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Latest News
Platinum Awards Winners … read more

Environmental Excellence Gold Award … read more

More Ginger Zing From Pure Lakes … read more

Most Commitment to Sustainability … read more

Pure lakes - Green Business of the Year 2010 … read more

 

Our Story

Our Story

You never know where chasing rainbows will lead….

We picked 'Can you see' from the first Beggar Joe album because the music is so mellow and the lyrics ring true for us. 'Can you see times in your life that you never thought you had overcome. Leave behind all of your strife....' wise words from Jon Kenzie. Find out more about Beggar Joe


2001 - From IT to Cream Tea

A quip from an old friend when Sandra and Iain had a mad idea about running a Tea Room and Gift shop in Grasmere. They both believe the Lake District to be one of the most beautiful places on earth and had been visiting for years. They had a little think about it then gave up their office jobs in a software house to pursue their dream.

2002 - Then came Skin Cream
Putting everything into the new business meant that there wasn't much money left for the lovely, expensive skin care and toiletries Sandra used to buy. San
dra says ’I have had allergic reactions to many soaps and cosmetics so I have to be careful about the products I put on my skin. After doing a bit of research, I was amazed by the fillers, harsh synthetic chemicals and general rubbish found in many toiletries. I started making my own skincare by doing the same things I did in the Café - keep it simple with good, natural ingredients. I began concocting recipes for myself, family and friends. I kept the ones we liked resulting in most of the current  range of products, all carefully formulated to be gentle on bodies and the environment.’

2006 - Another mad idea

Several friends/testers/guinea pigs ran hospitality businesses and asked if they could use the handmade toiletries in their bathrooms. As it happens Sandra is a thrifty soul and had kept a tight rein on costs, working hard to make these luxurious products as affordable as possible. She wanted the range to be something people could enjoy every day not just a rare treat. This focus on pricing meant that the toiletries were a cost effective option for hoteliers when supplied in bulk with refillable bottles. ‘We were really excited’ Iain recalls ‘because this also had the obvious environmental benefit of cutting down on wastage from small bottles and sachets.‘

2007 - Pure Lakes was born
Demand was growing and you can't mix soaps and creams in a Shop or Cafe so in December 2006 the other businesses were sold and Iain and Sandra became manufacturers. Providing products in bulk to Hoteliers allowed negotiation of reduced prices from Suppliers and this saving was passed on to the Customers. The Pure Lakes range was launched offering luxurious, hand made skin care at affordable prices.

2009 - 5 Stars for simple packaging crammed with good ingredients
All the hard work began to pay off.  Pure Lakes achieved CBEN Gold for running the business in a responsible manner and was short listed for the Environmental Excellence Award, CN News Group Sustainability Award and North West Environmental Sustainability Award. The toiletries also began to gain recognition from Hotel Inspectors and loyal Customers were delighted to find that they were supplying ’5 Star’ toiletries to their Guests. Sandra is particularly delighted by this as she has a ‘thing’ (some would say unhealthy obsession) about all the hype and celebrity marketing surrounding toiletries and cosmetics. She is appalled that, in some cases, the vast majority of the time and money is spent on the ‘look’ not the quality of the product itself. Sandra and Iain are proud that their philosophy of providing beautiful ingredients in simple packaging is gaining recognition.

2010 - We are going to need bigger pots!

The Customer base had grown so much that Iain and Sandra were virtually barricaded in at the old workshop. After months of searching, they found a great space in Staveley Mill Yard. In the latter part of 2009, when they weren’t mixing potions and looking after Customers, they spent time turning it into a comfortable home for Pure Lakes. They also received some funding from Rural Development Programme to finance mixing and labelling equipment so now they can carry on making lovely potions by hand but a bit faster.
By the end of 2010 we had made real progress. We won two environmental awards - 'Green Business of the Year 2010' from the Westmorland Gazette and 'Most Commitment to Sustainability' from Nurture Lakeland.

2013 You love us and so does Janey Lee Grace
We have been so busy for the last few years that I haven't found time to update our progress. Here are some highlights.
In 2011 we won the CBEN Gold Environmental Exellence award - basically this means that we were the best of the best - an amazing result to be selected from over 60 companies.
We have introduced several new products and our range has received lovely reviews from happy Customers. I have to pinch myself when I read them because I am so delighted that our goodies are out there making people's lives a little bit better. We have had the fantastic news that, not only does Janey Love our products, but we have also received two honours in her 2013 Platinum awards. First Aid for Aching Feet  is WINNER of BEST FOOT PRODUCT and Soap Free Shaving Gel is HIGHLY COMMENDED in BEST MEN'S PRODUCT. We have had products featured in Vogue, Marie Clare and InStyle. Later this month our Grapefruit and Lemongrass Hand Wash will be a 'hero' product in a very exciting new eco project. We are a small, happy team still making all our products in our Staveley workshop. This year we had a young lady from Queen Katherines School join us for a week of work experience and she was so good that we invited her back for the summer.


As we head towards the end of another year I can't help wondering where our path will take us next


Best wishes,

Iain & Sandra Blackburn


We would like to give special thanks to Tommy, Chris & Andy at IT Answers for their support, patience and hard work
and Ryan & Ric at Shootfirst Media for producing great
vectors and images that incorporate Iain's photos of the Lakes