September 29, 2023 6 min read

We love to support fellow Scottish brands and proudly stock several in our Meander stores. We recently caught up with the co-founder of a brand that has been doing amazing things in recent years and growing their sales internationally. With their woven tartan blankets and accessories, they have adapted the tradition of heritage fabrics and added a contemporary design twist. At its helm is co-founder and CEO, Emma MacDonald who delves into the behind-the-scenes of building her successful brand, the company's commitment to sustainability and their 1% for the Planet & 1% for the People pledge. She talks about the struggles along the way and gives some great advice for budding entrepreneurs on how to ensure their business have a positive societal impact.



We’d love to hear about what inspired your brand and influenced your decision to create a sustainable lifestyle brand?

I always loved fashion and design but after working in fast fashion for many years, I became increasingly disillusioned with the industry's impact on people and the planet. I saw how the production of cheap clothing was often exploitative of workers, and how the consumption of clothing was creating a massive waste problem.

When my husband Fergus and myself were looking to set up our own company based in Edinburgh, I really wanted to create something that had a positive impact and could be both sustainable and stylish. We founded TBCo in 2014 and became B-Corp certified earlier this year.

One of our first product lines was our recycled woollen blankets, for which we took landfill woollen waste, broke it down, and rewove it into our beautiful blankets. 


A lot of your collection is made in India and Mongolia and supports the communities there. Can you tell us about the craftsmanship and people who make your products? 

Having worked in fashion buying, it was really important for me to find manufacturing partners that we trusted and could support one another to grow and develop together. We are committed to working with partners who share our values of sustainability, fair trade, and quality.

Our two main partners are both family-run businesses, based in Mongolia and India. Our Mongolian partners work with community farms to produce high-quality lambswool and cashmere. They use traditional farming methods and take great care of their animals. The fibres are then expertly spun and woven into our beautiful blankets and scarves. 

Our Indian partners have utilised the fact that India is the hub of textile waste to create a process to break it down and re-weave it into beautiful new products.  They work closely with our design team to create new and innovative designs whilst minimising the use of chemicals in the process.  The blankets are then hand-finished by a community of women, which although could be done by machine, gives each blanket a unique and special finish, whilst supporting this traditional manufacturing industry and community.



As a fellow Scottish brand, we have some incredible mills here in Scotland. Would you consider a made in Scotland collection? 

We have worked with Scottish Mills in the past and although we think the history and process of these mills is truly incredible, we have struggled to ensure we have full traceability of all elements of the manufacturing process. Most wool that is used to make blankets and scarves is imported, as local British wool is too coarse for this purpose and more suited to upholstery or carpeting. A real focus for us is on end-to-end sustainability and working with partners where we can have the best impact and quality. There are still such huge traditional farming and weaving industries in many areas of the world, so for us it is less about where and more about why

But we are incredibly proud to support the amazing creative industry in Scotland, where our team is based and have developed an incredibly talented team covering lots of areas from marketing to design.


I believe you recently got B-Corp certified which is incredible and a journey that we’re currently on. Why was it important for TBCo to become B-Corp certified?

For us, we see B-Corp as becoming the sustainability standard particularly  in the retail industry. It is a great certification to cover all areas of sustainability and positive impact, from environmental impact to company governance. We learned a lot on the journey to becoming certified which really helped us understand what to consider for a more rounded approach to sustainable business practices. We now have a B-Corp collective in the business that focuses on ensuring we keep B-Corp front of mind in everything we do and work on achieving more points each year. The team are all incredibly proud to have helped in making TBCo B-Corp certified and working on ways we can continuously improve and develop.


Like Meander, TBCo. are fellow 1% For the Planet members. Can you tell us why this is important to you and how do you go about the selection process of the charities you work with such as Givewell and Ocean Generation?

We have a 1% for the planet, as well as a 1% for the people pledge where we donate 2% of all revenue to charities supporting people and the planet. We have an internal company collective where members of the team meet monthly to discuss potential charities to support. They will evaluate the charity based on its impact and alignment with our company values before working with them. It is a great way for the team to really understand the impact we are able to have with our pledge and they love getting to write the donation email to say what we are donating each month!



TBCo. has grown significantly over the recent year? Can you tell us more about the journey from the early days of the Tartan Blanket collection to the stunning range you have now?

It has been a huge journey that we have been on with TBCo. We started in a much more traditional market of Scottish tartan blankets and now have evolved to focus on being design and sustainability leaders. The product team have worked incredibly hard over the past couple of years to develop really striking designs across lots of new categories including scarves, cushions and pyjamas. We are incredibly proud to be stocked in sustainability-leading retailers like Meander as well as design-leading ones such as Liberty of London.


Having expanded into pyjamas, do you see a future for further fashion items for the brand? And what can we expect from TBCo next?

We have a lot of new exciting products and designs coming out and although I’m not sure we will be going down the clothing line anytime soon, we are definitely very excited about the new ranges of fashion accessories we have developed. The design team has been really pushing the boundaries with our new designs and uniting style with sustainability in a really beautiful way. 



What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs, particularly those looking to start businesses with a strong focus on making a positive impact?

It is so easy to get caught up in what you are doing that you lose track of why. Having a clear purpose is so important as it is the guiding light for everything you do. At TBCo there was a while when we were going through changes and we had to stop and re-evaluate our purpose. We are now all super clear that TBCo is on a mission to design a better tomorrow with warmer people and a cooler planet. All our decisions are made with this in mind and it helps keep us really focussed and on-purpose.


Finally, when you’re not working hard on your business.  What do you love to do to relax and enjoy in your spare time?

We live by the sea so we love spending time at the beach with the kids or running along the beachfront with our dog.  Also now the kids are getting a bit older we are starting to go on adventures again and went to Thailand last summer, which was beautiful.


Thank you Emma for taking the time to chat with us and to TBCo. for their imagery, of which you can see more of on their Instagram.

You can shop some of TBCo's recycled wool waterproof picnic blanket that we stock here.

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