Trader Profile: SÓ LÃ

Unique, ethical woollen products, handmade in Portugal

Why did you decide to start a market business?
It allows us to have an affordable retail business in a vibrant and upcoming area of London.

What is the best thing about being a market trader?
Our merchandise is just one step away from potential customers, they do not have to feel they are making a commitment by walking through a shop door!

...and the worst?
The cold weather!

How many people in the SÓ LÃ​ team?
There are three of us in the team, me, Dean running the stall, Mum and Dad in Portugal who negotiate with the factories and deal with buying and logistics.

Tell us a little more about the business
Our aim is to bring high quality, unique, designer, pure wool fashion to the London market place. We wanted to provide handmade, ethical and sustainable products that people could buy with confidence and own with pride. At the moment we sell designer handbags, hoody backpacks and unique fashion and homeware items made from a material called Burel (a type of woven felt made in Portugal) which is incredibly hard wearing and water resistant. Our most popular item is the unique hoody backpack.

What makes you unique? No one else in Britain is selling our specific manufactured products!

Where did the name and concept for the business come from? The name Só lã is translated from the Portuguese for Only Wool, as all our products are made from pure wool in Portugal using a traditional material (Burel) that was originally used for shepherds blankets and clothing. We wanted to support a traditional industry that is now using their quality material in innovative designs. As we have a close relationship with the manufactures it allows some input on design, and freedom to select the items that we feel would appeal to style-conscious people in London.

How do you feel about Waterloo the area?
We feel that Waterloo has the potential to sustain our business. The eclectic clientele are well suited to what we have to offer. We wanted to be a part of Lower Marsh as it offers the potential to help grow our business, and we understand it could take some time, but hope that our presence will encourage others to get involved.

What are your plans for the business for the next 12 months?
We want to become established on Lower Marsh, to become a part of the ‘street furniture’ and we are intending to extend our range and promote further on social media. Although we wish to sell online we know that our products can sell more affectively when they can be seen and handled.