I've had the pleasure of helping WELAN founders Jason and Yvonne over the last few months. We've worked together as part of an accelerator programme I've designed for Highlands and Islands Enterprise as part of my work with UP Ventures.
Jason and Yvonne are on a mission to encourage 10 families to move to the Scottish island of Tiree. The island is a beautiful but difficult place to live at times and this comes with economic challenges.
Having moved to the island themselves to start a new life and enjoy early retirement, they happened upon an opportunity to make a difference in an unexpected way.
By getting to know a crofter neighbour they found out that many lambs from flocks on the island are orphaned. They become too expensive to care for and are effectively left to die. So, they set about hatching a plan to save the orphaned lambs and use their considerable skill set and network to create a new brand. This would be a brand that had a purpose at its heart. One that is good for the animals but also good for the humans of the island.
Wind forward a few months and Jason and Yvonne have created WELAN. A sustainable fashion brand making ethical, high-end wooly hats.
During our time together business has started to boom. After loads of great coverage from the UK national press, sales have rocketed.
Future plans include a kickstarted campaign, a micro-mill, and attracting an army of makers interested in creating ethical fashion.
Jason and Yvonne have been superstars to work with. I've had the pleasure of seeing their story resonate with so many people. They're doing work that matters. Of course, there is more work to be done and I look forward to supporting them on their journey.
To find out more check out their website .
These are the people who have set about building businesses, big and small, that have a purpose at their core. By innovating themselves they subsequently inspire others. For them, winning isn’t about building million-pound revenue streams (although I guess that would be nice). No, for them it's about creating something that intrinsically transcends money. Subsequently, it becomes something far more soulful.