Britton Scotland - an Environmentally Conscious Enterprise
Harris Tweed® is a bit like Stilton. A woollen cloth can only be called Harris Tweed® if it's been hand-woven in the Outer Hebrides, just as a pungent blue cheese can only be called Stilton if it's been made in either Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire or Derbyshire (yes, a bit more widespread than the cloth). Our new pencil cases and pouches are a bit Stiltony too, because they are made exclusively in Scotland from Harris Tweed® (but not Stilton) by the amazing Amy and her team at Britton Scotland.
These are right in so many ways. They are made with recycled parts and they're practical, sturdy and very handsome. Not only are they primarily made from a natural material that will NEVER go out of style and is incredibly resilient, the other bits and pieces - zips, linings, labels, even the thread - have evolved from something - plastic bottles, coffee cups - that would have otherwise gone to landfill or played a plasticky part in pollution. They're made to last, and they're the way they are because they've been made by a small team of enthusiasts led by a dedicated artist and designer whose goal is to create environmentally-conscious things of beauty that reflect the remarkable country that is Scotland.
At the root of her designs is wool, specifically Harris Tweed®. It's the ideal material to enjoy Scotland's unique weather because it's water-resistant, warm in winter and cool in summer, and it has anti-microbial properties. So it's not just perfect as a woolly jumper or an overcoat (or on a sheep), it's also spot on for keeping all your everyday bits and pieces safe and dry. And the fact that it's biodegradable and recyclable fits in perfectly with Amy's objectives.
She's a woman on a mission. Making use of a sustainably-produced, locally-sourced and woven woollen cloth is only part of the story. She is terrier-like in her dedication to ensure that every other material that goes into creating her products is sourced in a way that respects the planet. 'Getting it right', not just in terms of how it's made, but what it's made from, where and how those materials were sourced, and the conditions for workers along the supply chain, is paramount. She's ably assisted in her mission by a small team of 6 flexible workers, whom she's gathered as much for the people they are, as for what they can do for Britton Scotland. It includes Pauline, her 'right- and left-hand woman', whom she relies on when it comes to production; Alexander, a business and management student who is passionate about Net Zero and is helping with carbon accounts and ESG; and Olena, a Ukrainian who's learnt to sew under Amy's tutelage and wanted a 'creative job'.
There's no mass-production at Britton Scotland; it's small batches and 'on demand' manufacturing. Multiple prototypes are a thing of the past. 'Years ago,' says Amy, 'we used to make many prototypes, which was a waste of time and resources.' So now she thinks long and hard about how a product will be manufactured, makes a single prototype, and then proceeds straight to production. And it works. 'Apart from once,' she admits! Designs are conceived with minimal waste in mind, and any offcuts go towards the development of a zero waste range. They use locally-sourced materials as much as possible and work with local suppliers, who are constantly being re-assessed for their work ethos.
Their packaging is 100% recycled and 100% recyclable. All paper is FSC-certified and 100% recyclable, and only used when necessary. The only plastic in their products has been made from recycled material.
Amy and her team have put an extraordinary amount of time and effort into making sure their products are as easy on the environment as they are easy on the eye, but are they resting on their laurels? Absolutely not. There are some interesting forthcoming projects and exciting developments, and they are preparing to apply for B Corp certification, which measures a company's entire social and environmental impact. And in the midst of all this, we're extremely grateful that she's taken the time to design some bits and pieces especially for us!
We sell pens, so we have pen pouches and pencil cases. The outers are all 100% wool while the inners are 100% wax cotton which has been rescued from going to landfill, and even the zips are 100% recycled. There's something for everybody. The pen pouches are exclusive to us, thanks to Amy and her team's combined talent. They'll keep your favourite pen as snug as anything wrapped in Harris Tweed® is likely to get (which is very). There's a slim, space-saving pencil case for a small selection of writing instruments, the sort of things you like to carry with you everyday. Or trade up for a medium-sized case, perfect for work or college. And if you're the sort of person who doesn't like to leave anything behind, make yours a large one!
Of course, it's not just pens they're good for. Art materials, make-up, glasses (of the eye kind, not the sort you put in the dishwasher), first aid items or medical necessities, your phone, money and cards... Anything that's on the small side and likely to disappear into the recesses of a cavernous bag will benefit from a Harris Tweed® Cult Pens exclusive from Britton Scotland.
It's good stuff: good to look at, good for your peace of mind and good for the planet. Thank you, Amy!