Here in the south west, many of us are looking to find ways in which we might live more sustainably, and we’ve come across a business right here in Bude who have set about on a problem-solving mission to reduce waste and make fantastic products that are built to last.
Run by business partners Lee and Matt, who’s heads are locked firmly into surf and outdoors, their love of being outside drives the product builds and designs behind Rooted Ocean, as we found out in a recent conversation with Lee: “The inspiration for Rooted Ocean came originally from fusing Permaculture concepts with surf and outdoor activity; we wanted to inspire a love of nature through great quality gear and accessories. It was important from the start that the attitudes behind the company are represented through the products, and we believe strongly in making as much of the gear as possible right here in Cornwall, while recruiting within the local town and feeding back into the local economy.”
With a company vision to ‘inspire a love of nature, surf and outdoor activity through the best quality, sustainable gear and apparel’, Lee, Matt and the team are bringing this about through a series of commitments that they instil in themselves; sustainability, style and function. “We aim to become as sustainable as physically possible by using the best quality materials, manufactured where possible in the UK and throughout Europe,” explains Lee.
“We believe in creating a neatly styled product that lasts the test of time. It is far more important than that of a high fashion alternative which focuses on the here and now, with no story or cultural relevance. We make our products in small batches from what we believe is the best material for the job.” Manufacturing a range of blankets, backpacks, carryalls and equipment, all of which fit their lifetime gear philosophy, alongside board bags, changing mats and beach robes, the concept to supply truly fantastic, long-lasting gear has certainly become a reality for Lee and Matt.
The most popular product in the range by far is the Traveller Blanket. Built from reversible, padded and waterproof materials that comes in at 2m by 1.5m, this handy piece of kit is available in five different colours, complete with a solid carry strap and tie down corners. But let’s not forget the Little Traveller, a wonderful little waterproof, reversible sit mat; spot on for any walks and impromptu stop offs.
With sustainability and longevity in mind, the Rooted Ocean Repair Centre sits nicely alongside their brand commitments, as Lee explains: “We offer a full repairs service for any items that can be given a new lease of life. What originally started out as a wetsuit repair service for re zipping, patching and more quickly moved to encompass all garments and apparel. We still see large volumes of wetsuits through the doors, but very much diluted these days with rain coat re zips, surfboard bag re zipping, jacket patching and more.”
The repair centre also sees a fair number of contract options for the team, who work closely with The 2 Minute Foundation, developing and making litter pick bags from discarded festival tents. “It’s a project that we were delighted to be asked to be part of and to continue working closely with. The same goes for our recent partnership with SurfDome, aiding their repairs team and keeping gear from landfill.
Here in Bude, sustainability is at the forefront of many local businesses, and Rooted Ocean couldn’t have picked a better spot for their headquarters. “Bude itself has a wonderfully rich community,” says Lee. “People here often lead the charge in the right direction and the town centre has a diverse range of environmentally responsible options. It's one of the reasons we have chosen to move into the centre of town to open our new workspace and flagship store, which will hopefully allow for more job creation and a greater and enhanced range of locally made Rooted Ocean products. We’re so lucky to live in this wonderful part of the world, and want everyone to have a little bit of Cornwall!”
The future is looking bright for Rooted Ocean, with company ethics and professional working practices in place that keep things in alignment and hold everyone true to their personal values. “We hope to see the growth of the repair centre for the rest of this year,” says Lee, “alongside some great new products and apparel, inspiring a love of nature, surf and outdoor activity.” Hopefully, with more and more companies having a repair offering, and working with a sustainable future in mind, consumer buying habits will continue to swing. Peoples actions in the right direction are always valuable, no matter how small they may seem at the time.