A family Business

I’d never really thought of solasonach as a family business, but after chatting to a business advisor this week, I realised that it absolutely is!

I’m the only full-time employee, but I just wouldn’t have a functional business without the very real, very practical support of various members of my family!

My husband, John, built the framework of the website last Spring so’s that I could plug in what I needed. With the excitement of the pandemic going digital was absolutely the only choice! Now he helps me whenever I learn new things about online shopping psychology and need to change something, but am too frightened to do it myself in case I break something. This week he’s been helping my try to sort out setting up an Amazon seller account (side note, this turns out to be too complicated for even a seasoned IT professional, and we’ve called it quits for now. International development will have to take an alternative route in the meantime).

My eldest daughter Maisie is doing her higher in graphic design. For a bit of practice, she designed my new logo for me. It’s very simple, but I absolutely love it! She also does the occasional spot of modelling for me. She’s allergic to wool which means this can’t be a regular gig for her unfortunately!

My middle daughter Eve does a bit more modelling for me (she’s not allergic to my entire business so this is really helpful!) I’d had plans before lockdown to try and recruit friends and business associates to model my products, so having some people to do it in house has meant I was still able to keep moving forwards! Eve also promotes me to her friends on Instagram, who diligently like my posts making me feel infinitely better about my relatively small following! She also wears my products, and seeing someone wearing what I’ve made is, for me at least, what it’s all about!

Both girls give me advice and support about my social media. As Gen Z they’ve grown up naturally with it, where I’m still catching up!

My Dad is finance and electrical support. He has funded many of my vital equipment purchases. My knitting machine was a birthday present whilst I was doing my degree. As a single mum I couldn’t always stay late working on the machines at uni, so having a home machine was absolutely invaluable. And now that same machine is the work horse of the business. He’s also responsible for the digital camera that allows me to take (hopefully ever improving) shots of my products. In these times when everything has moved online I wouldn’t have been able to keep going without it. And equally importantly as an electrical engineer, he was able to fit new lighting in my studio so’s that I could take halfway decent photos without having to wait for a suitably sunny day (no mean feat in Scotland).

My business would never have gotten started in the first place without my family’s support. Now with all the changes this last year has brought they’ve helped me bring my business online and start creating a presence which is meant I could not only keep going but develop my business and hopefully expand overseas!

I can honestly say that Solasonach is a family business with caring and fair family values. Everyone has an important part to play. Everyone’s opinions are important. And everyone is equally valued.

I hope I convey this sense of community to my customers as well. My aim, our aim, is to bring you the finest quality product and really bring you joy!

The Lambswool Care Blog

Lambswool is a fantastic natural fibre, and I love the soft finish on our products. So to help you keep them in their best possible shape for as long as possible I’ve put together some information for you.

First and most importantly, lambswool felts with heat and friction! I love a bit of felted wool, but with a product that wasn’t designed to be felted it’s a disaster! It can shrink down to as little of a 3rd of it’s original size! Our care instructions take this into account!

I always recommend hand washing Solasonach products.

Wool shouldn’t need washed that often anyway as it has natural antibacterial properties, but if you’re a bit of a mucky pup like some people in our house…..

First option, Spot cleaning is the business! I recommend a mild detergent when washing your garment in general, but my secret tip is a wee bit of washing up liquid directly on the offending mark, especially if it’s a greasy one! Gently rub the washing up liquid into the dry fabric and then rinse out with warm water.

If you need to wash the whole garment we recommend a mild detergent. I use Surcare liquid on all of the garments because it’s gentle, kind to skin and environmentally friendly. It’s also fragrance free so suits us people with eczema perfectly!

Use water that’s comfortably warm to your hands, too hot and it’ll be unpleasant for you and in danger of felting your garment!

When you are washing your garment be gentle with it. Too much rough washing can result in the dreaded felting, and too much stretching can lead to your garment becoming misshapen. Although lambswool is fairly elastic. Rinse your garment out in cool, but not freezing water.

Never use bleach! Bleach destroys lambswool very effectively! It eats great holes through it!

Do not wring, squeeze gently instead as if you were drying long hair.

Dry flat otherwise it will stretch out of shape. But how? Well my solution is that I use a fold out drying and lay the garment out in its proper shape across the top. Indoors or outdoors this work best!

Do not tumble dry.

Steam Iron! Hot steam is the best thing, but be careful not to touch the garment with the iron, it can burn. Especially if you have a product with lurex in it. We use a specialist high powered steam iron to finish our products.

I don’t like dry cleaning, it’s bad for the environment and full of nasty chemicals we wouldn’t want on our skin. Plus its expensive. I know how my washing machine behaves, but I can’t guarantee what your washing machine will do. I wash all of our garments at a low temperature on a slower spin cycle to get the soft finish I love, but it’s taken a while to get the cycle tailored exactly right on the machine, and there were plenty of disasters!