How counting sheep led to new wool bedding business for Yorkshire mum

Sophie Platts had always been a terrible sleeper, but during lockdown she decided to do something about it.

Sophie Platts decided to launch a range of wool bedding after struggling to sleep over the years

Sophie Platts had always been a terrible sleeper, but during lockdown she decided to do something about it.

The mother of two from North Yorkshire has a degree in product design and always wanted to have her own business, but could never come with the right idea as she wanted a UK product that was sustainable from beginning to end.

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But lockdown gave her the time at home with her young family to come up with the idea for wool bedding.

Sophie Platts who has launched a range of sustainable wool bedding

“It was the first time that I really had time to think about our future as a family.

“I’ve always liked really nice bedding but I have always been a bad sleeper. I was desperate to find something that would help me sleep,” says Sophie.

“I have spent years using and researching products to help me rest and recover well. It was on one of my usual research missions when I started looking at wool bedding.

“I know that myself, along with the vast majority of people, wake due to overheating and I found to my surprise that wool bedding helps to overcome this by being thermoregulating.”

Sophie Platts uses wool from a select flocks of sheep for her bedding

Wool is a natural insulator. When it is cold it traps warm air in the crimp of its fibre to keep you nice and snug. When the temperature increases it cleverly releases air and absorbs moisture and perspiration

into the fibre, which leaves a layer of dry air next to the

skin.

Alternatives include down duvets which contain goose or duck down and feathers, although there has been concern that not all the content comes from ethical sources. Also, with an increase in people wearing down coats, it can be in high demand

Floks bedding is made in a sustainable way all in the UK

Synthetic duvets are man-made and therefore not good for the environment.

Sophie set about exploring the market for wool bedding and the processes involved.

She discovered that many of the products on the market were either not fully UK manufactured, or they were not as sustainable as she would have liked.

“I started to get very excited as I realised that we could design and make a fully sustainable, compostable, UK grown and made product.”

Floks has a range of wool pillows, duvets and mattress toppers

Sophie, who hails from Shelley in West Yorkshire, studied product design at Northumbria University before working as a graduate trainee for Asda in their homewares division, where she realised she was more interested in the research and selling side of products.

She moved to London where she worked for Joseph Joseph for eight years before meeting and marrying Oli, who coincidentally grew up within a few miles of where Sophie did, and moving back to Yorkshire five years

ago to start a family. The couple have two sons aged five and

two.

“I was freelance for a while after we moved back to Yorkshire, but I realised that to be really fulfilled I wanted to run my own business, but it had to be the right business.

“We spent a long time talking about different ideas, but this one was the only one that we really wanted to run with.”

Sophie is passionate about the provenance and sustainability of her products.

“I grew up with one grandfather in the Huddersfield textile trade and another who was a Yorkshire farmer, so in one single product I could support two highly important British industries, do my bit towards a more sustainable society and

give people a better night’s

sleep.”

She and Oli. who is in the textile trade in West Yorkshire himself, spent 12 months rigorously product testing to find a product and a manufacturer that ticked all of Sophie’s ethical boxes.

She found a UK based manufacturer and launched her company, Floks, last month.

She works with a select group of farmers specialising in Cheviot sheep wool and even the logo is designed by a Yorkshire woman.

The cotton used in the products is organic and ethically sourced.

“All our wool comes from specialised herds on British farms. From there, the grading, scouring and manufacture is all completed within a 20-mile radius which keeps our carbon emissions as low as possible.

“When buried or thrown to waste, enzymes in the soil break down wool in a matter of months and release essential nutrients back into the ground.”

Her range of duvets, pillows and mattress toppers are at the luxury end of the market, but she believes the investment is worth it for a good night’s sleep and to be kind to the planet.

“All our products are anti-bacterial. It allows air and moisture to flow through it which means mould and mildews cannot grow.

“The fibres have a microscopic layer of lanolin which is resistant to bacteria, helping those suffering with allergies and conditions such as asthma and eczema.”

Due to these properties and also the weight of the wool duvets, Sophie says they are ideal for children, in particular those with autism.

“There is a lot of talk at the moment about the benefit for weighted blankets, but most of them are man-made and so really bad for the environment. Wool is naturally heavier than synthetic products.

At the moment her products are only available from the Floks website and she promotes them through social media.

“We may look at moving into retail but the margins are very tight,” she explains.

“We really want to appeal to a younger market. We want people to know that wool bedding can be for everyone. ”

For more information, visit floks.co.uk