The Ugley Mask Company: Husband and wife Craig and Jo Osborne pool their former The White Stuff and Ted Baker talents to produce the finest fashionable face coverings
A couple with a passion for fashion have launched their own range of masks – and made use of their home village's name in the branding.
Craig and Jo Osborne set up The Ugley Mask Company in July to offer good-quality, reusable masks that feel comfortable to wear, are easy to use and look good too.
And business is already booming, with happy customers close to home as well as in the USA, Hong Kong and Australia.
Craig, 51, and Jo, 45, who met while working in the fashion industry, moved from Hackney to Ugley in 2017.
Jo left her role at Ted Baker that year to concentrate on being a full-time mum to daughters Florence, five, and Marnie, four, while Craig commuted to south London for his job as menswear design manager at The White Stuff.
When coronavirus hit, Craig was furloughed – and ultimately made redundant – so the couple began to think about what they could design, produce and sell online from home. Having been disappointed by the quality and high price point of masks they had bought online during lockdown, Craig decided to design his own, using a supplier in Istanbul they have worked with for many years.
"We love the fact that we live in a village called Ugley and have always thought it would be a great name for a brand," said Jo.
"Because of the situation we were in, with Craig about to lose his job due to the pandemic, we had to think creatively.
"With both girls at school at Rickling primary full time from September, we knew we would have more time to dedicate to a new business if it was something we could do from home, and would allow us the flexibility to do the school run and still spend time as a family.
"We love the fact that our business is providing a service to help people feel a bit safer going about their day."
They have invested about £10,000 in the business for development, stock and setting up a home office.
Jo has had to learn on the job when it comes to managing the social media side of things and they have built their own website using an e-commerce platform.
They will continue to design products under their trading name of The Ugley Company, even when, or if, the need for face coverings diminishes.
"We've built up a lovely network of customers in the last month all over the UK, and we've even shipped to Hong Kong, the USA and Australia," said Jo.
"We've been so overwhelmed by the great feedback we've had on our product and customer service. It really does inspire us to keep creating and servicing our customers in the way that we would expect for ourselves.
"We particularly enjoy meeting our local customers and have a quick socially-distanced chat when we're out on our local deliveries."
They offer free delivery to surrounding towns and villages, including Bishop's Stortford, and 10% from the sale of each mask goes to NHS Charities Together.
Jo and Craig, whose family also includes dog Megan, also dream of one day opening a coffee shop in the heart of their community.
See www.theugleymaskcompany.com for more details or find them on Facebook and Instagram.