Who are you?

I’m Mandy Tsang, the owner and founder of Sense Intimates.

What does your business do? 

Sense Intimates is an online lingerie boutique specialising in post-surgery lingerie.

I’m dedicated to providing a superior and effortless shopping experience for all women because I believe every woman has a right to beautiful lingerie.

There is also a collection of gorgeous non post-surgery styles and beautiful nightwear from Bluebella and Lepel.

I also offer a personalised home bra fitting service tailored to meet the customer’s lingerie needs.

Where are you based?

I’m based in Glasgow and currently work from my office at home.

As an online company it allows me to keep overheads to a minimum, especially in the beginning.

I also offer a home bra fitting service and travel within the Lanarkshire and Glasgow area.

The plan is to expand to bricks and mortar in the future and open a store – there’s nothing more rewarding than being able to connect with customers face to face and provide the perfect fit, especially when it comes to lingerie!

How did you get started?

I’ve been a lingerie enthusiast since my teens and when my mum underwent surgery for breast cancer in 2002, she found the lingerie shopping experience after surgery a lot more challenging.

The lack of accessibility to post-surgery lingerie was frustrating to say the least and from then I knew I always wanted to do something to make things better, not only for my mum but for other women who were experiencing the same difficulties.

I’ve always felt that the lingerie shopping experience shouldn’t be any inferior just because someone has had surgery – if anything it should be enjoyable, engaging and leave the customer feeling empowered.

I’d always known I wanted to be self-employed but had to gain some experience first before making the leap – fast forward six years after graduating from university and here I am!

I decided that there was never going to be a ‘right time’ so I decided to take the leap and go full time with it so I could put 100 per cent into the business to ensure it becomes a success.

What is your background?

I graduated from the University of Strathclyde in 2011 with a BA (Hons) in International Business and Modern Languages, specialising in Marketing and French. After graduating, I took a marketing internship with Cancer Research UK and then found myself working in new product development for hair and beauty products.

I’ve been fortunate enough to gain some amazing experience with the companies I’ve worked for.

My mum and dad have been self-employed for nearly 30 years and they’ve taught me so much as well as instilling a solid work ethic in me from a young age.

Prior to starting the business I underwent training to become a certified bra fitter. I also trained with Anita, one of the industry’s leading brands in post-surgery lingerie, to become an Anita Care Consultant where I gained knowledge and expertise in breast care products and am trained to fit post-surgery and mastectomy bras.

What is your top tip?

Trust your instincts, don’t give up and don’t be afraid to ask for help!

Has anyone helped you get started and how?

Starting out on your own and doing everything by yourself can be overwhelming as there’s so much to do and learn all the time.

Business Gateway Lanarkshire have been a great help to keep me on track with their guidance, especially in areas I’ve been unfamiliar with.

I started the business with my own savings and I’ve been fortunate enough that my family have been really supportive as well so that I can concentrate on building the business.

Who is your inspiration?

Without a doubt, my parents are my biggest inspiration.

They have built a successful business which has spanned 30 years, and my dad to this day works seven days a week with only a few days off a year – we always joke that he would work eight days a week if he could!

I definitely get my entrepreneurial drive from him.

My mum is of course the inspiration behind the business and her strength and courage in overcoming cancer gives me the drive to succeed and the determination to not give up during the difficult times.

Where do you plan your business to be in five years time?             

I plan to have opened at least a couple of stores and to have made tracks into the product development side to create a line under the Sense Intimates brand. That’s the ultimate goal!