TCS-Eco

VIBES Award: Good Practice

Highlights:

  • Sustainable product.
  • Attention to reducing carbon footprint.
  • Caters to customer needs with loyal customer following; they are busier than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic and are expanding their business.
  • Period Poverty Champions.

 

TCS-Eco, based in Irvine, is the UK’s largest premium bespoke CSP (Cloth Sanitary Protection) manufacturer.

Trading since 2017, Kerry Anne Quinn, TCS-Eco’s Creative & Managing Director, previously made reusable nappies. She couldn’t bring herself to throw out unused fabrics, so she used the excess to start manufacturing CSP. Principal markets started with the Natural Parenting Movement as she would pop a pad into nappy orders to get customer feedback. Having a biomedical science background, Kerry Anne then spent a lot of time trying and testing different pad designs in order to create premium quality, good for the environment, functional pads suitable for everybody. Seven shapes, five absorbencies, and a range of widths and lengths are available, with exclusive eye-catching designs created by Kerry Anne.

The company’s 4600 strong Facebook group connects them to their market and gathers feedback, providing invaluable input.

TCS-Eco produce a quality product that supports the wellbeing of their customers and our planet, reducing the use of harsh chemicals and unnecessary plastics, and waste to landfill (30kg of disposable waste can be reduced to a shoebox of CSP). They help reduce their carbon footprint by employing local people, which cuts travel, and bulk buying fabrics from the source to reduce deliveries and impacts from shipping. Their packaging is green and their bundle sets are in compostable packets with biodegradable labels. Products are also manufactured using renewable energy, and consideration given to the environmental impacts of the materials they use.

Since 2017 the business has made approx. 25% increase in profit every year, and during the COVID-19 pandemic they have been busier than ever. They had to open a new unit and used a COVID Bounce Back Loan to purchase a second machine to keep up with demand. Kerry Anne has created a streamlined system with machines doing most of the work, followed by manual cutting, finishing and quality control. Investment in their machines meant that they are now able to bulk manufacture allowing a turnaround time of up to 21days; smaller manufacturers can take anywhere up to seven weeks.

Business is being scaled up and the number of employees is expected to increase from the current three as they build the brand and adapt for additional markets. They employ with diversity and pay a fair living wage, also developing a young workforce.

TCS-Eco also take pride in educating their customers and target market about the realities of greenwashing and the benefits of using CSP products including their functionality, longevity and overall affordability; a savings calculator is available on their website. They always aim to speak with honesty and transparency about their social, economic and environmental impact. Their intention is also to normalise the period conversation and talk about products available and the benefits of buying quality reusables. A repair service is also offered to further increase the lifespan of their products.

Period poverty is a very real issue and increasingly in the news. TCS-Eco launched Period Poverty Champions where customers can donate pads to people in need. This initiative is supported by other businesses in England and Wales who have supplied materials to help with the financial burden of getting the project off the ground. They continue to link with local social enterprises and donate pads to support those most in need, hoping to make a big difference.

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