Women in business: Gemma Teague, Atlantic Blankets

By Growth & Skills Hub - 27th February 2020

In the lead up to International Womens Day we spoke to some inspirational businesswomen here in Cornwall. What a wealth and talent and passion we have in the County!

1. Tell us a little about yourself and your business.

I’m a mother, a sea lover and a business co-owner.

Atlantic Blankets is our family run business based by the sea in Cornwall; we take inspiration from our ocean surroundings, and all blankets are made using sustainable materials in Britain.

We sell online and through our Perranporth shop. We also work with stockists, interior designers, restaurants and hotels all over the world.

2. If you were to turn back time and give yourself one piece of advice before you started your business what would it be?

To have a purpose.

In the early years we were focused on sales … but driving sales without knowing why were much harder to achieve. When we realised our purpose of who we were as a business and why we were doing what we were doing, it allowed us to naturally live and be the business. It became less about selling and more about enjoying what we did and finding customers who also loved what we do.

3. Who is the most important woman in your life and how have they influenced you?

I have a number of important women; my mum, my daughter, my friends. But one woman in particular who has influenced my decisions is my great aunt; a strong, powerful, authoritative woman, who’s drive to succeed has influenced me to strive for more, to better myself and to dream big. She lived her life as a career woman, in an age where she was an anomaly. She showed that women could be at the top. It was my aunt that enabled us to start the Atlantic Blankets journey and I’m forever grateful to her.

4. What is your proudest achievement in business so far?

Growing a business that supports our family. It feels empowering to grow something, which allows us as a family to work together, to be able to choose when we work, to be there for our children, for our children to look up to, and be involved in. It wasn’t easy to get to where we are now, so I can definitely say I’m proud to be a family run business which is growing year on year.

5. Have you had to face any struggles in business and how have you overcome them?

The daily struggle of time, money, and balance. Growing a business with a young family is always going to be a struggle in some sort of way, but it’s just how we mentally deal with those daily struggles which has helped me to overcome them. To breathe, relax, take time out, to allow my mind to have space. The one thing which has helped me to deal with that healthy mindset is the sea.

To spend time in and around the sea has become a mechanism to help ease any worries, struggles, and stress. Our beach side lifestyle allows for us to take that daily walk along the beach, choose the coastal route for the school run, go for a lunchtime surf, or a sea dip. Without the sea on our doorstep, life would be very different. But perhaps instead I would have taken up yoga (which I still dream about finding time for), or something else that allows the mind to be free. It’s good to have your something, mine just happens to be the sea.

6. This year, the theme for International Women’s Day is #EachforEqual, championing the individual actions we can all take to challenge stereotypes, broaden perceptions and celebrate women’s achievements. What does equality mean to you and what can we all do to forge a gender equal workplace?

Equality to me means respect and fairness. I want to know that my son and my daughter will grow up with equal opportunities, and be able to achieve their dreams no matter their gender.

The Atlantic Blankets team is made up of 3 females and 1 male; we’re proud to be a female empowered team, which is complemented and co-owned by a strong, caring, empathetic male. We know the strengths of our team based on their skills and knowledge rather than their gender.

Our children need to see that we our gender equal, the more we can empower the young to live gender equal the better their future.

It feels empowering to grow something, which allows us as a family to work together, to be able to choose when we work, to be there for our children, for our children to look up to, and be involved in.

- Gemma Teague, Atlantic Blankets
Woman on a tablet illustration