Name of Business: Backwards Brain
Your name: Cat Ransome
How did you get started?
Having seen my 14 year old son Leo experience mental health challenges from being small for his age, and not being able to wear adult designer clothes like his friends, instead having to wear kids clothes into his early teens, I created a new streetwear clothing brand alongside Leo.
I became a mum to Leo, when I was just a teenager myself, our joint love for designer clothing, and desire to support other young adults who don’t conform to stereotyped sizing saw us launch our own streetwear clothing brand Backwards Brain, at the end of last year.
I now have 3 children, none of whom fit into the regular age defined sizing. Backwards Brain turns labelling on its head – scrapping generic S, M, L sizes and age brackets, instead using body measurements and categorizing sizing by colour…so you are no longer a size, you are a shade. The brand caters for smaller teens , larger teens and standard adult sizes.
Body size and appearance can have a real impact on adolescent self-esteem and mental health, especially in the age of social media, and young people already have more than enough to worry about. I’m on a mission to get the powers that be in retail to stand up and take notice of the amount of young people they are affecting by their sizing polices and I am asking other parents to come together to support me so we can push for the need for change.
It has been an amazing experience, but incredibly challenging. I am also the type of person that wants everything done yesterday and it certainly isn’t like that with this process. I also though the brand would ‘rake off’ over night but that is incredibly untrue. I am quickly learning that persistence key!
I have dealt with all the challenges so far by trying to take a step back where needed and not rushing into a decision – I did a lot of rushing at the start because Leo (other Co-Founder) was putting a lot of pressure on and just wanted to ‘Go Live’. Take a breath and if you seem to be hitting a brick wall, sleep on it and look at it with a fresh face.
What has worked well about your business?
The Instagram is really starting to take off and having a real story behind the brand has helped every step of the way. The passion is real and I think this always makes things easier.
We’ve also started to get other parents getting in touch with us to share thier experiences – parents can take part in my survey at https://www.backwardsbrain.co.uk/ (there is a pink, floating form image at the bottom right of the page), the results of which will be used within my petition to The British Retail Consortium, where I will campaign for more to be done in mainstream retail to address some of the challenges faced by generic sizing.
How do you fit in work with the family?
My main priority in life is my kids – after all, my eldest is the reason for the brand. Having three – my two and my step son, ranging between 5 and 14 it is a constant juggle but, as long as I’m organised everything generally gets done. There is no time to be ill as that throws everything off and with my husband running our other business it is a very busy household. But it works for us. We love a challenge.
My daily routine is generally as follows:
- Alarm: 5.30am – Gym 6am (while everyone sleeps) – 7.15am
- Home – Shower, sort the kids lunches, snacks drinks for school.
- 7.15 – Wake the eldest
- Do breakfasts make sure everyone is dressed and ready to go
- Leo out the door for 8am
- Walk the dog and Rocky up to school at 8.40am
- Take dog to the park for run around – Home for 9.30 to do work or meetings
- More work
- Leaving the house at 3.15pm to collect Rocky (youngest)
- Kids clubs – football, karate etc etc.
- Rocky and Jaz dinner
- Reading with Rocky
- Bath Rocky
- Rocky to Bed 7 – 7.30pm
- Cook for me, Jon and Leo
- Hassle Leo to do homework
- 9pm-ish Collapse on sofa and watch a Netflix series
- 11pm bed and do its all again tomorrow 🙂
What impact do you want to have?
We believe in the power of fashion to make a difference in order to break the stigma that boys face when they are stuck between the ‘adult’ and ‘junior’ world. Backwards Brain has been created to fill this gap.
Body size and appearance can have a real impact on adolescent self-esteem and mental health, especially in the age of social media, and young people already have more than enough to worry about. I’m on a mission to get the powers that be in retail to stand up and take notice of the amount of young people they are affecting by their sizing polices and I am asking other parents to come together to support me by taking part in the survey at https://www.backwardsbrain.co.uk/ so we can push for the need for change.
As a brand, our biggest dream is getting Backwards Brain into Selfridges where their journey started, when Leo bought his dream designer jumper for £600 – only for it to sit in his wardrobe unworn as it didn’t actually fit him.
Find out more:– https://www.backwardsbrain.co.uk/