Startup with size inclusive sports bras wins UNSW Founders New Wave Showcase

Founder Holly Richards and team Rose Villari, Shwetha Premachandran and Amreen Badani of Club Melon, took out the top prize at the recent UNSW Founders New Wave Showcase event. 

Club Melon, a solution for plus sized women’s activewear needs, was born out of the founder's new love of exercise and her personal journey finding a sports bra as a plus sized woman. Holly found it incredibly difficult to find activewear with the right support to help her reach her fitness goals. With limited size availabilities and conventional measurement methods failing her, she discovered the whole process to be arduous, outdated & worst of all intrusive.  

Holly met her team for the first time, a week before New Wave. They quickly bonded working together on finding “problem-solution fit” (literally). With the idiosyncrasies of finding a unique fit for different breast sizes and body shapes a challenge all team members could relate, they revelled at the opportunity to find a seamless bra fitting experience for plus sized women. While the team continues to work on their solution, they have learnt that finding well fit activewear is an art, not a science, it can take time and money trying different sizes and styles to see what works, a luxury not everyone can afford.  

New Wave Showcase judge, Melissa Ran Head of Community at Airtree, spoke on behalf of the judges saying, “Club Melon is a business that addresses a very clear gap in the market. Its customers are crying out for this solution, and we really loved the personal connection to the problem that the whole team had.” 

Club Melon team member Amreen said when asked about their Showcase win “Little did we know that this journey would lead us here. With 81 incredibly talented women entrepreneurs and some mind-blowing pitches, thank you to everyone for supporting our team - Club Melon! I’ve learnt more than ever from my New Wave team.” 

The team also attributed their win to the unyielding support and guidance from New Wave Mentor, Doone Roisin.   

Founder, Holly is now participating in the Startmate Fellowship program and plans to invest her winnings back into building her MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and customer research.  

Pace & Ace took out the evening’s People’s Choice Award valued at $1,000. Co-founders, Shagun Panwar, Victoria Braithwaite, Edeline Suliarta, Alice Hu and Zoe Ong developed an adaptive eLearning platform to empower students in maths, the foundation of the STEM field. 

“The eight finalists who presented at the Showcase were so inspiring, actually all 22 teams were. To complete a program as intense as New Wave in a normal year is a feat, so to say I admire them would be putting it mildly”, says Kristen Phillips, UNSW Founders New Wave Program Manager. “What they were able to achieve in developing their startup ideas in the space of two weeks, during a global pandemic, was nothing less than extraordinary.” 

UNSW Founders New Wave helps women from the UNSW community to build entrepreneurial skills and launch new women-led startups. Cohort #6, the largest cohort to date, was delivered fully online. Eight-one participants formed 22 teams and represented industries across fashion, education, medical research data analytics, waste management and more. Supporting the teams were 27 industry mentors and speakers who guided them through a two-week intensive incubator covering essential entrepreneurial skills from design thinking and branding, to user journeys and pitching. 

Be inspired to join the next cohort and watch New Wave Program highlights here

Register your interest in Cohort 7 or join the UNSW Founders New Wave community here.   

Finally, if you’re a plus-size person and you like to exercise, or you would love to start, Club Melon wants to hear from you!