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  • Writer's pictureClaire Venus

A cuppa and a catch up with Amie from Ivy and Rigg

Ivy and Rigg are a Northumberland based clothing brand. We caught up with their founder Amie Nevin to chat to her about brand creation, her values and her plans for the future. We have a couple of Ivy and Rigg pieces and they wash and wear incredibly well. If you're looking to invest in pieces of clothing that last and have an ethical chain look no further!

1. Hi Amie, tell us about your background?

I was born in a small village outside of Hexham. I have always been a lover of nature and animals; my grandad and uncles farmed sheep and cows. I often helped with the animals, or were out and about walking, exploring local woods, fields, and along the south Tyne.

My love for the environment led me to an environmental degree, my day job is working in climate change, implementing sustainable projects across rural African countries which tackle climate change and poverty.

I am doing my dream job, one that I could only have imagined when studying and applying to university. So, I never expected to be looking for something else too, something that connects me to home and the rural area that has influenced my life so much and fuelled my passion for the environment. That’s when Ivy & Rigg came about.

2. Where did the name Ivy & Rigg come from?

Initially, I was on the look-out for something that I could earn some extra money that was less time consuming than selling designer items I found in charity shops. I knew whatever it was would be environmentally-minded. Endless research, mind maps and thrown-around ideas, my partner at the time (who I couldn’t have got this off the ground without) and myself came up with eco-friendly clothing and the name. Ivy & Rigg represented aim for ethical clothing and sustainability through an evergreen plant with Ivy, whilst Rigg fit perfectly, meaning to adorn and from the infamous Steel Rigg walk, which is 10 minutes from my family home.

We found a small, certified factory in India producing clothing from recycled plastic bottles, run by renewable energy and certified for their environmentally and socially responsible production by respected institutions. The quality was fantastic, we were blown away. We have since expanded our internationally produced collections, to include more recycled plastic pieces, as well as some organic cotton. All of which are responsibly produced.

In lockdown, we found our first UK-made items, with unbelievably good quality British wool jumpers, with the wool sourced from the North Pennines, reaching as far as Allendale. These are made in a tiny family mill in the Midlands, who only produce small-batch quantities. There is a chance my family’s wool has found itself into some of our jumpers which is a crazy thought! We have expanded this collection to include other British woollies as well as merino wool too.

3. What's your ethos?

Ivy & Rigg is growing , slow and steady wins the race for sustainability.

We work with 4 core ethos in mind:

  • Sheep farming has a rich and interesting history entwined with UK culture, as well as within my own family. The traditional practice underpins rural society, economy and environment. We are committed to supporting British farmers and manufacturers and raising awareness of challenges they overcome through their passion.

  • A county rich in tradition, heritage and rural society. With untouched wild lands and vibrant, down-to-earth people. The county I grew up in and am passionate to explore and champion.

  • We're aiming to achieve sustainable, ethical change. Fabrics and styles that work with nature, to protect our environment, people and all in-between.

  • Showcasing unique, small businesses born in and inspired by Northumberland and beyond. We want to get to know the people behind them, their passion and create a lively community to support Live. Love. Local.

4. What are your future plans

I hope to grow Ivy & Rigg into a respected Northern clothing brand, well known for our sustainable mindset and quality clothing. The dream is to expand our British suppliers, supporting more manufacturers and particularly more farmers. If this could be in Northumberland even better!

I am eager to support any and all responsible premises, working respectfully with people and the environment in mind, who produce high-quality items. With my environmental and social expertise in developing countries, I would love to support rural communities who are often overlooked and unable to access equal opportunities, yet full to brim of traditional practices that require remarkable skills - ethical supply chains and community-level production systems would be amazing to establish, with particular focus on the areas I have visited and built connections with through my own projects and visits.

5. What advice would you give to someone starting out with a creative project idea?

Embrace the feeling that you’re not ready, or that you’re forgetting something – take the plunge and try it out, we all learn best by doing.

Mistakes and low times are unavoidable – accept they’ll happen at some point on the journey (probably more than once) and celebrate the learning curve you’ll have at each one to grow and progress.

Think about and understand your why and the story behind your venture, it will help align everything you do and when someone asks about your project, you’ve got a genuine answer at the ready that you believe in yourself.

Embrace imperfection. We’ll never be perfect, for small businesses in particular, imperfections make us more relatable as real people and give us our unique characters. People connect with that.

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