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Emma and Fergus here, the co-founders behind The Tartan Blanket Co.
The Tartan Blanket Co. was born out of a desire to create a company with real passion and real soul. We wanted to create beautiful, natural products which would bring warmth to people's hearts and homes, as well as having a truly positive impact on the world around us. However, it didn’t happen overnight and the wonderful brand we have managed to create is the result of many evenings dreaming, a crazy amount of hard work, a constant juggle of family and business, an amazing team behind the scenes and a huge leap of faith.
Back in 2014 we were living and working in London, but our hearts were still firmly back in our home town of Edinburgh. We spent many nights talking about our dreams to start our own business and what that might look like. Then following our wedding we decided to take a big risk and make another huge commitment to each other, to start our own business together! As they say, ‘in for a penny in for a pound’! So we packed up our London life and headed back up north ready to start our new chapter.
With Fergus’s background in business and experience in the highland-wear industry and my background in fashion buying and merchandising, we saw an opportunity to bring a modern approach to one of our favourite Scottish products: the tartan blanket. Traditional Scottish tartan blankets are made of wool or cashmere which means they are all natural and fully sustainable, which felt really important to focus on, especially in today's world of fast fashion and disposable products. We wanted to take this sustainability element even further and travelled the world looking for mills in line with our ethics to join us in our vision of traditional Scottish goods with a contemporary edge.
We soon realised that Scottish mills were not always the most sustainable, transparent and dynamic option, so we began to look further afield. This led to a big adventure around the world learning a huge amount about the process of wool production, dying, spinning, weaving and finishing. After exploring many different production options, we settled on two main partnerships in India and Inner Mongolia.
After years of nourishment and growth, they have now become an elemental part of our journey and The Tartan Blanket Co. family. Our partner mill in India is run by a family team, who uses 100% recycled materials and supports a community of women who hand finish all of our recycled wool blankets, creating much needed jobs and giving each blanket a personal, unique finish.
Our other partner mill is a family business based in Inner Mongolia who uses traditional, people-led farming methods, putting the animals welfare first. They also work with local dyers, spinners, weavers and finishers, which supports the village community and maintains end-to-end production transparency and control. Due to their climate and farming methods, this area is known for having the softest lambswool and cashmere worldwide and allowed us to expand our range into the most beautifully gentle scarves and baby blankets.
While creating and developing our production partners, our family has grown too! Our first born Alfie (the dog) joined us in 2014 followed by the arrival of our little girl Aila in 2016 and then our twins Amabel and Mara in 2018. They really have turned our world upside down with their arrival, but in all the right ways and there is never a dull moment! Like our family, our wonderful office and warehouse team has grown very quickly too. Through it all, the ethos of creativity, community and kindness has been a focus at every stage. Our team is a family in itself, supporting and helping each other and our customers, while using their creativity and passion to develop modern, Scottish inspired designs.
A huge focus for us while creating this business has been the people we work with and the impact we are having on the planet, especially as we grow. We have always focussed on being a mindful, supportive company, but this year we made a commitment to be a Positive Impact Company. We don’t want to just avoid leaving a negative footprint on this planet, but to try and leave a positive handprint and a bit more love in our wake. So we are super proud to have launched our 1% for the planet, 1% for the people commitment, where we will donate 2% of all revenue to help protect our wonderful planet and support those in need.
The Tartan Blanket Co. was created with passion and soul and we try to put that into every design created, every product woven, every email sent, every order wrapped and every pound donated. We feel that this is what makes our products so unique and real, keepsakes that you can treasure and gift with pride and joy, designs to be loved and used daily that are passed down for generations. When we read customer stories about how much you’ve loved your blanket, how beautifully it was wrapped and noticed what care went into your order, it’s a feeling that can’t be beat; it makes all the late nights and hard work completely worthwhile. So thank you to everyone who has shopped with us, you really have helped make our dream come true!
All of our Love and Warmth,
Emma, Fergus, Aila, Amabel, Mara, Aflie
& the rest of The Tartan Blanket Co. family x
We love hearing your stories, so please do share them with us via email email@example.com or using the hashtag #tartanblanketco on Instagram. You can also contact us regarding anything else here, or read what our lovely customers are saying about us here.
We have been working our hearts out behind the scenes on a new and exciting direction for this brand and community that we love so much, and now it’s finally time to invite you along on our journey and share our big plans with you!
2019 was a big year for The Tartan Blanket Co. family. We grew our team, created our first collaboration design, launched into Liberty of London and had an all around pinch-me year. Amidst all of the little victories, what we are most proud of is our decision to prioritise The Tartan Blanket Co’s positive impact on the people and the world around us. As well as a number of eco-friendly changes in our operations, we have built the foundations for launching TBCo’s biggest and most exciting project to date: 1% for the People + 1% for the Planet.
As The Tartan Blanket Co. has grown, so has our team, our customer base and our impact. This late night dream has grown into a real brand, with real soul and a real future. Seeing TBCo. flourish has filled us with awe and gratitude, but in order to take it to the next level, we knew we needed to take some time and space to really think about what kind of business we want to be for the next five, ten or fifty years.
So, after hundreds of lengthy discussions and thousands of cups of tea, we made some big plans and got to work putting them in place. Our goal has always been to be a business focused on sharing warmth, and embracing the multiple physical and emotional meanings of that phrase by really taking care of our customers and giving them a truly special experience. However, after having children and feeling the uncertainty of their future due to the precarious future of our amazing planet, we’ve realised that we want The Tartan Blanket Co. to be more than that, or rather that it must be more than that in order to take care of our customers in the long run! Taking care of the planet is intrinsic to taking care of our customers.
Having a family has broadened our perspective on the reality of how holistic running a business really is. Not only do we want to bring warmth and happiness to our immediate family and community, but also to the planet and those in need around the world. And we want it to be built into our supply chain, so that every single purchase supports this goal.
As a business, we want to do more than neutralise our environmental impact. We believe replacing negative with neutral simply isn't enough! We want to leave a positive handprint on our planet and a bit more love in our wake, no matter where we go. Because we believe true happiness is only found in warmth and kindness.
So what does it all mean? Well, in terms of practicalities it means that we have been on a journey exploring our supply chain through many trips to our partner mills in India and Inner Mongolia, reimagining our packaging (hello, biodegradable tape and bubble wrap!), investigating our environmental impact and asking what more we can do to be a truly positive impact company.
We have refined our supply chain down to two main partners with whom we have fostered genuinely caring relationships and who are equally committed to supporting our positive impact vision. We have spent time at their mills and with their families in India and Inner Mongolia, and they have brought their families to spend time with us here in Scotland. When we say we’re a family business, we really mean it! Together with our Indian mills, we have traced where our recycled wool comes from and ensured that our recycled blankets are made from 100% recycled articles of clothing, such as jumpers and socks, and that each article contains a minimum of 70% wool content. Our lambswool and cashmere is gathered from family farms using the traditional farming methods of Inner Mongolia.
On this note, we are often asked why, as a Scottish company, we do not partner solely with Scottish mills. In all honesty, as much as we love working with Scottish and UK mills, we have found the traceability of the wool to be challenging. Though many mills use the phrase “made in Scotland,” the wool often does not come from Scotland, as Scottish wool is generally not soft enough to be used in clothing due to its adaptation to a windy and rainy climate. Because of this, we have focused on producing our textiles where we feel is the best source of high quality, truly sustainable and non-harmful wool production, with people we know, trust and most importantly, care about. Keeping our production at the wool source not only helps with traceability, but also helps reduce our carbon footprint as the goods do not have far to travel from farm to mill. These mills are now a key part of our supply chain as we work together to ensure our products’ journey is treated with the same care and respect we have for each other.
We are still conscious that our goods do have quite far to travel to reach us, so we have made significant efforts to not use planes for air freight, and use slower, but significantly lower impact, sea freight travel. With new legislation coming in, sea shipping costs are going to increase, but be far more environmentally friendly. Quality solutions are often more costly, but this is something we are very happy to support. Another place we have chosen the more quality route is through taking time to update and re-design our customer facing packaging with the aim to be completely plastic free by the end of the year. We have been making roads in reducing our shipping packaging and only using recycled and recyclable plastic where there is not yet an alternative, while continuing to research alternative plastic free packaging with our suppliers.
The biggest company change we are making, which ties together all of these efforts, is our commitment to go above and beyond in our positive impact. To not just focus on doing no harm, but to do some real goodinstead. Starting this year, we are committed to donating 1% of all our revenue to the planet and 1% to the people. How does this work? Well, 1% of every purchase you make with TBCo. will go to helping protect the environment and offsetting more carbon than we are producing, and 1% will go to charities and community projects around the world to help those in need. This means that each time you choose to buy from TBCo, you are also choosing to give to others. We are excited to see and share with you the positive impacts your investments are having each year!
Through this project, we set in stone a longer term positive impact plan for the planet and those in need. It means that with every order, every new product, every hour spent growing the business we will be having a bigger, more positive impact on the world and using our business to be a force for good. As small-business owners, it’s important to us that wherever this business takes us, it will always have real meaning because it will always be bettering people’s lives and our planet. We look forward to sharing this journey with you, knowing you are not only getting beautiful products made and sent with warmth, but that you are sharing that warmth a little bit further!