Adventure Ready Merino

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International Women’s Day: Introducing Team FINDRA

Today is International Women’s Day and I feel it’s the perfect opportunity to highlight some amazing women that I work with every day, my team! FINDRA is a female-led team bringing together a variety of skill sets and personalities to make FINDRA the successful business it is today! We’re a small, close-knit group who continue to support one another in the day to day running of the company as well as personally. So for IWD I thought I would asked the team what they were inspired by as they were growing up and who inspires them now. To kick things off, I also reflected on this myself.

Alex Feechan

Alex Feechan Team FINDRA

Photo credit: Phil Wilkinson

I am not sure I knew that I was being inspired as I was growing up! But I am pretty sure the influences were lasting. I grew up in the 70’s and was the youngest of 5 children. It was a busy home and I am sure that I immersed myself in creativity and created my own wee world in order to find my own space and get some peace! I do remember loving my Twinkle comics (see below) with a passion! I especially loved the cut-out dress up dolls like ‘Bunty’, I would spend many hours playing with these little bits of paper and quite often would create my own design on the reverse! So the seed was sewn! I also remember my mum’s ‘Brother knitting machine’, which was set up in the front room. I can still remember the oily smell of the wool and the noise the machine made when she was knitting our school jumpers. Books were important to me especially ones with beautiful illustrations. I do look back and remember getting lost in them from a very young age. I still have my 1979 Holly Hobbie Annual, oh how I wanted to be Holly Hobbie! As I got older getting outdoors took over, I loved my bike and my roller skates, and the opportunity to explore the outdoors and feel as sense of liberation!

A lot of these influences are still inspiring me now (maybe not Holly Hobbie!)  Especially nature, and the outdoors. Over the years, I have been hugely inspired by Architecture, modern abstract art, films, Scandinavian design of the 1950’s and travel.

In terms of people who inspire me, the range is vast from Entrepreneur Anita Roddick to my Mum and women I meet every day. I am often inspired by people and their stories. This includes our ambassadors and many other people I have met or read about over the years. But closer to home, I have my family and my group of friends whom I have known since high school. Finally, my team at FINDRA who inspire me to keep focused and stay driven to ensure together we fulfil the vision for FINDRA.

 

Carol Gray

Carol likes detail. Lots of detail. Especially when it involves numbers and as our financial controller, Carol looks after the pennies and makes sure it’s all running smoothly in the office!

Carol Gray Team FINDRA“I grew up on a farm near Selkirk, and while I’ve been away from the area, I’ve come back to the Scottish Borders and I’m raising my family here. My family inspire me; it is hard being a parent and to know if you are doing the right thing, especially when you sometimes feel “pushed to your limits” but I feel proud of the individuals they are turning into.

Being local, I heard about the role at FINDRA through a friend who told me there was an advertisement on Facebook. The role itself seemed a good fit for me with my experience and to be part of the FINDRA team and to grow with it made it all the more appealing and exciting for me. Luckily I was offered the job!

Growing up, I wanted to be a tennis player, especially watching Steffi Graff and John McEnroe on the TV! My motivation nowadays comes from a variety of places and each individual motivates me in a different way. What I try to remember and try my best to pass on to my children is, in the words of J.K Rowling,

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”

Living in the Scottish Borders brings you so close to nature.  With this in mind, and thinking about the future, I truly hope we can all be a part of an age that can figure out the way to stop Global Warming.”

 

Emma Nixey

Emma is FINDRA’s Product Developer who takes my sketches and ideas and brings them to life. She liaises with our suppliers to ensure the wheels of industry run smoothly and our lovely merino goodies arrive on the shelves!

Emma Nixey Team FINDRA“I grew up in Nottingham and have always been creative. I loved drawing, using colour and vintage fabrics and wanted to pursue a career in the field of Textiles. My grandmother was an inspirational figure while I was growing up. She embraced the outdoors and was a passionate walker/rambler and gardener, so full of life and intelligence.

A few years ago, I relocated to Scotland to take a post within the heritage textile Mills in Hawick, in the Scottish Borders specialising in knitwear for cashmere and merino production. I had a meeting with Alex to discuss her company, and I loved her focus on outdoor clothing with quality fabrics and fibres. My role at FINDRA provided an ideal way to combine my passion for the outdoors and utilise my skills and experience within premium knitwear, clothing and high-quality manufacturing.

Now, I get my inspiration from Scotland itself. With its dramatic and spectacular landscape and embracing the Textiles Heritage of the Scottish Borders, it has further inspired my passion for textiles. I’m passionate about the importance of continuing to grow the industry in an area steeped in history with skilled craftsmanship that we should support and embrace”.

 

Helen Langridge

Helen is our most recent employee, joining us late last year to take over the reins of our social media channels and assist with our marketing while working in the Edinburgh shop during the week. Helen is the voice of FINDRA, happily chatting away to you all across our social feeds and keeping you up to-date on FINDRA news whilst juggling all the other things we ask of her! 

Helen Langridge Team FINDRA

FINDRA stripe base layer in the Australian Outback!

“I grew up in south-east Kent and moved to London for University. I always had the desire to travel and I also had a love of cycling having taken it up to cycle to work in 2011. So, from April 2017 until August 2018 I cycled my bike around the world with my now-husband, which is definitely my greatest achievement. The bike ride, not the husband. Well, actually him too.

I had worn FINDRA clothing while I was traveling and I came back with complete belief in the brand having seen what the garments were really capable of. When I moved to Edinburgh upon my return, everything fell into place for me to start working for Alex and FINDRA on their social media and marketing. It was a totally new career move but working for a small, independent business gives me the challenges, values and work ethic I was hoping for.

Growing up, I could never decide on what I wanted to do with my life. I went from wanting to be a Vet, to a Volcanologist, a Detective to a Forensic Scientist. After completing my Masters in Forensic Archaeological Science, my life took a turn in the mental health department and that’s when I moved to Scotland. All along the way from childhood, I’ve taken inspiration from my mum in her ability to get through the rough times and stay strong and be a rock for others. Now, the number of strong women in the adventure scene has skyrocketed so I get extra inspiration from people like Anna McNuff and Jenny Tough who really push their boundaries and have such a positive outlook on life. There’s also my Grandma, who’s 95 and still going strong and living semi-independently. She’s such a huge inspiration and if I can live until her age doing even half of what she does, I’ll be happy.

My hopes for the future revolve around going on more adventures in Scotland and further afield. I’ve always tried to keep my options open, which can sometimes feel like I’m lacking in direction, but actually, it gives me opportunities I may otherwise miss out on. Just like the opportunity to join FINDRA!”

 

Susan Armitage

If you’ve emailed us at FINDRA, you’ve probably heard back from Susan. Susan was Team FINDRA’s first employee and can turn her hand to pretty much anything. She is solely responsible for getting customer orders out the door and sorts out all and any issues, good bad and ugly!

Susan wearing our Iona merino-lite during the Tweed Valley Tunnel Run

“I originally hail from Nairn, in the Scottish Highlands, but have made the Borders my home for the last 15 years. Growing up, I considered a few career options including a Vet, a Minister (for the cloak) and then Indiana Jones. I did end up doing the last having studied and worked as an Archaeologist (all be it with a bit less drama).

I still love doing things with my hands. Over the years I’ve restored and built a few pieces of furniture, landscaped my garden and installed my kitchen, as well as flooring and tiling my house. My best project was a shed I up-cycled from leftovers from a building project and skip finds. I’m always thinking about the next project though….

My family is what keeps me busy and it can be tricky to find time for anything else. I keep my running gear in my boot to try and fit in a wee explore or trail run whilst they are at their training or tournaments though (it helps that my running kit is something that keeps me cosy whilst cheering from the side-lines – I wonder where I got it from?!). I love being part of our small team in a creative business that is having such a positive impact on our local community. The commute isn’t bad either – 15 miles of cycling every day along the lovely Tweed Valley Railway Path!

I feel lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the world and want to help both protect and promote it. I love being out trail running in our local woodlands and whilst it’s nice to have the place to myself, I don’t mind sharing with all the great events and visitors in this area. I often see our young athletes out training in all the weathers and I’m humbled whenever I see their latest news from around the globe. This comes from having such great resources – both the hills to inspire them and the clubs and events to instil a love of the sport and the outdoors. Also having been recently attended a show at the Peebles Film Festival about Re-wilding Scotland, my daughter and I want to volunteer to help replant some native woodland. So, I guess my hopes for the future are to keep giving something back to the Borders to inspire other people to come to take a look for themselves”.

 

To see more about Team FINDRA, keep your eye on our Instagram stories.