This summer I met up with Niamh Barker, founder and owner of The Travelwrap Company, who provides us with her beautiful cashmere Travelwraps – made in Scotland!
Niamh has been running the Travelwrap Company for more than 9 years, building her business from scratch with little experience in the textile industry, like myself. The Travelwrap Company now sells to retailers across 9 countries as well as online.
I am proud to be a Travelwrap partner and would like to share my teatime chat with Niamh.
Sit back, relax and enjoy:
Niamh, what a pleasure to finally meet you! You often come to this most stunning “Chewton Glen hotel”. Tell me what do you love most about this place and the New Forest area in general?
I have lived in a few beautiful places around the UK including Edinburgh , Bath and a few years in London. There is something about the Forest..I loving come back into it if we have been away…there is a wonderful sense of ‘aliveness’ with the new forest ponies/ will pigs/ highland cattle roaming freely. I also love being close to the sea. I can put my running shoes on and be running along the beach in 10 minutes…that is pretty cool!
Chewton Glen is one of my favourite hotels in the UK. It is very close to where we live and I often meet girlfriends or business colleagues here for a coffee or lunch. (the sofas are more comfy & the views are much nicer than Starbucks! )
You are the founder and creative force behind The Travelwrap Company. Tell us a bit about how you created the brand. What did you do before and how did you get started?
When I working in the Pharma industry for the American company, Pfizer I used to fly to the States for meeting s etc. I hated the idea of snuggling up in one of those awful airline blankets. My idea was to offer a very high end ‘special blanket ‘ (in the way that kids talk about!) …a bit of home from home …and a concept that was more than a piece of clothing. I liked the name ‘Travelwrap’ it felt more elegant than travel blanket… and it was a term that hadn’t been used before….and so was born The Travelwrap concept & Company…
Why is a cashmere Travelwrap the ultimate must-have item in any lady´s cupboard?
I love our Travelwraps (of course) and honestly feel slightly naked if I manage to end up in a car or in a train without mine. In fact in the evenings I have a sort of ritual where I change into my ‘lounge wear’ which consists of a lovely a pair of The White Company loose jogging bottoms, one of my husband’s cast off cashmere jumpers and a pair of our cashmere socks…layered up with my favourite Sphinx Travelwrap …not sure how anyone manages without one !
You constantly need to come up with new designs and are managing your team next to that. Time is therefore a valuable resource. Tell us your secret. How do you disconnect and what fosters your creativity?
My disconnects are; running & mediation. I get up ridiculously early (5-5.30am) to exercise (either out for run or get on a treadmill if time doesn’t allow every day and also like to spend 20 minutes meditating each morning . I never got the whole ‘meditation’ thing until someone wise introduced me to Headspace (check it out!) I find if I get my early morning routine sorted I am set for the day and am much better at coping with any of the inevitable stresses that I encounter.
I get inspiration everywhere I go for Travelwrap & our new designs…art galleries, people’s homes, landscapes…I am aslo forever tearing pages out of magazines…! I work very closely with Shuna, our knitwear designer, who for years worked for our mill in Scotland so has some great inside knowledge on what we can achieve and our limitations. I love the design and creative side to my role. Shuna is coming from Wales to the our office early next month and we will go through all our prototypes with all the team & make final decisions on all of our 2017 Collections- that will be a great day.
You are very active on Twitter, sharing lots of entrepreneurial advices. Which websites and blogs would you recommend, should any career woman keep in mind?
…and the best cookey blog out there is- Smitten Kitchen (just try the Russian Apple cake !)
Thank you so much for your time, Niamh! We wish you all the best and are looking forward to new Travelwrap colours soon!