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Based in Elgin, Scotland’s home of the cashmere industry, AVA INNES is a new Scottish brand with a passion for sleep, cashmere and sustainability. They produce luxurious duvets, pillows and cashmere accessories all made in Yorkshire and Scotland which we feature in our collection. AVA INNES founder, Joan Johnston, kindly sat down with us to talk about the inspiration of why she started the brand and its focus on quality bedding, British manufacturing and sustainability.
Where did your passion for making your items come from?
With over 20 years’ experience working within the global luxury textile industry, I have long held a passion for luxury fibres, but became more aware of environmental impacts of the textile industry and wish to develop products that have a more sustainable approach. My aim is to develop beautiful sustainable luxurious products made in the UK with integrity and skilled workmanship.
AVA INNES duvets and pillows are proudly designed in Scotland, and made in Yorkshire. All our 100% cashmere accessories are woven and hand finished in Scotland.
Were you always interested in creating things from childhood?
Yes, I have always loved fabrics from buying vintage dresses when I was 15, to gaining a First Class Honours Degree in Textile Design at Loughborough and an MA in Design Management, at Northumbria University.
What led you to create the business?
Cashmere is such a special fibre, I knew there was more to be done to maximise its full potential. Few people realise that only 30% of the fibre combed annually from the cashmere goat is used in traditional knitting and weaving. The remaining fibre, which is mainly long and straight is called cashmere guard hair and has been used as a source of lanoline or for other industrial products. At AVA INNES, we recognise the value of its luxurious, organic warmth and naturally weighted comfort, ideal for our bedding. After two years of trials our unique product was ready to be launched, exclusive to the AVA INNES brand.
We launched back in September 2019 at the London Design Fair. We are delighted that the leading national magazine, Kitchens, Bathrooms and Bedrooms featured our duvets in their “Going Green” issue, January 2020.
How do you focus on sustainability in your business?
At AVA INNES, we believe in a circular economy, finding resourceful ways to use and extend the life of our materials and give back to people and the planet. The raw materials we use are bought directly from selected cashmere merchants, ensuring the standard of quality. Cashmere is essential for the traditional Afghan and Mongolian herders. We value our supply chain and are committed to supporting them (10% of AVA INNES profits go to Afghanaid to support essential life skills training for the women in the region).
Our special fibre is shipped directly to the UK, reducing the carbon footprint often associated with textile products. We choose certified 100% organic cotton to encase our special fibre in. The integrity of the materials sourced is matched by the tried and tested processes used to produce this new type of bedding.
It is important for us to support our local textile industry which is why our duvets and pillows are made in Yorkshire and Scotland.
What is your favourite part of the making process?
I love the design process. It is a wonderful feeling to see an idea come to life, from a concept on paper to a physical item which can be touched and appreciated by others.
Is there any specific part you enjoy the most or do you enjoy the overall process as a whole?
As a designer, I am always looking at future developments. We currently have several exciting new products in work, that have not been released into our collection yet. We will only put the AVA INNES name on products we love, that fit with our ethos and believe our customers will love too.
Where do you draw your inspiration from for your pieces?
Inspiration comes from many places, especially from the world around us. We are fortunate to live in a beautiful part of North Scotland, surrounded by fresh air and stunning scenery. I love colour, nature and art. A camera is always at hand taking photos when the opportunity arises.
Any upcoming projects/pieces you’re working on that you’d like to tell us about?
At AVA INNES we continue to innovate and have some exciting products planned to release in the next 6 months. It’s all under wraps, but one was tested in Antarctica recently. Watch this space!
A little gift to our AUTHOR subscribers
We are offering a complimentary Lavender & Vetiver Pillow Spray for subscribers to our mailing list for one week only (Thursday 20th-27th February 2020) when you buy 2 AVA INNES pillows from AUTHOR. What better way to improve your sleep than with luxurious pillows and a sleep inducing pillow spray all handmade here in Britain. Click here or the image below to subscribe to our mailing list.