Today saw the launch of Protected Species on Beyond the Stork. We loved the brand as soon as we discovered it on Instagram - design led, city inspired high performance outerwear. Founded by Anne (a scientist) and Rebecca (a designer), Protected Species is redefining waterproof clothing. Today we are speaking to Anne, co-founder of Protected Species, as she shares a little about herself and her life outside of Instagram.
Tell us a little about you and your family.
I’ve got a husband (Dan) and two kids, Ross (11) and Edie (9), we moved from the city of Glasgow to the countryside in Perthshire five years ago - pretty active/outdoors lifestyle but Dan and I work in cities. Ross wants to be a footballer, Edie wants to be a writer or olympic runner! My background is originally science and then moved into the commercial side of science and innovation working with entrepreneurial scientists and academics. I’ve been employed, worked freelance trying all permutations and combinations of working with kids and now run Protected Species (which is kind of 24/7!).
Rebecca lives in the heart of Didsbury in Manchester - she has always worked in performance clothing for various clothing brands across the North West, huge amount of experience in sportswear in senior positions, originally trained at the London College of Fashion. Very much a lover of cities and city life.
What led you to launch Protected Species?
I was on mat leave with my first child and I spent a lot of time on those crazy walks you do, trudging round the streets in an attempt to get the baby to sleep and to get outside. I lived in Glasgow at the time: there was always rain, and I hated wearing my hill-walking jacket (or my ‘mum’ jacket) when I was out – it seemed to suck the very soul out of me. I wanted to burn it when I went back to work, but I had all the nursery drop-offs/pick-ups and commuting to do. There was literally nothing on the market that was super technical but looked good, something that could be worn everywhere but also shoved into a buggy or bag. I wanted all the technical features I had in my outdoor and sports clothes – I’m very much into running, snowboarding and hills – made into something that made me feel human again.I have close friends working in the technical clothing industry, and it was through them that I met Rebecca who had a long and successful career in technical clothing product development. Rebecca lived in Manchester (lots of rain) and we found out we both had the same idea about wanting to step out on our own and make something new. Our skills and outlook seemed to fit together - we wanted to make something that stood out: something that answered the needs of a woman, flattered our shapes and was something to wear out of choice rather than necessity. Rebecca had excellent contacts in the industry - we work with an all-female team which we think makes a tangible difference to our product. Our manufacturing base is very small and is run by a female entrepreneur in China as is our fabric mill - they completely understood what we want to make and why and they are an integral part of what we do. We all believe in sustainable, ethical products that are crafted and have longevity.
Tell us a little about the brand.
Protected Species is a lifestyle brand and the antithesis of current “outdoor” brands - offering products women would choose to wear through style, rather than necessity.
We’re all about style–led performance apparel for women: the aesthetics for the boardroom, and the performance to climb a mountain peak. The fusion of design and technology is at our core making highly technical apparel with a contemporary aesthetic. We’re also all about multifunctional solutions - our range can be worn across all lifestyle activities so its really about making life simpler and making your clothes work harder. Importantly, we are a lifestyle brand not fashion – we’re not a whim, we’re not about seasons, we’re all about longevity and style.
Our core proposition: The fusion of design and technology can create intelligent, innovative solutions for modern life. “From boardroom to mountain peak”.
What do you like to do when you are not designing amazing outdoor wear?
I love trail running, I completed my first ultra marathon last year and have some crazy races lined up this year.
Rebecca loves travelling, hiking, photography, and cultural city stuff!
What is the best thing about being your own boss?
Seeing something grow that we’re in charge of and that we have nurtured - hearing feedback on our jackets is the best thing.
And the worst?
When its a small business you have to do EVERYTHING.
What is next for Protected Species?
We want to expand the range and bring on some new products that we’re excited about whilst still keeping us very focused. We would also love to do some collaborations with other brands.