Welcome to my interview with the lovely Catherine & James who are the Somerset founders behind Touch of Tweed & share my passion for both the countryside & coast. I was lucky enough to meet the pair at one of Hiho Silver’s insta meets & have loved watching them develop their business ever since.
Please give a warm welcome to Catherine & James from Touch of Tweed to the blog, go grab a cuppa, or cheeky G&T & enjoy the interview.
1. What was your motivation/drive behind starting Touch of Tweed? Include info on when you started & do you still work full time as well?
James and I met a number of years before we started Touch of Tweed. We had different upbringings in terms of location, myself from a small rural village enjoying country pursuits and wearing tweed and James grew up in a large coastal town, on the water daily, wearing more casual attire like flip flops and bright hoodies.
You can imagine that our wardrobes and styles were very different, myself tending to stay in darker, plain but formal clothes and James in the brighter more relaxed style. We knew there had to be a brand that suited both our tastes, but we just couldn’t find one!
That’s where we started researching in 2016 and by 2018 released our debut collection of ladies and men’s sweatshirts in versatile, classic styles but they suited both the country and coastal lifestyles. We run Touch of Tweed alongside our full-time jobs, planning a wedding and decorating our house, there is never a dull moment at the Tweeders HQ!
2. What are your key values for the Touch of Tweed brand?
We have three core values:
1) British made – we are a huge believer in supporting local highly talented workforces here in the UK. That isn’t to say the same can’t be found overseas but we want to be sure of the processes and working conditions and to be able to visit where our products are made, frequently, so manufacturing overseas isn’t an option.
2) High quality – we create pieces that are made from the highest quality materials so that you can be sure when you buy from us the items are going to last you years to come and you feel great wearing them.
3) Sustainability – we are hugely conscious of our environmental footprints, James even more so having seen first hand the plastics that end up in our oceans, so we wanted to make sure we use natural materials and ones that are grown in a sustainable way. We champion ‘slow fashion’ and being kind to the environment, so our products (including packaging) never end up in landfill!
3. Which other west country brands have you worked with on your product range & what made you chose local or those particular brands?
We work with Charlotte Martin of Fruitbat Textiles. No task is too big or small with Charlotte, her creativity and attention to detail is sublime. She sends us updates regularly and we can be at her studio in 25 minutes. Charlotte shares our love for nature, sustainability, quality, and British made. She is a pleasure to work with and has helped push our brand further than ever. The trust between us is so important and I think we speak almost daily. She’s not just a business bestie but a firm friend.
Our beautiful leather and tweed belts are made by the super crafter Tony Collins. Tony has over 28 years’ experience with leatherwork and uses only the finest quality British leathers. He is patient with our learning and guides us to what may or may not work. He takes our ideas from conversation to paper to working samples to the real beautiful products. Tony, like Charlotte, shares the same values as us, and this is evident in the exquisite products he makes for us.
4. Proudest moment so far with Touch of Tweed?
Receiving our 4 Star Award for our first trade stand at Malvern Flower show in 2019. This was the first time we had exhibited, up against seasonal pros but it proved that our hard work and determination to make the stand look it’s best work. It was also lovely to have recognition for all our hard work.
5. If you could share one piece of wisdom about starting a new business, what would it be?
You can never do enough research, even if you think you have, you probably haven’t done enough. Researching is not just done online, but also by networking, reading books, building relationships with fellow business owners and more. We would also recommend starting small and building up organically, to test the water so to speak!
6. Finally, can you share any future plans for Touch of Tweed?
We would love to.. In 2018/19 we had just 2 products to our name. By the end of 2020, we will have 17 products covering ladies and men’s wear, accessories, and pieces for the home. By 2021 we will have nearly doubled that and by 2022 more again. This sounds like a lot, and it is, but they are all carefully thought out items that will build on several ranges but keeping in-line with our three core values. We can’t wait to share more with you soon.
Quickfire Country Bumpkin Chic round:
1. Favourite podcast / song to work to?
Catherine Podcast – can I have three: 1) The Equestrian Business Podcast by Lydia Duce, 2) Tara Talks by Tara Punter and 3) The Small and Supercharged Podcast – Rhea Freeman.
James song to work to – By the sea, Morcheeba.
2. Who inspires you the most in business?
Catherine – Melaine Clarihew from Mackenzie and George
James – Ben Fogle or Jamie Oliver
3. What item could you not survive without?
Catherine – not an item – but my boys James and Jasper.
James – Catherine and Jasper.
4. Favourite west country spot to chill out at?
Catherine – Cornwall, we are super lucky to have friends that live in a beautiful part of We also have our own camper van to jump in and escape in.
5. Favourite motivational quote?
Catherine & James – ‘The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today’.
Thank you so much, Catherine & James, for taking part in Country Bumpkin Chic Chats to.
Tell us all the places, we can find Touch of Tweed on social?
- Website: www.touchoftweed.co.uk/
- Instagram: @Touch of Tweed
- Facebook: Touch of Tweed
- Pinterest: Touch of Tweed