who was just starting her journey of becoming a founder?

I would go back to 15 year old me and say ‘listen in Maths!!’ Learning is the key – my 8 years in magazines taught me so much and that has shaped WNU into what it is today, but I am on the back foot when it comes to business and economics. Take the time to work on your weaknesses – it works both ways, if you’re a natural at numbers, work on your creativity or at least understanding your creative team etc… You don’t need to be the best at everything, but understanding all parts of your own business is essential.

Set up your business properly from the beginning. This sounds basic but I started WNU as a project and was very slack in dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s when it came to things like registering the company, setting up bank accounts, checking details…. It caused a huge amount of work later on. Structure from the start is essential.

4. What’s the worst advice you’ve ever received in regards to your business?

Someone who owns a very successful British fashion company told me we wouldn’t get anywhere if we just sold shirts and we needed to expand the offering to a full collection… I’m glad I didn’t listen to this particular bit of advice!! WNU’s strength lies in its DNA as a monobrand – the focus we give to women’s shirting is what was missing from the market, it’s our USP.

Pip, the founder of fashion brand With Nothing Underneath, also a former Vogue stylist, launched the business in 2017. With a sustainable mission, the brand is backed by several influential figures – including members of the royal family – and only continues to grow. Find out more about her brand here: https://www.withnothingunderneath.com/