Since moving to Jersey, Deborah Anderson has seen a huge difference to her way of life. She has extended her brand, Be Coorie – an ethical product manufacturer, to embrace the nomadic and eco-friendly travel market with her good-looking Be Coorie camper-vans which you’ll probably have seen on the roads. With our ‘green’ theme, it seemed perfectly aligned with her approach. We got in touch to learn more about her approach
Be Coorie is a lifestyle brand and ‘A way of Life’. so what does your average day look like?
Being a single mum, I don’t have an average day; I grasp each day, make it the best I can and embrace the day’s challenges. This morning, for example, wild hens in Rozel woke me up at 3.30am. I got up, looked over the new candle range packaging designs, contacted some of my Scottish suppliers, then grabbed the dogs and ran down to the beach by 5am to see if I could see the redness of the sunrise before starting the school run!
My days vary greatly; from researching new ideas to taking Campervan bookings, meetings, making new contacts and finding new artisans. It’s very important to me that I always try to end each day with a barbeque or fire (if it’s winter) and have a daily cliff path walk. There is nothing quite like feeling, seeing and absorbing the natural elements and the nature around us every day in order to restore the mind and body!
Your brand aim is ‘To make a wonderfully glamorous sustainable ethical eco brand’. What made you want to head in this direction?
Leading and sharing a sustainable way of life is infectious! I know my purpose and I am committed and passionate to share and educate how we can embrace a more mindful, healthier, conscious way of life here in Jersey; one that is more sustainable and ethical. From the way we live to the way we shop, to our day-to-day life experiences including activities and travel, but one that still has quality, substance and gives you a feeling of treating yourself well.
I want to change the actions of people; even if it’s just one tiny difference in their lives, it’s a change. Move away from mindless, thoughtless shopping and a throw-away culture and start buying with a conscience. Start asking where products originate, not just the finished item but every part and detail of the product. I know I have allowed this way of life to permeate the life of myself and my children. We want still to have and enjoy nice things, feel a bit of luxury and be wild in style!
Be Coorie ‘acknowledges and interrogates how their supply chains impact society’. Tell us about how you ensure you’re keeping that in check….
I’m fixated on my sourcing and how each component aligns with the ethos of my brand. This is led by my conscience, the driving force of which is my son, who suffers from severe airborne and food allergies. Therefore natural materials, undyed, non toxic, chemical-free, handmade, natural processes are vital in our home. With every Be Coorie branded item, I know exactly where it comes from, who makes it, how far materials have travelled and the manufacturing processes. I know that it is made in a fair working environment, one that is not only eco-friendly but is considerate to the employees and how it affects in their community.
With our eco-friendly, sustainable candle range, I have not just looked at and considered the ingredients of the candle, or the processes involved, but have had to ensure the whole product is ethical, sustainable and low carbon footprint. I’ve been determined to source the full manufacturing process within the UK. It has taken me years to find suitable vessels from a nearby European country as most candles you see will be vessels from China, this is because of a worldwide shortage of glass. There are no clear glass candle vessel manufacturers left in the UK, except for amber glass, like that used in the pharmaceutical industry. It’s very sad to think that there are only a handful of glass manufacturers left.
Our deerskin bags are hand-made by a seventh generation tanner, who uses water from a nearby stream. You might think ‘why deerskin?’ but did you realise that a venison butchery incinerated the skins a lot of the time? In Scotland the deer population is out of control! Deer have no predators, with the over-population of deer come environmental issues & devastating damage to biodiversity. Without a reduction in deer, Scotland will not meet their woodland expansion, peatland protection & therefore carbon sequestration targets. Sustainable management of Scotland’s deer is vital if we are to enhance biodiversity & achieve a net-zero future. As hard as it might be, the plentiful supply used in our food chain, means that I’m pretty OK with making bags from deerskin, using traditional handmade methods, ethically & sustainably.
Along with other leather gifts from Scotland, we sell Yorkshire sheepskins and other interior products. I also found an amazing fairtrade product from South Africa, made by ladies of the Zulu tribe. Nothing goes to waste in Africa and for centuries the Zulus have bred their cattle to eat and have always used the hides for ceremonial clothing and rugs. We sell their hand-made crafts, which really makes a difference to the Zulucow artisans. Rugs, bags, purses or a clutch will be made by a mother who will have a wage, supporting her family, educating them and changing lifes.
Hygge, Ikigai, Coorie. Society needs to feel comforted these days, what’s unique about the Scottish way of seeing this?
‘Coorie’ is a Scottish word for ‘snuggle up’ and is said in a caring way. I see my lifestyle concept Be Coorie as a whole life cycle, a circular economy, not just interiors, or being cosy (like perhaps the other language counterparts suggest). It’s intended to evoke a feeling as well; one that teaches us to utilise what is local to us, to waste nothing, to use what’s in ready supply around us and in a way that embraces our cooler climate. A more heart-felt warm and almost mothering style, rich in colours and smells; to heal with notions of wilderness, space and nature.
With Be Coorie I aim to not only share my mindful-living philosophy, but to share my vision of how we can change the way we run our businesses, the way we manufacture, shop and travel and highlight how we use and discard things. Since starting in Jersey in May 2021 you can now find some Be Coorie sustainable ethically made/sourced eco friendly products in Voisins and at The Trading Point and in The Moorings Hotel and Restaurant. Be Coorie product come from a place of compassion to help the wider community, environment and planet.
Be Coorie has also been promoting Jersey as an affordable, sustainable, low carbon footprint destination for active tourists through the offering of luxury solar-panelled self-sufficient camper-vans. These allow you to be close to nature in a responsible, safe, self contained way.
Ah yes, we love a camper and we see yours looking lovely on the roads around the island, what led you to diversity the brand into camping?
During the pandemic, we all realised, that we don’t need much in life. Money, cars, OTT lifestyles. They were all useless in a time when the world was in a health crisis. What I took away from it is that what we actually needed to survive with what little extras make us happy, like getting outdoors in nature.
During the first lockdown my interiors shop, holiday lets and even all the outdoor country sports I promoted all halted. However, we could still travel within green zones (then a 5 mile radius). This sparked an idea, that we could still be adventurous on our doorstep, embrace the outdoors, in a luxury, warm, cosy way and allow people still to celebrate special occasions such as the couple who spent their honeymoon in one of our vans in November 2020 for 3 weeks!
Be Coorie offers campervan rental holidays/ experiences here in Jersey through our new website. From working on this I have found other local businesses, campsites and the general public to be very supportive, I just hope that the new initiative, ‘permitted and regulated’ overnight stays goes ahead in Jersey. I await the launch of this scheme with much excitement as I’m sure do other `responsible campers’.
In Jersey where we have vast beaches, cliff paths and countryside to discover, I urge people to get out of their comfort zones and try camping, but in a luxurious way. The vans have solar panels for off grid stays and can be taken off island, for truly more ‘wild’ adventures. A van can accommodate four sleeping, has a kitchen, all equipment needed and immediately gives you a tiny home on the move. A campervan will take you anywhere, only your imagination is your limit.