005. Highland & Herringbone

THE ARTISAN FOUNDER
The inspiring journey of a young entrepreneur and her first business.

From a young age, owning a business developed solely from the very beginning has been a dream of Highland & Herringbone Founder, Charlotte Oliver.

Following countless ideas and many moments of inspiration, at the age of 19 she embarked on what would soon become one of the best journeys, the creation of Highland & Herringbone.

Where it all began.

Although preparations began well over a year beforehand, I decided it was finally time to launch the brand in July of 2020.

Despite having no idea how much of a success it would be during the tough times we were in, amidst the global pandemic, I took the plunge! Launching the brand at a young age, I didn’t have a university degree or a huge amount of corporate experience to guide me through the ‘process’ of running a business, but after hours, sometimes days, of research, I discovered Great British suppliers, an ecommerce platform and found what I hoped to be the perfect customer base.

One of my first roles, I worked within the clothing department of a well-known motorcycle brand, here I learnt aspects of the design, development and manufacturing processes within the clothing industry, along with gaining knowledge in selling via e-commerce and wholesale to independent stockists around the world. This is where my passion for the industry began.

Supporting ‘slow fashion’ was also a goal of mine from the very beginning, so I made the decision to produce all of our knitted products right here in my home county of Leicestershire, being as sustainable as I can be.

Highland & Herringbone was born from a collaborative passion for both the countryside and the clothing industry and has continued to grow each year since launching, in all aspects from product quality and capacity to the number of customers now owning some of our beautiful, luxury and sustainable knitwear pieces.

enjoying the gentle melodies of nature

One girl and her dog.

From the very start, Highland & Herringbone has been solely run by me, Charlotte, unknowingly to many of my customers when I very often get emails for the attention of the ‘marketing department’, the ‘customer service team’, etc.

I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today without the help of friends, family and also so many other business owners.

It has definitely been a journey of ups and downs, having 100% of the business responsibility, but it has shaped me as a person, growing in confidence and also opening future opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise have been possible.

I have learnt so many new skills overtime, from coding aspects of my website (with the very little knowledge in coding that I had from school), to becoming my own brand photographer (some of my initial brand images were questionable quality, that’s for sure), continuing to improve in all aspects of my business each year.

Since 2022, I have had my own little business mascot, Rusty, my two year old chocolate Labrador, featuring in many of the lifestyle imagery for social media! Although sometimes a nuisance, she is always there to pick my spirits up after a tough day of business.

Rural inspiration.

Living in rural Leicestershire, the idyllic English countryside has become one of my favourite places, surrounded by quaint villages, country lanes and beautiful animals.

I have always surrounded myself with the beautiful outdoors, enjoying the gentle melodies of nature. Strolling around the crop fields with my little chocolate Labrador, Rusty (and my mums dog Connie), is one of my favourite things to do to relax. I also enjoy wandering around the rolling country lanes on my horse, Joey, a big Irish Draught cross Thoroughbred, with a not so calm mentality! Sometimes stepping aside from the business for a breath of fresh air can be just what I need on those stressful, less focused days.

The Yarns.

Following my journey to sustainability with Highland & Herringbone, I have developed a range of products made solely from 100% natural yarns in both England and Scotland with the introduction of two new collections, Love Ewe and Oh So Cosy.

Love Ewe is a curated collection of elegantly soft lambswool jumpers and bobble hats designed and made in Leicestershire.

The yarn used to create these beautiful jumpers is spun just a stone’s throw away in a small mill in rural Yorkshire, that I had the pleasure of visiting to get an insight into the process of spinning yarn from raw wool.

The mill spins the softest Australian lambswool, into beautifully coloured yarns that are then delivered to the factory in Leicester to be knitted into the finest jumpers and accessories. I am sometimes asked ‘why do you use Australian lambswool?’, and as much as I would love to use British wool in production, the climate doesn’t allow for such a soft touch, it can often be itchy due to the harsh weather conditions sheep face in Britain, so I made this decision to be sustainable (by shipping only in full containers of wool) whilst still being considerate of the consumer end uses and their comfort.

The Brae Jumper is a bestseller within this collection encompassing a delicate cable knitted hem and a high ribbed neckline. There are many reasons I chose to use 100% lambswool yarns to produce this high quality, luxury range; being the softest sheep’s wool, it is known to be comfortable, cushioned and non-irritative with its short fibres. Wool acts as a natural insulator, as you’d imagine, whilst still being breathable, making it the perfect seasonless yarn, allowing wear all year round.

encompassing the charming characteristics of the English countryside

The second collection built from the sustainable journey of Highland & Herringbone is Oh So Cosy, the newest of the two.

Built from a range of accessories made from high quality cashmere in the beautiful Scottish countryside of Hawick.

Scotland is known for its fine production of cashmere goods and so became the home of Oh So Cosy! My firm favourite from this collection is our Cawdor Wristwarmers in Mushroom – a staple for these cooler months, being a neutral tone, they pair with every outfit!

The wristwarmers feature an intricate cable design, tying back with the Brae Lambswool Jumper in a subtle yet classy way! Cashmere allows you to stay both warm and dry with its insulating and moisture wicking abilities, making it the most perfect yarn for knitted accessories.

Brand Values.

A key theme when I talk about Highland & Herringbone, is my focus on sustainability and aiding ‘slow fashion’ following the damaging effects that bigger commercial brands have caused, not only on the mindset of our society but their impacts on the environment also.

My core value is producing high quality garments made entirely from natural fibres, right here in the UK.

British manufacturing has been the biggest influence in a lot of my decisions as a business owner.

Remaining consistent with this and only crafting garments here in England and Scotland, I have traceability of my products and have regular meetings/factory visits with the Leicester based factory, ensuring they are always meeting the highest standards and being fair with their staff, in most cases going above and beyond.

My Goals.

My future for Highland & Herringbone is always changing, but my goals remain the same, to design new, stylish pieces from beautiful natural materials. I am currently working on a new 100% sustainable cotton collection to create a spring/summer focussed collection.

The designs are still in work, but I have huge aspirations for this range, being made locally in Leicestershire, like the Lambswool garments I have designed, and made from the softest, most luxury cotton.

For now, I am taking each day as it comes and growing the business into a luxury, natural brand, encompassing the charming characteristics of the English countryside that I live in.

IMAGES ©Highland & Herringbone 2024
THE ARTISAN FOUNDER
Our Founder

Charlotte’s adventure with Highland & Herringbone is a heartfelt narrative of passion, sustainability, and the art of slow fashion.

From her serene walks in the Leicestershire countryside to the creation of luxurious, sustainable knitwear, Charlotte’s story is a reminder of the beauty that arises when we align our work with our values.

Her commitment to quality and the environment, alongside her love for the English countryside, weave into each piece of Highland & Herringbone, inviting you to embrace a lifestyle where fashion is both beautiful and kind.

Follow us for more tales of artisans like Charlotte, who are not just designing clothes but are fashioning a better world, one stitch at a time.

-Lyndsey

 

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