Following passions not trends, Ivy & Rigg was born from a deep respect for nature, rich Northumbrian heritage and a love for easy styling. We promise quality, classic styles fashioned from environmentally conscious materials, sourced to be ethical and sustainable from field to wardrobe.
Where did we begin?
We began not long after I’d graduated, having landed a grad job in Northumberland. In my spare time I loved rummaging through charity shops and spotted designer pieces to sell on. This was all well and good, but demanded too much time. So, then I began the search for something less time-consuming…It is safe to say I knew nothing about the fashion industry. The only certainty I had was whatever I did, it would be environmentally-minded. Research took forever and no closer to an idea. Early on I realised that anything British-based was too expensive as a starting point.
Not one for the fancy, high-maintenance or overly-complicated, I wanted products that were special for their easiness and simplicity, that could be worn every day and not wither or lose shape. A few months later we found them. Organic cotton and recycled polyester derived from single-use plastic bottles clothing, made in premises certified for their environmental and social standards, run by renewable energy. The next step was sampling – which they surpassed throughout the family.
We finally knew it was going to be t-shirts, sweatshirts and caps as our first shot.
What's in a name?
Our next hurdle, now we needed a name. One of the most common questions I get is if I’m called Ivy or my surname is Rigg, I hate to break it to you, but no to both! We’re afraid to say there is no person named Ivy or Rigg behind the brand.
Finding a name that represented your brand exactly the way you wanted it to, without any branding experience or knowledge…not an easy task. We wanted our customers to feel exactly how we wanted them to. We wanted the environmental aspect and inspiration from Northumberland to shine through too. History was researched, maps were scoured and list upon lists were made…it took a while.
After many walks close to home in Northumberland National Park, Ivy was decided first, standing out with its meaning of wonderfully classic, stylish and fearless, as well as being a natural, evergreen plant. Rigg came a while later, meaning to clothe or adorn which fit perfectly. Even more fitting, Hadrian’s Wall Steel Rigg, the location of the infamous Sycamore Gap (one of the most photographed trees in the country), is on our doorstep, revered as a hardy, Northern frontier which has a long lasting impression. This was chosen after a funny walk along Steel Rigg where a friend ended up locking themselves out of their car. Saying the combo out loud, my gut said this name would do us justice.
Fabric and production
We are proud to work with and support premises globally to bring you our timeless, ethical pieces.
Our innovative recycled treasures are produced in certified establishments in China, India and Bangladesh. Transparency is key and everyone we work with outside of the UK are certified for the environmental integrity and social conditions of their workforce. Through my own experiences and insights working in international development in developing countries, I want I&R to support any premises producing quality items responsibly, regardless of their location. Those going to extra mile to drive change to help global problems deserve recognition, as do their workforces using their skills to produce our quality items.
Our fabulous woollie jumpers are crafted from responsibly-sourced wool in both Britain and Spain, proudly made here in Britain with a small family-run mill based in the Midlands. I am delighted to be supporting British farmers and manufacturers – aligning with my childhood growing up venturing with Granddad J McClounie, Uncle S and Uncle G with their respective farming livelihoods.
The small but mighty McClounie team
We are becoming a family-run business. From seamstress, to accountant to stall assistants and stock dropperofferers, my mum and auntie A (pictured) form my core team with me here in Northumberland. Alongside we have Auntie M and numerous cousins (including in-law and soon to be in-law) who are all part of the McClounie clan in some form, who together are my go-to people for everyday advice and run my (sometimes ridiculous) ideas past. For the most part, the best I&R ideas comes from informal meetings with endless cups of tea, homemade nibbles or leftovers and flowing family chit-chat, or throwing ideas around down at the sheep field driving my Uncle S mad from the lack of silence.
Here and Now
We see this as a race, not a sprint. About quality not quantity. About integrity rather than immediate wins.
We have rebranded to include Northumberland in our main brand name. I was born and raised in rural Northumberland, and whilst I’ve always loved the countryside, it wasn’t until I started this venture that I realised how big a fan I am of this county and wanting to put it on the map for the amazing things it has on offer. One of the biggest pleasures is working with other small businesses, meeting the fantastic people behind them and the growing respect I have for them who work endlessly for their unique ideas.
We are getting our name and reputation out in the North (and further afield) for our ethos and longstanding items that can handle the everyday. Exciting things are underway, we cannot wait to see what happens next.
Thanks a bunch for reading this far! I never thought building my own business was on the cards, but it has come to mean so much more than that. You can scroll below and see some snapshots of our history, the ups and some downs and all in-between. The story is far from finished, so stick around to see where we go!