On the back of making it as a finalist in the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, we caught up with our partner and specialists in outdoor women’s workwear, 3 Donkeys®, to find out a little more about them and why they like working with Ventile.
Congratulations on making it as a finalist in the Great British Entrepreneur Awards. How did you find out?
I found out on their live Facebook announcement stream. So, it was rather a shock to have been selected
What does it mean to you to be a finalist in the Great British Entrepreneur Awards?
It means so much to be a finalist and goes to show that anything is possible with nerve, grit, determination, and a huge amount of support along the way.
Tell me a little bit more about 3 Donkeys®?
3 Donkeys® is a small family business based in the heart of Devon on the northern fringes of Dartmoor National Park and we design and manufacture the only 2-into-1 Ladies Coverall.
You started the company in 2018. What inspired you to start?
From my own experiences during our lambing season with a newborn baby, wearing a traditional all-in-one design proved to be rather impractical but they are at times an essential garment to wear as they are both warm and keep clothes clean. I searched extensively to find a suitable alternative that was both functional and versatile but also feminine. I could not find anything, so set about designing my own and with this found that there is a real need for practical ladies’ coveralls (overalls or boilersuits) for all manner of activities and industries.
What did you find was the biggest challenge when starting out?
The biggest challenge was knowing where to start, from getting the designs drawn and registered to finding UK manufacturers who were happy to help with development. I am pleased to say that I overcame these challenges and now have the best team of people behind me.
Talk us through your Dartmoor coverall?
After launching our Classic (polycotton) Coverall it became clear that we needed to add a weatherproof version for the equestrian market. As I come from an equestrian background, this was an area I felt comfortable in and was able to work alongside female equestrians to develop the Dartmoor Riding 2-into-1 Coverall. We made various design features including an integral hood, adjustable ankles, extra Hi-Viz detailing and a double Ventile® seat.
How did you come across Ventile®?
We were recommended Ventile® for our Dartmoor 2-into-1 Coverall by our manufacturer in Scotland as they use it for their other outdoor clothing brands.
Why did you choose Ventile® for the Dartmoor?
Ventile® is a perfect fit for what we at 3 Donkeys® are trying to achieve with our sustainability and slow fashion ethos. With Ventile®’s rich history and slow fashion movement within the fabric industry helped to make it a very easy choice and one that is proving popular with our customers.
How has the current pandemic changed how you run 3 Donkeys®?
As I run 3 Donkeys® from home and we only retail direct to customers, the day-to-day workings did not change dramatically. I feel that buying habits are changing and we are benefiting from more people choosing to shop online. All of our 2-into-1 coveralls are made in Britain which has the added extra cost compared to overseas production but allows us more control on quality and there has been a definite increase in support for British products, which we hope will continue to increase.
Can you tell us anything about your plans for next year?
Our plans going forward are mainly continuing our growth and exposure. Being a small start up with a whole new product and concept has been challenging at times, but we seem to be gaining traction and with that, getting noticed.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone looking to set up a business, what would it be?
My one piece of advice would be to ‘never give up’ - if you feel passionately about an idea or product then keep pursuing it. It is better to try than regret not trying.
Designed by a woman for women, the 3 Donkeys® ladies’ coveralls have all the practicalities women need. They fit well, look fantastic, and have a level of hard-wearing, productive quality that is second to none. If you would like to find out more about 3 Donkeys’ collaboration with Ventile please visit: https://www.3donkeys.co.uk/.