Interview with Wight Sails

beach bags on beach recycled sails 2

I have found the perfect beach bag! I came across this brilliant company not so long ago and immediately asked whether I could do an interview for the blog as it’s the sort of thing that my fellow bloggers, followers and I love. Wight Sails, based in the Isle of Wight, make beach bags and other accessories from recycled sailcloth! Perfect for the beautiful sunny weather and our holidays, whoop whoop! I asked Peter Le Masurier and Marcia Young a couple of questions about Wight Sails and what the future holds for their company:

What motivated you to start Wight Sails?

We first developed the idea almost three years ago.   I am a sailor and live on the Isle of Wight and was asked to dump a sail one day.   I thought of the waste and damage to the environment.   As an entreprenuer I wondered whether there was a way I could (a) rescue sails and help protect the environment and (b) make a business from it.  My partner, Marcia, is a designer and together we sat down and had a good look at sailcloth.   Sailmakers have been making bags for centuries, but no one was making quality products from used sailcloth.

Where do you source your sails from?

A vast range of places and people.  We have sail collection stations on the Island at a number of yacht clubs where sailors can drop off their sails, but we receive sails from 70 year old windsurfers who have given up to people who find them in their sheds.   We also offer a free postal collection service for anyone to send us their sails.  We will pay postage or put that towards the cost of a product.

Why are sails such a good material to work with?

On the one hand they are strong, water repellent and last a very long time.  On the other hand, we wouldn’t say they are ‘good’ material to work with.  Because they are tough they are stubborn and there is a real skill in being able to turn sailcloth into products, ask any sailmaker.

What’s the process for transforming an old sail into a new item?

When an old sail comes through the door we decide what product line suits best.  If soft, it goes in the cushion and seat pile, slightly stiffer and it goes in the windbreak pile and so forth.  We then strip the sail of its metal parts (we use these as direction on other products) , we strip out any rope that is sewn in (this is also used for other products) and then we set about cutting out.   Really dirty sails are washed and more often than not the only way to do it is by hand!

Do you have any best-sellers?

It is hard to pinpoint as it is all popular, but windbreaks, beach bags, wash bags, deck chairs, crew bags, doorstops (in retail) tend to be always popular.

You also offer to up-cycle customer’s personal sails – have you ever had any unusual requests?

Nothing out of the ordinary.  Most people like their boat number to be shown or have their name attached to a product if made form their own sails.

What does the future hold?

We will soon announce a major relationship with a very well know brand we have been working with and we are very excited by this.   We will also be announcing a limited range of products from the sail of a boat sailed by a very famous yachtswoman.   We are also expanding, moving out from our small workshop into a bigger one and taking on some more people.

Well it definitely sounds like there are exciting times ahead!  I think my favourite is the Beach bag which is £43 and the wash bags which are £30. They’re super light, quick drying, easy to clean, durable and saving the planet! You can buy Wight Sails products from their website www.wightsails.com they have a huge range of products including deck chairs, cushions, iPad covers and wine carriers. You can also follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

If you’re doing anything interesting with unusual materials please get in touch- I love finding out about anything quirky and innovating especially when it involves saving the planet!

Interior of the Week- Glamping

I’m not really a fan of camping.  I love the idea of it and I like to think I’m the outdoorsy, carefree and don’t- mind- if- there- are- bugs- crawling -on- me kinda girl, but in all honesty I’m really not that person. When I have been camping I enjoyed being with my friends, setting up the tent and having a BBQ but then once the first evening is over it just goes down hill for me. I hate that it gets really cold in the night but when you wake up in the morning to the sun shining on your tent you are inevitably baking hot- you feel like you have a fever! It gets worse when the toilets are about a mile away and well you know… stink.  There are either no showers or at best you have to queue for two hours so in the end you just stick to wipes for 3 days- honestly I actually don’t know why people like it so much? Nevertheless when I saw this…

Paperbark Camping #1

Paperbark CampingI thought to myself, this is the sort of camping I would like.  Luxurious, romantic, cosy, in the middle of nowhere and of course the essential- it has it’s own bathroom! Yep I think I could put up with that.  It’s called Paperbark Camp, in Jarvis Bay, Australia. It’s very popular with newly weds and I can see why.  You can relax and sleep for as long as you like surrounded by gum and mangrove forests;  stroll to the beach where you can hop into one of the canoes and explore the surroundings, stop off for a picnic and then come back to a candle lit dinner.  Sounds heavenly!

Paperbark Camp also been awarded the ECO Advanced Eco Tourism certificate by being both ecologically and financially sustainable as well extensively maintaining the natural peaceful environment Paperbark Camp chose for their campsite. I think in a time where we are hyper aware about the damages we’re doing to our beautiful planet, it’s nice to know that you can go somewhere like this and know that you’re not totally destroying the surrounding environment.

Heading to Glastonbury? Need some FieldCandy?

Well look no further as FieldCandy have got it covered! They’re on a mission to change the traditional canvas tent into a ‘portable masterpiece!’

How fun is this!? FieldCandy print artists work straight onto classically designed tents and with artists such as Terry Pastor, Jonathan Zawada, award winning photographers such as Philip Gatward and Bence Mate as well as Fashion designers Basso & Brooke, you’ll most likely find them only on the most trendiest of locations. Although they may look more of a fashion statement for the super chic, they are in fact made for the real outdoors- so you won’t need to suffer! They’re produced from high quality components to keep you dry in the rain and snug in a gale, they also have a cotton inner tent so you don’t get condensation, are super easy to put up and are manufactured in the UK. Brilliant! Here are just a few of their designs…

You can buy them from FieldCandy’s website who ship worldwide. With plenty more designs on their website there’s something for everyone.  FieldCandy tents retail from £395 . Each tent bears a stitched in identification number to prove it’s the real thing and if you are lucky enough to buy one you’ll receive a certificate of authenticity with their FieldCandy tent for posterity.

You know, it’s almost tempted me to try out camping again, they even have a GlastoCows Design….

You can follow FieldCandy on Twitter.

Interview With Mat Dusting Founder of M-24

M24

One of the best things about running my own shop is the interesting and diverse people I meet.  Recently Mat Dusting got in contact The Perching Post about his fantastic company, M-24, that makes bags from recycled truck tarpaulin. Each bag is different due to the different types of tarpaulin he collects.  It’s a brilliant, versitile, extremely durable product which come in 5 different designs: Jerry Can, Oil Drum, Pylon, Tanker and my favourite Eddie Stobart Messenger! Take a look….

As it was such an unusual idea I wanted to find out more about Mat Dusting and his company so I took the opportunity to ask him a couple of questions about M-24 and how he set about making his idea become a reality:

What is M-24?

M-24 upcycle used/discarded lorry curtains and seat belts into funky functional bags. These include Backpacks, Duffel bags and Ski bags.

What motivated you to start a business?

By biggest fear is being normal! I want to create products and business that change the world. (Big dream). I have been inspired by people around me to start a business; my dad has created a very successful business from nothing and has given me great confidence to pursue my own ventures. Some of my friends have created successfully tech businesses from nothing and now working on loads of exciting projects.

I worked for a large corporation during a placement year at university. This was a fantastic experience where I learned a lot about myself. I knew at the end of the 12 months I didn’t want to work in a standard 9-5 job. Some of the faces of people who had been working there for years looked so demoralised and depressed.

I think the greatest motivation is being in control of your future, knowing no limits and fulfilling dreams in your head.

When did you start M-24?

M-24 started around March 2012. I started playing around with left over material on the farm to create a durable ski bag. I experimented with old sand bags and bits of plastic and soon found a piece of leftover lorry curtain. I cleaned it up, cut it up and stitched it into a crude ski bag shape. I made a few more prototypes using local leather stitching experts and soon came up with a design. I showed my friends and family the products and they loved them.

What support have you had, Grants/ Mentor?

Shortly after starting M-24, I found out about an Enterprise program the Princes Trust were running. I signed up and 2 months later received a start-up loan of £2000 and a personal business mentor.

M-24 is supported by Taunton Deane Borough council who have helped with a £1000 grant

M-24 came 1st during Aprils Shell-livewire competition. We won £1000 and have been entered  into a national award for Entrepreneur of the Year.

What has been the greatest challenge so far?

There have been many hurdles over the last 12 months.

I’ve been running this business on my own from home. Being on your own most days can be hard. Keeping myself motivated and focused is the biggest challenge. Most of my friends work in the city earning good salaries and living comfortably. It’s not easy working long hours and earning little while your friends are doing the opposite.

What does the future hold?

We’ve been accepted into a pop up shop on KINGS RD London from 16th -31st July 2013. I’m now working with the Stobart group (Eddie Stobart) to design an exclusive range of bags and help them recycle some of their old material. We want to become a nationally recognised British brand.

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?

Think big! Believe in yourself, follow your gut!

Start small! Don’t throw money at your idea at the early stages. Test your idea first. Bootstrap your business.

M24

You will hopefully soon be able to buy M-24 products at The Perching Post but in the mean time you can buy them on M-24’s website, you can also follow M-24 on twitter.

When you buy an M-24 product, you’re helping to reduce UK landfill thus helping to save the planet and helping a local UK business.

Eco Friendly Design at it’s BEST!

The Perching Post, Barnes High Street

One of our most interesting suppliers at The Perching Post, based in Barnes London, are called Elvis and Kresse who make bags and accessories out of decommissioned fire-hoses. Their products are fantastic, high quality and manage to look chic whilst being eco friendly. So it’s no surprise they are getting quite a high profile in the media at the moment, featuring in Harpers Bazaar, American VogueThe TimesThe Guardian and The Evening Standard as well as many others.

Here is a selection of some of Elvis and Kresse items
Tote Bag, made from decommissioned fire hose, lining is made from parachute silk.
Recently Elvis and Kresse approached The Perching Post asking whether NHK TV(Japanese TV channel) could film an interview with Elvis and Kresse at the
shop! How Exciting?! Obviously it didn’t take us long to say YES so on Monday 4th June whilst everyone was preparing for their Jubilee street parties a Japanese film crew were arriving at 8:30am for the interview.
Elvis and Kresse were absolutely lovely and they had some very interesting points to make. Elvis and Kresse uses a huge amount of recycled materials such as parachute silks, tea sacks, wooden palettes, coffee sacks, and of course decommissioned fire-hoses. Half of their profits are donated to charities related to the waste, here is there current list WWF, The Wessex Autistic Society,Help for Heroes, Comic Relief and of course, the Fire Fighters Charity in support of the work they do. Elvis and Kresse alone have made sure that no decommissioned fire-hose from London’s fire brigades go to Landfill and it is fast spreading across the UK.

Kresse, Anna, NHK Japan Presenter & Elvis

So here’s a thought, the more bags and wonderful gifts and accessories you buy, the more goes to these wonderful charities and less materials have to go to landfill thus saving the planet. I count that as a three way win, don’t you?!

Anna @ The Perching Post

http://www.theperchingpost.co.uk
http://www.fire-hose.co.uk/
http://cgi2.nhk.or.jp/nw9/pickup/index.cgi?date=120605_1