iSea Surfwear goes mobile!
Some of you will know what we do, but some won't, so to sum it up we design and make surf style clothing in our little studio by the sea in Pembrokeshire, Wales....and we also organise beach cleans!
Currently we spend a lot of time loading and unloading all our kit into our little yellow van and touring around the UK festivals selling our hand made clothing, or you'll find us at a beach in Pembrokeshire, running a beach clean, along with a great bunch of volunteers.
We have outgrown our current van so we've bought a bigger vehicle to convert into a multi-functional mobile shop/ workstation/ beach clean hub, powered by the sun, our energy and your help! Pledge now and get rewarded....
If you'd like to know more please scroll down the page! To see the new designs for the rewards scroll down too!
I've drawn a selection of new designs especially for this crowdfunder. The Ocean Mandala design will be printed in turquoise ink onto T-shirts, bags and a limited number of our reversible hoodies. The smaller designs will be made into full colour stickers.
What is iSea surfwear?
iSea Surfwear is a lifestyle clothing brand that is inspired by the coast. It is an established brand with a strong eco-friendly ethos and high production values. All the garments are handmade and screen-printed in our little studio by the sea in Amroth, Pembrokeshire, using ethically-sourced materials. The company is working towards achieving zero waste and the product has limited packaging, uses responsibly-sourced raw materials and has a successful recycling scheme in place where people can return their old/damaged clothing in exchange for a discount on future purchases. This is then repaired, recycled, re-sold.
iSea is an innovative company in that it promotes responsibility and sustainability and encourages its customers to buy better rather than buying more, and to think about where the materials that make up your clothing come from and the effect that this has on the environment. It also takes the hard work out of doing this - iSea is fully-transparent about its suppliers and part of the customers’ buying experience is that they know they are buying clothing that is ethically produced.
iSea supports the local economy by employing local people to make the garments, (we currently employ two production assistants on a part time basis) and promotes the learning of and passing on of traditional printing and sewing skills. iSea also works with a team of local freelancers for marketing, accounting and digital purposes, supporting other small, local, independent businesses in the Pembrokeshire community.
What are the beach cleans?
My daughter, Jaz (age 12) and I are the representatives for Surfers Against Sewage in South Pembrokeshire and regularly run beach cleans on Amroth, Freshwater West and many other beaches. The aim of the beach clean is to get the community involved in cleaning up the coast line and to promote the environmental benefits of looking after our beaches. Creating a plastic-free coastline around Pembrokeshire is the ultimate goal so there is a strong emphasis on encouraging people to use alternatives to single-use plastics.
This is something that we are rolling out to local businesses - we are working to educate companies on how they can reduce waste by educating staff, using more ethical suppliers and looking at plastic alternatives, wherever possible.
The beach cleans offer other benefits than just cleaning up the coast. Uniting the community on a single issue gets people working together towards a common goal and has numerous benefits including physical and mental well-being, strengthening community ties and encouraging people to get outside and use the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. It’s also been really successful at linking tourists and locals as both turn out in force to help with the beach cleans, and working together helps each understand and respect the other in turn. The Spring and Autumn beach cleans have become a real event in the areas they are run and a diary date not to miss. We link up with other environmental groups including, Keep Wales Tidy, The National Trust and The Marine Conservation Society to support each other wherever possible.
Blending the two
iSea Surfwear has purchased a vehicle with an integrated horsebox on it, with the intention of converting it into a mobile shop. I would like to blend my passion for cleaning up the coast with my business in order to offer a practical solution to reaching a wider audience, both for getting my brand in front of more customers and expanding the environmental education. The proposal is to marry the two ideas so that the mobile shop doubles up as a beach clean hub. In order to make this a sustainable and viable project it is vital that the business element supports the voluntary work that we are so passionate about.
Why have a mobile shop?
iSea has a strong presence at festivals around the UK and this has been a very successful way of attracting new customers. To have a shop on the high street is unaffordable due to high rents and business rates in areas with high footfall, so the business mainly operates at festivals, events and as an online shop. For the last two years in the winter we have had a 'pop up' style shop in empty buildings which has proved highly successful, there is high demand for the locally designed and manufactured products.
I am a single parent and being self-employed helps me manage a lifestyle where I can be there for my daughter, bring her up in an outdoorsy lifestyle and spend time with her, which wouldn’t be possible in a shop. My home and work studio are situated in Amroth, so I can actually be in the environment that inspires both my business and passion for beach cleaning.
The mobile shop will enable iSea to visit various locations around the Pembrokeshire coast and further afield, offering a practical solution to getting the products in front of people and increasing brand awareness.
The horsebox vehicle will be converted by a local business, and equipment will be powered by solar energy. All the fixtures and fittings will be responsibly sourced and local businesses and services will be used as much as possible. A key element to the mobile shop is that me and my team will be able to work from the trailer, so people can see for themselves how their clothes are handmade. Sewing machines will run from solar panels and customers can see how traditional skills are used to make really high quality products, promoting handmade over mass-produced.
How does the mobile shop work as a beach cleaning hub?
The hub will contain all the kit for a beach clean, so as well as running organised clean-ups, beach users will be encouraged to do mini-cleans and can get gloves, litter pickers, bin bags etc from the hub, where there will also be a sharps bin and lots of enthusiasm and encouragement for their hard work from the iSea team! There will be and incentive/reward scheme put in place to encourage beach users to get involved.
The hub will be a point of contact for people wanting to find out more and participate, and to learn about the plastic-free coastlines initiative. It will also be a place where other reps can be trained up and supported.
The hub is more than just an information board, it will encourage interaction, promote community and incentivise beach cleaning in a measurable way. The amount of litter collected will be weighed with a running toll kept, and numbers of people participating counted. iSea will also work with businesses and charities to have organised initiative-lead beach cleans with specific aims such as combating loneliness, getting older people/school groups being active and environmental awareness for businesses. We have been organising beach cleans for the past 6 years and have noticed an increase in interest from members of the public who have never heard or thought of participating in voluntary work. There are a number of organisations who carry out similar activities who we work along side. At the moment the events are publicised on social media, websites and posters and very often people say they do not know about the beach cleans, a mobile hub has a more visible presence.
Our mobilehub will benefit the community in a number of ways as the beach cleans encourage interaction, working together to tackle the marine litter crisis.
Surfers Against Sewage are our main partner as we are volunteer representatives for them, they will provide us with support in training and promotional materials.
We already have support from Pembrokeshire County Council for our organised beach cleans, liasing with them to collect the rubbish we have collected and sorted for recycling, we would hope this will continue on a more regular basis
We also hope to work closely with Keep wales Tidy, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum, GreenSeas Resources Ltd and other environmental groups.
Once the viability of the concept is demonstrated in the pilot project it could be rolled out to other coastal areas, providing diversification opportunities for other coastal businesses such as mobile cafes.
The aim is to work with other local environmental groups to recycle and reuse much of the plastic rubbish that is collected and create greater awareness of the issues related to marine litter.
iSea Surfwear designs and manufacture clothing that is high quality, practical, warm and long lasting, 'Buy less, choose well and make it last' is a motto we follow.
We run a recycling scheme where our clothing can be returned once grown or worn out and we reward the customer with discount off their next purchase. The returns are then repaired and sold on to a new home or recycled into a new product. This is a scheme that continues to grow, so by promoting this from the mobile shop we will hopefully create greater awareness of today's throw away culture and educate customers in the process. By having some of our products sewn directly from the vehicle using solar energy we hope this will conserve energy and also create environmental awareness and interest.
The beach cleaning hub will encourage people to look after their coastal environment by providing the equipment for them to help clean our beaches and be a place where the litter can be collected and sorted for recycling. It will promote the plastic-free coastlines campaign and also benefits wildlife by giving them a cleaner, safer coastal environment.
Social and community benefits
The mobile shop promotes and inspires a more sustainable way of life through using solar energy.
Being responsible in decision making (from the clothes you buy to what you consume and how it effects the world we live in) is something that we hope to promote.
It benefits The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park as both the shop and beach clean will encourage people to visit the coast and use the beach responsibly
It raises awareness of the beach cleans and expands them from being organised events to something people can do whenever they go to the beach, anyone can join in no matter what their background or circumstances are.
It will help create a society in which people’s physical and mental well-being is maximised and in which choices and behaviours that benefit future health are understood
The beach clean encourages interaction, working together, getting outdoors and active, and provides an opportunity to contribute to the local community in a positive way. We run workshops with community groups and schools and we are in the process of introducing the Surfers Against Sewage 'Plastic free schools' campaign in Pembrokeshire.
The business element will secure my self employment and that of my two current employees. It could potentially provide employment and training opportunities for both the clothing manufacturing and beach cleaning elements once the project is established. The aim is for sales to increase by being out in the community on a regular basis which will then sustain and grow the business and at the same time grow our network of volunteers for the beach cleaning element of the project.
We already work with several small local businesses on a freelance basis creating some great ideas and connections which we would like to build upon in the future.
We are very proud to be the only surfwear company designing and manufacturing all our products in Pembrokeshire. Our labels state the products are 'Made in Wales' and we will continue to promote Pembrokeshire/Wales from our mobile shop when we are touring the UK festivals. The beach clean element will promote our beautiful coastline and Pembrokeshire Coast National park as much as possible.
As a concept having a vehicle with a work station (industrial sewing machines run by solar energy), shop and acting as a community beach cleaning hub has not being done elsewhere in Wales, and is potentially the first of its kind in the UK. The reason to blend the two together is to create a sustainable and viable project. Once it has been demonstrated successfully it could be expanded out to other areas either as a whole or by splitting the two elements. It is a practical solution to create a more sustainable way of life and will contribute to a resilient, vibrant community.
What will the money be spent on?
The horse box vehicle will be converted by a local business using responsibly sourced, salvaged and upcycled materials, into the mobile shop/beach cleaning hub. (Vehicle has already been purchased) A solar panel system will be fitted to run sewing machines, lighting, and heating. Two industrial sewing machines will be purchased for the mobile unit as an addition to existing machines so that production work can continue in the studio and whilst mobile.
Beach cleaning equipment will be purchased- to add to our existing equipment, regular reports will be undertaken on how many volunteers participate, how much rubbish is collected and how much is recycled
Community workshops will be delivered to engage the public in a creative and educational way.
With your help, this project will enable us to become a sustainable small business, creating local jobs and support SAS beach cleans going forward. By combining the shop and workshop in the vehicle, income generated enables us to attend and support more beach cleans in the future. Long-term sustainability of the activity is at the heart of this project enabling an SME to support the voluntary sector and provide support for activities to address an important environmental issue.
For any questions or if you have skills or ideas you think may help us please contact us by email email@example.com, if you'd prefer to have a chat on the phone please email us to arrange a time as we are really busy and I talk enough as it is!!