Yorkshire businesswoman's crowdfund to fight against plastic
A Yorkshire mum of 2 who hand makes laundry care products for a global audience from her home in Ilkley is celebrating this week having been selected as a winner of “What’s your idea?” competition from Crowdfunder and GoDaddy which has seen her win £1,000 funding, to enable her to make a difference through her business.
Supported by Business is GREAT Britain and Capital IFX, Sarah Turner, Founder of Little Beau Sheep, the only UK producer of 100% natural organic British wool dryer balls, entered the exporting category and won the £1000 investment.
She is now putting this towards a crowdfunding target of £2000, with a campaign that launches on 14th March for 2 weeks, to enable her to remove unnecessary plastic from her product packaging. The crowdfunding campaign is available to support on the crowdfunder website by searching littlebeausheep.
Sarah, a mumtrepreneur who left a high flying corporate job as Marketing Manager of a global bank to set up Little Beau Sheep, is now looking to tap into her marketing skills as well as her networks to help her reach her crowd-funding target, which would enable her to redesign her packaging into cardboard packaging, after she has become increasingly aware of stats that state UK recycling rates of packaging materials for plastic is just 44.9% compared to 81.9% for paper and card, and that plastic takes 450 years to decompose (longer in landfill)*.
Sarah’s driven by a need to make a difference on a local level and beyond and as President of Ilkley BlueBelles WI she’s also involved in their campaign to End Plastic Soup - the microplastic fibres that contaminate the ocean.
Little Beau Sheep was born from Sarah’s need for more work life flexibility after having children, along with her desire to create a business that had more connection for her locally, in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales. Being a natural crafter and creator, combined by personal experiences led her to the business she has today. Having discovered the positive health benefits of Lanolin (now used in her dryer balls) for her little girl, and being bogged down by laundry for 2 small children, whilst living in a small flat, the business was inspired by personal need. Living in the flat with the noise of the usual dryer balls grating her along with guilt of using a dryer not sitting well alongside her commitment to eco and sustainable living, Sarah decided there had to be a better way, and Little Beau Sheep was born.
Learning felting skills from scratch, inspired by a local make and sell craft market, alongside gaining tips from others on social media such as Pinterest, Sarah is self taught and now also employs other mums as the business expands, supporting local kitchen table talent. Discussing her crowdfunding mission Sarah said: “At the moment, Little Beau Sheep’s dryer balls come in a recyclable plastic box. This lets customers view the sheep through its clear window as there are many different characters to choose from and it’s robust enough for postage in the UK and overseas, but can be recycled. When we launched it seemed like the perfect solution. However, Since Little Beau Sheep started, we’ve all learned a lot more about the disastrous effect of plastic on our planet and especially our amazing oceans. That’s why I now want to do what I can to be part of the solution and not the problem”.
She added: “One of the shocking truths I’ve learnt is that even when plastic is recycled it often ends up in clothing fabric which when washed, sheds into the water system and our seas. Who can’t feel sad and angry at the fact there will be more plastic than fish in the seas by 2050? The only solution seems to be ending the use of plastic. With your help, I can do that with Little Beau Sheep and do my bit to keep the world a better place for all of us.”
Crowdfunding rewards backers as a way of thinking them for their support, so supporters will be able to pledge from as little as £5 and receive rewards from Little Beau Sheep that range from free dryer balls, to the opportunity to design your own dryer balls or attend a needle-felting workshop to make your own laundry ball while enjoying afternoon tea in Yorkshire.
Offering an effective and sustainable alternative to traditional plastic balls, Little Beau Sheep tumble dyer balls are a natural alternative to fabric softeners. Handmade in Yorkshire from 100% British wool, the dryer balls are chemical free, relying instead on their native lanolin content to naturally soften clothes. Organic and bio-degradable, they provide a planet-friendly alternative to their plastic prototypes – and also support native and rare sheep breeds along the way. The campaign is live from 14th March and runs until 28th March.