4 weeks ago

This Wonderful Little Place … Portstewart Strand, Co Londonderry


Karen and Ellen Yates, the co-founders of the understated luxury bag company Taylor Yates, on why this vantage point is their favourite place in Northern Ireland …

Travel is an integral part of my family history. I grew up in Lancashire in the north of England before working in London and relocating to Northern Ireland. I now live in a beautiful part of the world, in Portstewart. I feel very lucky indeed to wake up not far from the sea every day. I am very much at home walking the beautiful Strand Beach – now a National Trust property – whatever the weather. How I got here is a combination of factors – via an initial T-shirt business, a lecture in ethics in marketing, the growing feeling that brands needed to be more transparent and the realisation that I wanted something that was missing in the market.

The intention of our sustainable leather brand, Taylor Yates, which I co-founded with my daughter Ellen, is to be seasonless so that our collection evolves over time. We prioritise giving back and social responsibility and are incredibly proud that we were recently awarded The Butterfly Mark by Positive Luxury for our commitment to sustainability.

We spend a lot of time on colour and shape and the softness of our sheep leather that allows us to create fluid and understated shapes for our bags. The most recent additions to our collection are the Elsie and the Norma in plum, storm and ice, and the Agnes and Tilly in forest. The names are significant to us and reference the great women in my family – from my tenacious Nana Alice Wells, who ran two or three businesses from her home during the 1950s, and from whom I have hopefully inherited some of her northern grit. The Alice Hobo was our original bag and continues to be a best-seller – other bags are named after aunts and fearless family friends.

As for colour, the inspiration for the new forest green shade was the coastal moss and seaweed we see everyday living on the north coast of Ireland. It is a rich tone of green with undertones of blue just as you would see walking along the coast when the tide is low.

Experiencing and enjoying other cultures and ways of life is something that we thoroughly enjoy, and we are looking forward to the next adventure once we are able to move around more freely again. But for now, our favourite little place is at the top of Harbour Hill in Portstewart. Here there is a small car park with incredible views of Portstewart Strand and the coastlines of Castlerock and Donegal. You can walk down from the carpark to the cliff tops, sit on the rocks and look at the incredible views of the Atlantic Ocean with a takeaway coffee in hand. Pure bliss.

www.tayloryates.com are partnering with TreeApp – for every bag purchased one tree will be planted.


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