By Kathryn Wylie for The Scotsman
An Innerleithen firm specialising in environmentally-friendly outdoor clothing is set for national recognition after being shortlisted for this year’s Scottish Environment Business Awards.
Active lifestyle brand Findra, based in the town’s High Street, is one of five firms shortlisted for the product Scotland accolade at this year’s Vibes awards.
Formerly known as the Vision in Business for the Environment of Scotland awards and still called the Vibes for short, they focus on inspiring companies to play their part in helping Scotland become to be a world leader on tackling climate change.
Findra was founded by keen cyclist Alex Feechan five years ago after she struggled to find suitable, stylish and comfortable exercise clothes.
Deciding to create them herself, Alex’s firm has since gone from strength to strength since its launch in 2014.
Its shop and design hub opened in Innerleithen’s High Street in 2017 and new retail space was established in Edinburgh last year.
Alex’s workforce is now into double figures.
And these awards could be about to showcase the firm’s recognisable brand, which uses only natural, sustainable and recycled materials, on a national stage.
Founder Alex, a former head of design at Peter Scott’s old knitwear factory in Hawick, said: “This is our first time being shortlisted for an award like this, so we are delighted.
“It’s great to be recognised in the product category as a small business as we are working hard to produce products that are natural and sustainable.
“The brand is for people who love being outside and, as we love the outdoors, we want to protect the environment with the products we make.
“We are committed to producing clothing which combines natural or recycled raw materials with innovative manufacturing, such as our pioneering seamless performance technique which sees our 100% Merino wool garments created with zero waste.
“It’s an honour to be shortlisted for this award and to rub shoulders with other fantastic and inspiring business.”
As part of this year’s 20th anniversary celebrations, a special award will also be presented to a past winner which has demonstrated an ongoing contribution to sustainable development by embracing new practices and constantly reviewing its systems so that it remains environmentally focused.
Bob Downes, chairman of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and head of the Vibes judging panel, said: “The scale of environmental challenges facing humanity is enormous, with a real urgency to act.
“The successful businesses of tomorrow will be those who embrace the economic opportunity of sustainable solutions to environmental challenges.
“I would like to congratulate all the finalists who have been recognised by the Vibes Awards, and I look forward to announcing the winners in due course.”
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the awards and finalists have been selected across 11 categories which recognise the various ways sustainable best practice can be implemented.
The winners will be announced at a ceremony on Thursday, November 14, at the Doubletree by Hilton hotel in Glasgow.