As all years go, there have been plenty of ups and downs for Team FINDRA in 2019. But thanks to the festivals we’ve visited, the feedback we’ve had and the friends we’ve made, it’s been a very successful year and we really hope you’ve enjoyed coming on the journey with us! So what were the highlights of our year?
The Stroma Jacket
February 2019 saw the release of our brand new Stroma waterproof jacket. After two years in the making and plenty of testing, we were confident that this jacket was going to be received well but bringing anything new to the market is always an exciting and scary moment. The unique P4Dry performance fabric using reusable coffee grounds and plastic bottles is in keeping with our sustainable, innovative ethos and we were, and still are, excited to add this outerwear piece to the broadening FINDRA range.
Have you got a Stroma?
Part of FINDRA’s ethos is to encourage everybody to get into the outdoors for at least 30 minutes a day and to reap the physical, emotional and mental benefits. Because we practice what we preach, we organise walks and mountain bike rides in our local area to add a social aspect to the outdoors. Big adventures are awesome but it’s the ‘everyday adventures’, the stuff we do everyday, the things we can build into our lives that give us joy and pleasure as if we can provide a safe space for everyone to build their confidence doing what they love, then we’ll do everything we can to continue doing it.
We continued our social mountain bike rides led by the wonderful Dee (and occasionally Roddy) with multiple rides peppered throughout the year. Not only did we do public, free rides around Innerleithen and Glentress, we also got together as a team and held a team building day culminating in a fantastic ride out in the afternoon. Taking the time to do this strengthened our bond as a small team, and it let off some steam from sitting in FINDRA HQ working hard!
Gleneagles Adventure Race
In May, FINDRA partnered up with the Gleneagles Hotel for the inaugural Great Adventure Race where sporting grit met stunning scenery and luxury hospitality. Athletes were in pairs for the whole race. Our ambassadors Tom Hill and Marion Shoote represented Team FINDRA and were pitted against ultra-endurance athlete Mark Beaumont and his race partner Pete Eccles, and 8 other teams from all different sporting backgrounds.
The weekend was an exercise is luxury adventure and with a 4km canoe, a run over a munro and a 36km bike ride it was well deserved. Tom and Marion wrote about the weekend in their Race Report, so head over there for full analysis!
Other Festivals and Events
We’ve had a great year of attending a variety of different events and festivals all across the UK. From the local Fife Bowhouse event in January to Bristol’s Bespoked Bike Show and Henley’s Women’s Regatta, we’ve absolutely loved meeting friends old and new and showcasing FINDRA.
After our brand ambassador, Jo Moseley, Paddleboarded the North over summer, we were inspired to give it a go on a much smaller scale. We contacted Stand Up Paddleboard Scotland and booked in a Saturday morning session and opened it up to FINDRA customers to come along too and we had an absolutely brilliant morning on the waterways of the Union Canal near Edinburgh.
It always pays off to try something new!
It’s been such a joy to work with such a range of people this year with our brand ambassadors, especially as they do great things. We have plenty of blogs where you can read about Jo Moseley’s Paddleboard the North, Penny Zannikos’s Snapshot of the Summer, Graham’s time on the Transmarocaine Tizi N’Trail, Dee Hollingsbee’s teen mountain bike rides for local school girls and Marion Shoote’s baby-packing adventures in the Tatras Mountains.
We’re so excited to see what our brand ambassadors do next year and we’re thankful for all the ways that they inspire us.
Kendal Mountain Festival
November saw us return to Kendal for one of our favourite events – the Kendal Mountain Festival. The atmosphere is fantastic with such a varied, inspiring line up we wish we could see more of the talks! As with previous years, we’ve held our own Everyday Adventure talk.
Megan Hine hosted a brilliant panel discussion with Jo Moseley, Alex Feechan, Graeme Walker and Dave Flanagan, all of whom have experience of fitting outdoor activities and adventures into their busy home lives and hectic schedules. We always get such great feedback from these sessions as it’s a barrier a lot of people face. Real discussion about the importance of the outdoors and just how you go about fitting it in is necessary to remove these barriers for everybody. Each panel member had a different journey into their everyday adventures and it was fascinating to hear from them all. We were reminded to invest in ourselves and accept our limits; we don’t have to the the best at something to enjoy doing it.
An audience members also wisely pointed out how important it is to say on social media how you can be bad at something. “Being bad at something can be joyful”, said Jo. Just make sure two boxes are being ticked – is it fun? And are you having a good time?
Thank you to everybody who attended our talk and came to chat with us at our stall in Basecamp before and afterwards. Speaking to our customers directly really helps us understand who you are and what you want from us as a brand and how we can better deliver that. Kendal Mountain Festival gets bigger and better each year, so we can’t wait to return again in 2020, meet more of you and see you all again!
This year we were honoured to be shortlisted for a variety of awards! These included:
- Scottish Women’s Awards for Business of the year under 50 employees’
- Drapers Record Independent’s awards – ‘Womenswear brand of the year 2019′
- Scottish Borders Chamber of Commerce – ‘Innovation in Business 2019’
- Mountain Bike Centre of Scotland ‘Product Innovation 2019’
- VIBES Scottish Environmental Business Awards – ‘Product Award Scotland 2019’
- VIBES Scottish Environmental Business Awards – ‘Small Business Scotland Award 2019’
Back in August we announced that we had been shortlisted for the ‘Product Scotland Award’ category in the VIBES the Scottish Environment Business Awards. This came about because one of our lovely customers suggested that we should look into these awards and maybe think about applying. While we applied for the Product Scotland category, we didn’t realise that, as a small business, we were automatically also shortlisted for the Small Business Scotland Award. The application process was extremely thorough, and following the shortlisting announcement there was an onsite visit by 3 of the judges who were keen to learn more about FINDRA and the activities we undertake to grow a sustainable brand and business.
There is so much that we do as a small business on all levels to ensure we are ethical and sustainable, from our approach to design and manufacturing to our free repairs service. We also look to create on-going awareness around environmental issues and sustainability by sharing our knowledge and approach to design and business through educational material, our newsletters and via our brand ambassadors who do great work to highlight these issues and our ethos and values.
It was an unexpected but completely joyful moment to win the Small Business Scotland Award, the fab Team FINDRA work so hard to continually realise the vision I set out to achieve 5 years ago at my kitchen table.
Read more about our win at the VIBES Scottish Environmental Business Awards over on our dedicated blog.
FINDRA @ 5
And finally, we rounded off our year with our 5th birthday on 1st December. There is no doubt that reaching this milestone is quite an achievement given the statistics around start-ups and their failure rate. One things for sure it’s been one hell of a roller coaster ride! There have been ups and there have been downs. There have been unbelievable highs and horrendous lows, but no matter what each day brings, Alex has always believed in FINDRA.
The support I have been shown along the way has been, at times, utterly life affirming. From the unswerving support of my partner (in crime) Roddy, my family, friends, my team and ultimately you, our customers. The interactions and friendships we have made over the last 5 years have made this journey so much richer and so worthwhile.
My team has worked tirelessly to support my vision and fulfil those three core goals. From designing stylish, sustainable, functional and highly versatile garments to winning awards and selling FINDRA to many happy customers all over the world.
You can read more from Alex over on her FINDRA At 5 blog.
So here we are at the end of another year. The Christmas and New Year periods will be a time of reflection and planning. 2020 is set to be another amazing year, so Team FINDRA will definitely need a bit of downtime before we kick off again in January.
Happy Christmas, lovely friends of FINDRA!