Discovering "Felt So Good" in Scotland
As an avid traveller and explorer, especially within our homeland Scotland, I have certainly come across many small towns, villages, secret streets and corners – and within these hidden wonderful places, of course you will find independent wee shops full of local and rare treasures.
Brought up in England with an affinity and pining soul for the Scottish highlands and isles, my family visited Scotland every single year for our summer holidays, sometimes if we were lucky more than once a year. Our family roots and heritage being deeply embedded in Scotland gave strong foundations for the urge to come back and moreover, not come “home”. Scotland was home for mine and my brother’s hearts, the one place we had ‘the feeling” belonging, happiness and freedom – the bagpipes still bring happy tears to our eyes, our hearts beat faster and make our hairs stand on end.
And one of the biggest reasons to return: Our beloved Nana, the legendary: Rosemary – with cheekiest glint in her eye, the softest warmest accent from Elgin, world class homemade Scottish tablet, the best roast dinners and soups in the world and the sturnest look if you didn’t finish your liberally buttered cabbage (to be honest though, I could eat that as a whole meal, it’s so delicious and probably not even a vegetable anymore after all the butter and seasoning – the true Scottish way!) Rosemary is known and beloved by everyone in her seaside town Cullen, for her daring sense of humour, quick-wit and classes she puts on in the community.
An affinity with scottish ways
Three years ago my now wife and I decided enough is enough! We can’t sit around waiting for it to happen, and we took the leap during covid to get out of England and move to the land we hold dearest. I had no job after having to close my business due to covid, and my partner had just left her job to pursue a business of her own. It was risky to say the least, but it paid off and we have never been happier.
Our outlook on every aspect of life has changed, we live more thoughtfully and economically, we stop and talk to strangers in the street on beautiful days, we have hour-long conversations with our neighbours over the wall in our dressing gowns! – I must admit I was a gloomy soul back in the town we used to live, never stopping to talk to anyone if I could avoid it, especially not … a stranger *GASP* … We have started to grow our own fruits and vegetables and waste so much less than we used to. Shop smaller and locally and support small businesses over large conglomerates. We respect the earth in a way we never thought we had time to in our busy old lives and it’s created a deeper reflection of respect and love to ourselves too.
Scotland’s greener, slower way of life really has rubbed off on us, its approach to restore and protect nature is inspiring and the support network of small businesses within the circle and the public is like nothing I have ever seen or been a part of before.
I think you get the idea now, Scotland for me has so much more than land to offer, it has heart and soul and runs in our blood. This is why to this day I continue to travel within this beautiful country, back to places we love and discover new places too, there is so much to unfold still in this ever changing and rugged land. Scotland will never cease to amaze me.
How Fairtrade decor is changing the world
So what has any of this got to do with “Felt So Good” and their economic, fairtrade felt decorations from Nepal? Well, upon many of my travels through the highlands, islands and lowlands of Scotland I have found one kind of treasure which seems to pop up in almost every single tiny gift shop across the lands. These treasures are small, fuzzy, unique handmade creatures and characters of animals and objects, fairy tales, nature, seasonal depictions and even storytelling animals in amusing costumes all of which represent something much bigger than themselves: these soft little creatures support a network of women in cottages in Nepal who would otherwise have no way to make money and support themselves.
I had to find out more for myself, and what I discovered was heart”felt” joy, kindness and consideration for the earth and these wonderful craftswomen in Nepal. I’ll leave the rest of the story telling to the founder of this fabulous company, Adele:
Who are "Felt So Good" and what do they do?
“Felt so good was born in 2009, when founder Adele Zara Collinson was working in Asia and came upon the vibrancy and potential of using felt as a sustainable, eco-friendly material.
As much as Adele was loving life as a holiday rep for TUI, she knew her passion for a creative business was calling. So, combining her knowledge from her design degree and an overwhelming urge to bring handmade beautiful products to the masses, her search for an ethical cottage industry began.
For weeks she visited factories large and small throughout India to ensure that the location that would produce her designs was safe, ethical and had a minimal carbon footprint. Finally, she found the perfect relationship. A small cottage industry in Nepal creating products from wool.
Once returning to the UK she started selling at weekend craft markets and travelled all over the country from Inverness Scotland to Penzance Cornwall selling to shops.
Throughout the next couple of years, she had revisited the team in Nepal numerous times and had built up a design collection that was different to anything else on the market. Then in 2011 attended her first trade show at Autumn fair in the UK.
The underlying ethos behind Felt so good has always been to produce high quality, ethically produced, sustainable products that don’t compromise on design, all whilst showcasing the techniques and skills of our team.
Our vast collections showcase fabulous characters and decorations for all seasons and occasions, and we work hard to regularly launch innovative new products. Currently over 150 new designs a year! Adele travels to Nepal three times a year to take out these new designs and work directly with the team, whilst making the details and the personalities of the characters perfect and ensuring that the values and ethics of Felt so good are being upheld and strengthened. Throughout the past ten years, not only have amazing business relationships been formed but also lifelong friendships.
As Felt so good continues to grow, so does our team in Nepal. We now employ over 250 talented people and in 2022 plan to open a second cottage industry over an hour away from our current location, which will enable local people in that area to be taught a new skill and have secure employment that isn’t currently offered in that remote area. This is with strong thanks to everyone that has bought from and supported Felt so good over the years.”
How Beò will be working with Felt So Good
What an incredible brand Story, I’m sure you will agree and also see exactly why Scotland’s wee eco supportive shoppes stock these amazing creations, despite them not being made in Scotland. We are so excited to join these stores in supporting Felt So Good and all the great work they have already achieved, and will continue to achieve we think, for years and years to come.
We have started our journey with Felt So Good with a small handpicked selection of decorations for you this Autumn and Halloween season, cute, amusing, unique characters we hope you will enjoy from Halloween Spooks to cute little pumpkins. Discover them all below and let us know what you think! And as always, tag us on instagram @house_of_beo so we can see them in your homes.
We hope to bring you a Winter/Christmas selection this year too, so keep your eyes peeled for festive friends from Nepal, with love.