How being nominated for an award spurred Turtle Doves to develop new ways to make beautiful recycled products

Kate Holbrook, founder of Turtle Doves

Turtle Doves had a fantastic time celebrating all things recycling at the National Recycling Awards, held at the London Hilton Hotel, Park Lane, recently. We were up for two awards for Retail Recycler of the Year and Best Recycled Product categories and while we didn’t win, we’re delighted to have received recognition as finalists.

With so many big businesses there, it was a real accolade just to be a part of it. Even better, the event was on my birthday so it was an extra special occasion.

We were certainly up against some tough competition but we had a brilliant time at the ceremony and congratulate all the winners on their success.

We’d particularly like to say a huge well done to the winners in both our categories, who were Carbon8 Aggregates for Best Recycled Product and Élan Hair Design for Retail Recycler of the Year.

It was certainly fun for us to network with other companies, who have a similar ethical vision to Turtle Doves and truly realise just how important recycling is for the future of our planet.

Our nomination for the awards, organised by MRW, has spurred us on to think about even more ways to recycle products into beautiful accessories.

It is so important to us to have an ethical and environmentally friendly business. It just makes sense to reuse wherever possible; so many things that we get rid of have plenty of life left in them really.

Our aim at Turtle Doves is to buy many of the jumpers used in our products from charity shops. They are often the ones that can’t be sold for whatever reason and we turn them into beautiful, unique pieces of clothing.

We make a huge effort to use up as much of every jumper as possible. Each jumper is washed and de-fuzzed as necessary so it’s ready to be worn again. If there is any of the jumper left, it’s given back to a charity shop to be sold on to the waste trade for rags.

By sourcing our material in this way, we have given more than £10,000 to charity just by running our business.

I love the fact that the items we make are full of history and memories. It’s not only recycling the material but also breathing new life into the clothes, which would otherwise likely end up in landfill.

Typically every jumper will be used in at least three different products. A long cardigan might make four pairs of Turtle Doves, five scarf pieces and several heart appliques for Hugs.

Our Turtle Doves are a hybrid between a fingerless glove and a wrist warmer and come in all the colours of the rainbow. They make a great eco present and are gift-wrapped in stylish recycled packaging.

We also make cashmere Turtle Doves. Second-hand cashmere is pretty hard to get hold of so we offer a service where if people send us their old cashmere jumper, we will send them send them a free pair of cashmere fingerless gloves.

Our Hugs are very popular. A hug a versatile wrap of patchwork jumpers, which can be worn in many different ways – a Hollywood A-lister even received a hug as a Christmas present last year.

The product range now includes hats, scarves and snoods. We also started making patchwork blankets in 2013 to use up some of the chunkier jumpers.

We’re always thinking about new ways of using our fabric to fulfil its potential.

This guest blog was written by Kate Holbrook, founder of Turtle Doves.

More information

Turtle Doves products are available to buy online through the website at www.turtle-doves.co.uk, where you will also find a video about how to wear our hug.

For more information about Turtle Doves, call (01743) 344702 or email kate@turtle-doves.co.uk.

Also follow on Twitter @LoveTurtleDoves and on Facebook.

Green Guide Entry

Turtle Doves in the Green Guide

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