Designing and making easy however stunning wool hats, every with a narrative, has been a journey of discovery for each of us, particularly as a result of this was by no means a part of any plan.
We’re Jason and Yvonne, the co-founders of WELAN, an moral start-up doing its bit to make style sustainable.
We consider our core values of ‘revenue with objective’ in live performance with design and manufacturing, from our Scottish Island residence, allows individuals to stability their shopping for choices with their social, environmental and political convictions.
Our design language is impressed by our flock of rescued orphan sheep, our surroundings, and striving for fixed enchancment of our provide chain.
A provide chain that we measure in toes and inches from our studio door to our area of sheep.
For each of us it’s about wool hats that look good, really feel good, and extra importantly, do good.
In October of 2018 we listened to our intestine, took a leap of religion and simply did it.
The end result: we moved from London to a small Scottish island referred to as Tiree, essentially the most westerly island of the Internal Hebrides.
An island paradise, sudden in each approach. 24 sandy seashores, 12 months spherical turquoise waters and unexpectedly heat winters.
The thought was for each of us to give attention to images and decelerate, we referred to as it lively retirement.
Two years on and our each day lives are far faraway from life in London, or a lifetime of images and slowing down.
We based WELAN, which solely exists due to a cup of tea and 13 rescued orphaned sheep.
Picture WELAN makes use of the orphan flock of sheep’s wool to make low influence hats
Earlier than our sheep and wool crammed lives on Tiree we had been the everyday cliché – working within the metropolis of London, spending our days heading to shopper conferences, juggling time, combating congestion and battling ever shrinking deadlines, all on repeat day in and time out.
How issues have modified.
Nevertheless, it turned out shifting to a small Scottish island within the Atlantic was not the most important change to happen in our lives.
The whole lot we’re creating and making at WELAN is due to an opportunity dialog over a cup of tea with a crofter neighbour again in April 2019.
A life altering cup of tea
To present you some context, crofting is exclusive to Scotland, I’d describe a croft as a small scale farm, nearly micro agriculture. In the principle, labored on and handed down by every era.
Throughout our life altering cup of tea, we learnt that yearly numerous new born lambs are rejected by their moms.
Rejection can occur for a myriad of causes out of a crofter’s management. Orphaned lambs want particular care, around the clock feeding and a spotlight or they simply received’t survive. Caring for one orphaned lamb is difficult add to that operating a small farm and presumably a second and even third job, and issues grow to be tough. Think about 10 or 15 orphaned lambs and the stress ranges for all involved.
So when requested if we want to assist on the market was just one reply, YES!
With that straightforward three letter phrase the whole lot modified.
We had been the brand new dad and mom to 2 orphan lambs: Bubble and Nori. By some means two orphan lambs grew to become seven – within the house of every week – which, it seems, is mainly the beginning of a flock.
Picture You’ll be able to’t get far more native than making hats from sheep in your backyard
It actually could be very exhausting to say no to a helpless orphaned lamb. Nearly two 12 months later we now have just a little flock of 13 orphan sheep who, to be trustworthy, most likely assume they’re little fluffy people.
The unique orphaned lambs Noah, Bubble, Dot, Matrix, Kelp, Nori, Popcorn had been joined in 2020 by: Rocky, Adrian, Athena, Jeff, Serg and Pepper. Every of our sheep simply appear to swimsuit their identify. Rocky is a superb instance.
He was given his identify as a result of he got here to us on loss of life’s door, hours to reside, very weak, not given a lot probability of survival. However he’s a fighter, who with just a little assist from us is combating match at this time 10 months on.
Every of our sheep has their very own persona.
They arrive operating after they see us, and that’s with out bribing them with meals or treats.
It seems they’re simply joyful to hang around with us – OK they do demand a little bit of a scratch as effectively.
Most individuals most likely don’t know that sheep recognise their names and keep in mind as much as 50 people. Our little flock of orphan sheep is right here to remain and it’s our purpose that they reside out their pure lives fortunately and healthily.
They, and the Isle of Tiree, are the inspiration behind each design that leaves our studio.
We began designing and making our vary of wool hats to assist help our rising flock. Nevertheless, as we have now grow to be extra targeted we’ve been in a position to take a look at addressing most of the social and environmental challenges dealing with the style trade.
Our sheep and life on Tiree have given us a brand new and sudden focus.
Every year we’ll do all we are able to to assist different orphaned lambs reside lengthy and joyful lives and in flip they assist us level WELAN in the fitting course for individuals and our planet.
In addition to studying the whole lot we might about how one can take care of our new flock, we got down to discover ways to flip their summer time haircuts into moral handmade hats that make a distinction to individuals’s lives.
After investing in a hand drum carder, spinning wheel and few months of trial and error, the 100% Tiree Made woolly hat was born.
Our first hat, and all subsequent hats, are impressed by the island’s color pallet, the continually altering mild and the variety present in our random mixture of fleeces.
We’re fortunate that as a toddler Yvonne and her mom spent many evenings knitting collectively, as this actually gave us a kick begin. We each have inventive backgrounds operating an innovation and design enterprise earlier than leaving London.
So, it appeared to make sense that while studying the abilities needed to show a uncooked fleece right into a desired merchandise distinctive to the proprietor, we might discover methods to enhance the sustainability of each the considering and doing behind the enterprise.
Slow fashion, or what we see because the creation of moral and sustainable clothes, could make a optimistic influence on the world we reside in. It simply requires some new considering mixed with some a lot older and forgotten doing. Extra native and lasting, than quick and forgettable.
Our moral wool has so many superb properties: temperature regulation, water repelling properties and on the finish of its lengthy life it’s absolutely compostable.
The superb factor about dwelling on a small Scottish island is how rapidly acquaintances grow to be buddies.
Buddies who invite you over for a easy cup of tea, which seems to be a life altering second.
Life altering not only for us, however for our new fluffy, four-legged relations.
And due to them individuals world wide have hotter heads on colder days. We hope the results of listening to our intestine again in 2018 and the following life altering cup of tea is that extra orphaned lambs grow to be sheep who reside lengthy, wholesome and joyful lives.
However, equally we wish the collective efforts of likeminded individuals within the style trade to make sure an moral and sustainable way of living turns into the established order. Discover out extra about WELAN here.