The North Yorkshire adventure clothing company the Dip & Dales Co selling swimwear from recycled bottles and getting people wild swimming
Keira Burns and married couple Zoe Hall and Louise Redmond run The Dip & Dales Co, a clothing company for people who love outdoor adventures.
With a focus on sustainability, its swimwear is made from recycled plastic bottles collected from the ocean and in addition to its product range, the owners also run events in the Dales for like-minded people to enjoy.
Keira, 42, of Sutton-in-Craven, says: “When we set out with a business plan in 2021, (sustainability) was just up there for all three of us. We did a board, an imaginary board of what we wanted it to look like, and the one theme that came through was sustainability.
"It just matters to us. I guess we're mini-environmentalists because we just love the outdoors. We do clean and clear-ups wherever we go, picking up rubbish and things like that. We wanted to help the environment, ultimately. If you're not doing something sustainable, now, as a business, you're not going to survive.”
Keira played rugby for the likes of Keighley Cougars and Great Britain in her 20s and Louise – formerly a physical trainer in the RAF – met her through the sport years ago. Meanwhile, Louise met Zoe abroad, as both qualified PE teachers taught around the world, and they now live together in Silsden.
The three set up as a business in April 2021, initially as the Peachy Queen Company, making it work around their other roles.
“We set up during lockdown. In all honesty, I think it was a project that it gave us something to focus on around the day job,” says Keira.
Zoe – who plays hockey at Ben Rhydding - runs the Dip & Dales Co’s social media and organises its outdoor meet-up events under their Find Your Freedom strapline, while Louise continues to work as a self-employed PT and Keira at a housing association.
Keira says: “We’re Yorkshire lasses so we've tried to really have that as a theme.”
Regional pride is right there in the garment names – from the Malham Merino woolly hat to the Wensleydale Waffle Towel, and the Ripon Racerback to the Ey By Tum crop top.
The mother-of-two adds: “We quickly developed and designed our own swimwear. We make costumes from recycled plastic bottles, they're all designed unique by ourselves in Yorkshire, we have them manufactured and brought in – and that has just taken off. So we're now an outdoor adventure brand, really - not so much fitness – focusing on mostly wild swimming and hiking community.”
Getting people together for hikes and dips has become a big part of what they do.
“We bring together people that often don't have the confidence to do things outdoors or have, but haven't found a group of people that also have that passion,” says Keira.
“We had 70 people turn up to our New Year's Day event, which was held at Ingleton Outdoor Pool in the Yorkshire Dales and that was a dip, so everybody could get in the water, which was about six degrees. We had hot drinks and everything afterwards. Just community, really, and bringing people together.”
In November, they organised for a group of about 30 women to go ‘dipping’ in waterfalls and lakes in the Lake District.
“We're trying to empower people, I guess, as well as provide the sustainable products to do the activities in,” says Keira.
The dream, she says, is to manufacture their products in Yorkshire.
At the moment, they source products from countries including China, India, Turkey, Pakistan as well as England, Scotland and Wales, and where possible use the most ‘eco’ form of transport to ship.
She estimates that it would be about treble the cost for them to use manufacturers based in just the UK, adding that it would be “impossible” for a small business such as theirs to rely solely on doing so here while building up.
“But we're really honest about that. We've got a vision and we've got a plan. We're mindful of our carbon footprint with anything we're doing at the minute. We’d like to become carbon neutral eventually – that's the plan over the next few years.”
People can follow the company’s latest activities on social media and browse their products at thepeachyqueens.co.uk