Q&A with Tess Annan

Q&A with Tess Annan

Tess Annan, daughter of Kim and Ray (Founders), pictured here with Shappa, their dog.
 
How different is the company now to when it started back in 2000?
"To be honest, it’s done a real 360. Up until now, we’ve been one of the leading providers of waterproof country gear, with a unique twist, but originally we specialised in hand painted wellingtons and raincoats. The original company name, Welligogs, harks back to the founder’s childhood name for her wellington boots. The designs were bright and fun and completely original. Now, along with our more traditional wax jacket and leather waterproof boots, you will find dresses, sandals and loungewear in our collection. However, in the past couple of years, we have gone back to our roots. We have revived some heritage designs from the wellies, reincarnating them into sustainable socks and activewear." 
 
How is working in fashion different today to when WG was just starting out?
"It is a faster, less empathetic market and that is mainly down to the internet. Since we moved away from rubber wellies to higher quality wax jackets and leather boots, we have always prized ourselves in providing top quality products made from natural materials. The internet has allowed the world to accommodate fast fashion and now, the competition isn’t just for well produced seasonal goods but for cheap, harmful garments (environmentally speaking) that have a shelf life of 2-3 weeks. Although we are starting to see a real change in attitude from people who want to be more fashion conscious and opt to buy fewer, better quality products, the want for a one-night Insta outfit is still huge. We hope that one day, people will be less driven to get quick satisfaction for a single night and think of the longevity of a piece of clothing and where it can take you in the years to come."
 
Why did you move away from wellington boots and towards more luxury leather boots and tailored coats/jackets?
"Mainly because we wanted to offer our customers a higher quality product that was made closer to home. We now look to source as much as possible from the UK or Europe. We have a lot more control of the supply chain of our garments, we regularly visit our factories to make sure the quality and conditions are of the highest standards. By sourcing locally, we are able to make our carbon footprint as small as possible."
 
How is WG unique?
"We provide quality products with a distinctive flare. We have a traditional British quality to our core range but are renowned for our detailing and interesting signature features. For example, the majority of our wool jackets have a signature contrast cuff, collar and pocket detail, and our waterproof coats tend to be a more fitted cut with contrast notes that flatter the feminine silhouette. With our new sustainable activewear range, we have designed a performance based workout set made from recyclable materials with heritage WG prints and features."
 
Where do you get your design inspiration from?
"Our surroundings mostly. The British countryside, it’s rich reds and chestnuts in autumn, the bright colours of flowers you would find on a summer day in a country garden. In 2018, we sent our design team to Mexico to get some different ideas. There is a whole piece about what inspired them, you can read it here."
 
What’s your favorite WG piece at the moment?
"Ooo, it’s tricky. Probably the Putney Blazer. I adore it. We were inspired by traditional gentlemen's smoking jackets. It’s 100% cotton velvet, a slightly longer line, with the most marvellous paisley print. The print is subtle and catches the light beautifully, it looks black to begin with but as you look at it more closely, you pick up the mutlicoloured hues. It’s finished off with our signature features, the WG cuff, pocket and collar detail. Simply sublime."
 
What do you think makes coats like the Louise or the Odette so well loved and popular?
"The cut. Our customers always feedback to us how gorgeously feminine they find them. Traditional British wax jackets tend to be boxy and shapeless for women. Our Louise and Odette are based on the Edwardian riding jacket, the adjustable waist would have been the ladies corset, bringing her in at the waist and the fishtail back would have gone over the saddle."
 
When did you first become interested in sustainability?
"It really began when we transferred from rubber to leather back in 2006. But it has really come into its own in the past three years."
 
Can you tell us a little about how WG aims to do as much as it can to help save the planet?
"Being a small family business we have a lot more control over our carbon footprint than bigger companies and can be super vigilant with the supply chain. We try to visit our factories and make sure the conditions for the workers are up to scratch. We physically see and inspect how garments are made, this is quite rare as the number of companies that actually go and see their productions are quite small. We also opt for natural, regenerative materials and fabrics for our products as much as possible. We are always looking for innovative ways to create products in a more sustainable way. We have managed to now use recycled sole units on our footwear, made from first generation plastic, and are investigating using natural beeswax to waterproof our garments over traditional wax. We also have small, quality collections we bring out twice a year instead of going down a fast fashion path. We try our best to not only use sustainable resources in our garments, but also in our office resources. We make sure to use recycled paper for our printer in the office and in our day to day note taking, as well as having eco friendly printers that use less energy and ink than normal printers. Wherever possible, we recycle our delivery boxes, if they are in good condition and for our swing tickets and neck labels, we use eco-friendly cards or recycled materials."
 
How does WG manage waste?
"We try and reuse as much as possible. We repack our coats in their original plastic, providing the condition is still good. We reuse our cardboard boxes when sending out our orders, again providing they are in good condition. We don’t throw out paper, unless we have to, we use it as notepaper in the office. We try and give things as much of a life as possible, our coat hangers see many different coats." 
 
What are WG’s core values?
"Durable, long lasting products that don’t compromise style or silhouette designed with our customers and the planet in mind. We care about the effect our business has on the planet, we care about our customers and their journey when they buy from us. We want to promote and support local businesses wherever possible and we care that the products we create are beautiful and unique."
Kim & Ray Annan (Welligogs Founders), Tess Annan and Shappa their dog.
Springtime

Springtime

Here’s a few things we love to do as we transition into Spring…
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First of all...Easter! Nothing welcomes spring better than easter egg hunts, gifting your loved ones and making cute crafts with the kids. 
One of our favourite bakes is this glorious easter cake with, of course, a mountain of mini eggs for decoration… Treat the family with some home baking which will keep everyone happy, and on a constant sugar buzz!
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As well as baking, we love the traditional easter egg hunt. Hide chocolates of every shape and size in little nooks and crannies and everyone will be running around like headless chickens!
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The Scavenger hunt is just as fun if not more so, you can hide clues around your garden and everyone will be searching for less traditional treats. In fact, the more specific and random, the better.  An example of this is a colour scavenger hunt, where you’ll have examples of the colour you want, and everyone has to run around and find anything that matches that colour, it could be a pebble, flower or even a gnome!
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If the weather isn’t perfect, then you can always take the activities indoors with some arts and crafts. Dress up some eggs to make them beautiful or create little spoon bunnies that the children can play puppets with. The possibilities are truly endless. 
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If you want to enjoy the changing seasons, then spending a day in the countryside is the perfect plan. Take a stroll through some farmlands to watch the lambs gambole, and the daffodils sprouting, the true epitome of spring. Take a picnic, but always remember to pick up your litter!
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Not only are we looking forward to spending more time outdoors, but we can now properly plan our gardening efforts. Plant some flower seeds in that overgrown patch (remember to weed first) and expect a beautiful vista of budding bulbs in a matter of weeks! If you’re a beginner then start with some easy veggies that aren’t too high maintenance. Some of these veggies are: beetroot, salad leaves, tomatoes, potatoes, peas, radishes and courgettes. A little bit of patience, love and green fingers will go a long way!
Mother's Day with @mud_on_my_mulberry

Mother's Day with @mud_on_my_mulberry

We caught up with Andrea (mud_on_my_mulberry) to discuss the day that celebrates our lovely mums. 
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What does Mother's Day mean to you?
As a new mum (well a year in now!) I guess it’s a love and a bond like no other, watching your child develop and grow into a little person is so rewarding and just fascinating to see.
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What does Mother's Day mean to you?
A day of family coming together for all the mums, step mums, grandmas, great grandmas, aunty’s, pretend auntys, and remembering those special to us who aren’t with us any more. It’s certainly a day of celebration in our family. 
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What is your ideal Mother's Day outfit?
We always dress up for Mother’s Day, Christmas Day etc, we put on our Sunday best, so usually a nice top, jeans and some heels.
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What is your ideal Mother's Day meal?
A roast for sure! My dad is the king of the roast potato, so usually on days like this we gather around mum and dads and have a big roast all together, usually fighting for the end of the meat or the crispiest potato! 
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How does your ideal Mother's Day play out?
Ooooh, well, ideally I’d have had a good nights sleep with Andy offering to see to Grace if she wakes, then breakfast in bed maybe, I’ve got really into pancakes lately, then an easy morning, and as I said, We tend to gather at mum and dad's for a roast dinner. We have a couple of drinks and all just chat and catch up. My nephew is usually entertaining us with something new and of course we now have Grace, who loves a crowd and everyone fights over Grace cuddles because they have hardly seen her since she was born. It’s not going to be the same over zoom this year! :-( 
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We thank Andrea for taking the time to talk to us and for the lovely images she captured with gorgeous baby Grace. Andrea wears our Odette Khaki Coat, Camel Roll Neck JumperSand Suede Trainers & Brown Herringbone Bakerboy Hat
Sustainability

Sustainability

Being a small family company, gives us  agency over the big decisions, as well as the smaller ones. We regularly inspect how our garments are made which is rare in itself, and we have a lot of control over the supply chain. We choose natural, regenerative materials and fabrics whenever we can and we’re always looking for innovative ways to create products in a more sustainable way. Our high quality materials are designed to last.
Our Wool:
Our wool jumpers and loungewear are made from raw materials and all natural fibres. As part of our journey to provide sustainable fashion, the IWTO (International Wool Textile Organisation)"wool is all natural, renewable fibre". Our 100% chunky soft merino wool jumper is a traditional guernsey style piece. It’s an incredibly warm item, originally worn by sailors due to its practicality.
Our new loungewear sets are made with a merino wool and cashmere blend, made from the wool of Kashmir goats, our merino wool is our most luxurious yarn. Kashmir goats produce their fine long hair in very small quantities, which makes this pure cashmere very rare and luxurious. A pure cashmere jumper can feel as light as air, however it can be up to eight times as warming as ordinary wool. Our method is to weave two threads together to create the yarn, which makes it stronger and more pliable than other high street jumpers. Our 100% merino wool is also a luxurious yarn which is also all natural, renewable fibre.
Our Cotton
Producing cotton can take its toll on the world, particularly as the majority of cotton is grown in countries facing water shortages. According to the World Economic Forum, water scarcity has been recognised as one of the top 10 global risks to society we’re facing over the next 10 years. Because of this, we use 100% organic cotton in our shirts which has significantly fewer negative impacts on water than non-organic. Farmers use natural methods like composting to fertilise their soil, which makes it healthier and more likely to soak up water and retain it when there is a drought. Pesticides are banned from organic farming, therefore less water is used in the process, because there is no need to dilute the chemicals from the soil. And finally, organic farmers rely on rainfall to water their cotton, so that they don’t put pressure on precious water resources in local communities. 
Our recycled Polyester
Our sustainable activewear is made from recycled plastic bottles, which means that we avoid manufacturing virgin polyester and contributing towards already saturated landfills. We’re using 30% less water in our manufacturing process, saving natural resources and lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Our beautiful custom made activewear pieces come in 4 different styles; Noir , Marble , Paw Print and Blue Roses.
 
 
Recycled office resources
We try our best to not only use sustainable resources in our garments, but also in our office resources. We make sure to use recycled paper for our printer in the office and in our day to day note taking, as well as having eco friendly printers that use less energy than normal printers. Wherever possible, we recycle our delivery boxes if they are in good condition and for our swing tickets and neck labels, we use eco-friendly cards or recycled materials.
Lockdown Distractions

Lockdown Distractions

Wine and Cheese tasting
Why not try out a company that sends you handpicked wines and cheeses and will then guide you through with a personalised video. They’ll explain why each component fits perfectly with each other, and you can widen your vino knowledge, as well as fill up on delicious dairy! They’ll also provide you with crackers, gherkins and cured meats. https://www.lafromagerie.co.uk
 
Podcasts
Here are some of our favorite podcasts that you should definitely check out!
Table Manners / Deliciously Ella / Off Menu / My favourite Murderer / Something rhymes with purple / Serial / The Cheer Up Luv Podcast / The Guilty Feminist / Code Switch / Grounded with Louis Theroux
 
Use a Tie-Dye Kit
Feel like being creative? This is great fun to have with the family, or to turn an old white t-shirt into something colourful for spring!
  1. Find a clear space. Tie-dye can be messy, so we recommend arranging bin bags or plastic sheeting outside, in the garage, or on a craft table.
  2. Prepare your T-shirt. Choose a pre-washed, 100-percent cotton T-shirt. Soak the shirt in lukewarm water, wring out the excess, then lay it flat. (You don't need to wet the T-shirt before dyeing it, but the color won't spread as far on dry fabric.)
  3. Prepare your dye. Grab a tie-dye kit and follow the package instructions. The highly-concentrated dyes will come in partially-empty squirt bottles. You'll probably fill the bottles with warm water and shake to combine.
  4. Plan the design. Pinterest is full of pattern ideas, choose one you like, and tie your shirt tightly with rubber bands to make the desired design.
  5. Tie-dye your shirt. Squirt dye from the spray bottle onto the shirt, following the pattern of your choice. Make sure to apply only one color at a time. Work with lighter colors first (pink, yellow, lime green, etc.), since darker colors can be layered over the top of them.
  6. Let it dry. With the shirt still rubber-banded together, place it in a plastic bag or cover it with plastic wrap. Let it sit for 12-24 hours so the colors set. You can also take it out sooner to achieve pastel-like colors.
  7. Wash the shirt. Unwrap the shirt and take off the rubber bands (wear gloves!) Rinse it in cold water until the run-off is clear. Then wash it in the washing machine with cold water; don't put any other clothing in the machine. Dry the shirt and it's ready to wear!
 
Karaoke Night
An easy party night could be to indulge in some home style karaoke! There are plenty of karaoke apps out there, or even splash out on a karaoke machine if you’re feeling extra. YouTube is also a great place to find karaoke versions of all your favorite sing-alongs.
 
Try Out New Cuisines
Try out a new cuisine to cook at home - we have plenty of recipes for you to try. Getting out of your comfort zone in the kitchen can be rewarding and delicious!