Welcome to our 'Founder Friday' series. Each week we will be introducing you to a founder in Enterprise Orchard's network. Featuring this week is Lauren Oliver, who is the founder of Olly Olly & Co. Imogen sat down (virtually) with Lauren to ask her all about Olly Olly & Co and how Lauren came to set up her own business.
Hi Lauren, It's great to meet you. All be it virtually. To start off can you tell myself and the readers a bit about yourself?
Hi, yes! my name is Lauren Oliver. I'm from Cork, Ireland and my hobbies include surfing, attempting every fitness class in London on Class Pass and spending far too much money in the coffee shops in my local area! I moved to London for university at 18 and have a degree in Diagnostic Radiography. Growing up on the coast of Southern Ireland I was constantly at the beach (rain, hail or shine!) and it’s where I developed my love of the ocean and my strong desire to protect it.
Oh Ireland is so beautiful, that must have been lovely growing up on the beach! From talking about your love of the ocean and your passion for fitness. I am really not surprised that you have created a premium activewear business. So, can you tell me a bit more about Olly Olly & Co because I know it has a sustainable twist which I'm intrigued about.
Yes, you are correct. Olly Olly & co, is a premium activewear brand, made from regenerated ocean waste. Our whole supply change is consciously constructed with the planet and welfare of its people in mind.
That is incredible! I love that you are creating a premium product sustainably. So what lead you to create a sustainable brand?
Well, after working in a beach bar in Peru that ran regular beach clean ups, I was shocked by the amount of plastic we were collecting week after week. When I returned to London I vowed to do something to make a difference. As a full time radiographer with a gym addiction who spends most of the day in either scrubs or active wear I wanted to create something that I used daily, that would have a positive impact on the planet. As our active wear is made out of ocean waste this was one way I felt I could make a difference. As well as using Eco-fabrics, it was also really important to me that every element of the process was Eco-friendly and ethical which is why I manufacture in Portugal and use compostable packaging, non toxic dyes etc Every tiny detail has had so much research into the most Eco-friendly way of doing it, it’s slow fashion but it’s definitely the way forward.
That is an incredible story! It is really inspiring that you wanted to create a business that focuses on making a change! What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting their own business?
Be very sure of what your why is and who your customers are. You need to really believe in your company so that when times get difficult you can find the strength to keep pushing forward. Also don’t be afraid to ask for help, I’ve been given some great advice from other entrepreneurs that are a few years ahead of me but still remember how tough it is at the very beginning so were more than happy to help out.
Great advice! you are totally right, you shouldn't be afraid about asking for help! Lastly, we ask our guests what their fun fact is? What is yours?
I have an identical twin sister and people used to always shorten our surname to Olly. That’s where the name of the company came from!
That's so cool! How lovely to name your business after that. I love it! Well thank you Lauren for taking the time to talk to Enterprise Orchard about your lovely business and how it is helping to save the planet. It is really inspiring. We wish you every success.
Thank you very much!