News & Stories

Meet the twin forces behind start-up success stories

Their innovative, inclusive and socially responsible approach seeks to shape our lives, and to ensure we find ways to do business better.


Lucy Hosken’s maiden business started small.

In fact, it was all about ‘the smalls’ – a simple quest to find functional and fashionable shapewear.

Nearly Nude, a luxury lingerie label, was launched.

Soon it had gone global.

After a decade with publishing powerhouse ACP publishing, Lucy’s first foray into establishing her own business has been a stunning success.

The groundwork for achieving her goal began years earlier when she chose to study Commerce with Arts.

She still draws upon the knowledge she learnt, particularly from Professor Rhett Walker’s classes.

“He was a marketing inspiration and I still remember many of his stories to this day,” Lucy said.

“They were by far my favourite classes and I never missed one!”

After graduation and a stint overseas, Lucy and her husband, Stewart, moved to Sydney.

They love giving their children a taste of Tasmania during regular visits to see family. The couple even own several businesses in the State.

“I think growing up on The Apple Isle gives you a sense of serenity and peace, but also made me more ambitious to leave and see more of the world,” Lucy said. “It gives you a fabulous, grounded start.”

Photo of Lucy Hosken
Lucy Hosken

Lucy still feels extremely fortunate about how her first venture panned out.

“It was a lot of hard work, but there were many fabulous, serendipitous moments that led me to selling the business.”

Now, among other things, she is using her expertise as a brand consultant and strategist specialising in global growth, marketing and creative direction.

She has a passion for supporting new businesses and has recently co-founded a subscription self-care company, which aims to make feminine hygiene products safer for people and the planet.

Lucy understands what it takes for a start-up to become a success.

Here’s a hint: you need to be highly driven, self-motivated and resilient.

“I think to be successful you need to hustle, push onwards and never take no for an answer!” she said.

Above all, Lucy urges other budding entrepreneurs to “go for it”.

Being your own boss comes with benefits, such as having the final say, but also requires coping with pressure.

“I started Nearly Nude three years before we started a family. By the time my two babies were born, I was neck deep in the business’s growth, so I was working seven days a week, 15 hours a day – this was a real challenge.

“Although, I did love being able to pick my own hours and agenda – it’s just the best!”

Her advice to her younger self is to accept that: “You don’t have to do it all and you can’t have it all.”

“If you think it’s possible, you are putting too much pressure on yourself.”

Penni Lamprey knows the pressures of running your own business all too well.

She saw her thriving Tasmanian workplace health and wellbeing consultancy collapse during the first wave of COVID-19.

“It was awful, I was middle aged and I had no idea what I was going to do next and then I saw that UTAS was offering online courses to Tasmanians to upskill,” Penni said.

Where others may have become consumed by the loss, she saw an opportunity.

Penni studied a Graduate Certificate in Business and, if that wasn’t challenging enough, she also decided to pursue her own personal quest to start a clothing company catering for tall people.

Penni Lamprey’s workshop | Photo: Oi Studios
Penni Lamprey’s workshop | Photo: Oi Studios

Standing at 184cm tall (6’1), the mother of three understands the struggles her customers face when they buy clothes.

“I spent most of my life not having clothes that fit me,” she said.

“In my previous career, I coached my clients on the elements of being well within their skin, but you can’t do that if you don’t fit into your own clothes.

“That’s why I took a huge risk and invested our savings into launching Miss G & Me, beautiful clothing for the tall.”

Penni wanted to create clothing that was sustainable and fashionable with all items designed and made in Australia.

She uses compostable bags, sources organic or high-grade fabrics and her patternmakers and manufacturers are Ethical Clothing Australia accredited, which protects the wages and working conditions of staff.

While she doesn’t have the budgets of the major retailers to turn plastic into fabric, by making quality
clothing to fit the taller silhouette, she aims to reduce wasteful consumption for her customers.

To keep costs under control, Penni has even used crowd funding to produce her first blazer.

It’s been almost two years since she launched  her label.

“Looking back, it was exceptionally scary to go back to study and start a new business, but it’s so rewarding.

I get emails daily from people who say that my clothes changed their life.

“One of my customers is 190cm (6’3) and she cried when she realised that, for the first time in her life, she could shop online for good quality Australian-made clothing that will fit her.”

Written by Lucie van den Berg for Alumni Magazine Issue 53, 2022.

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Top of page: Patterns from Penni Lamprey’s workshop. Image: Oi Studios