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Sustainable clothing brand Inland Sea, based in Macclesfield, Cheshire has received a £27,000 loan from NPIF – BFS & MSIF Microfinance, managed by GC Business Finance in partnership with MSIF and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund. The investment will increase its capacity for manufacturing t-shirts out of seaweed and cotton.

Eco-enthusiast, graphic designer and surfer Adam Costello made his first t-shirt out of recycled bottles in 2017 to raise awareness of plastic pollution. What started out as a passion project has rapidly developed into the first ever company producing UK-made t-shirts using seacell, a yarn made of 100% biodegradable materials and seaweed.

A committed activist, with his podcast ‘Things can only get Greta’, Adam worked with the GC Business Finance team to expand the businesses’ inland capacity for making sustainable clothing.

Financial support from GC Business Finance has helped me unlock the next stage in Inland Sea’s growth, by enabling us to continue importing more seacell to expand our product offerings.

Adam Costello, Founder of Inland Sea

In January 2020, Adam trialled manufacturing 700 shirts in Lithuania. With prices and lead times increasing rapidly due to Brexit, the business started importing seacell from Germany into a cotton mill in Dunkenfield, Tameside, to spin the yarn locally. Adam secured the £27,000 loan to accelerate Inland Sea’s manufacturing process, as it looks towards creating 2000 more environmentally conscious t-shirts as a direct result of the investment.

Additionally, the investment will see the business expand from a primarily ecommerce platform into brick-and-mortar stores, as well as increasing it’s employees from 3 to 5. With support from GC Business Finance, the business is also in a strong position to lead by example and roll out this sustainable method of fabric production externally for other brands in the UK.

The deal was introduced to Inland Sea by Dave Saddington at the Cheshire & Warrington LEP.

Adam Costello, Founder of Inland Sea, said:

"Inland Sea stemmed from my awareness of environmental issues from a young age, after spending a lot of time by the seaside in Anglesey. Financial support from GC Business Finance has helped me unlock the next stage in Inland Sea’s growth, by enabling us to continue importing more seacell to expand our product offerings.

Earlier this year, a nationwide ‘green claims code’ policy was implemented to push brands to prove their eco-credentials. This is a positive and long needed shift, and securing finance will bolster our growth, enabling us to set a precedent for the wider fashion industry to provide more choices for eco-ethical consumers."

Paul Deighton, senior loan manager, at GC Business Finance, said:

"Inland Sea is a shining example of a business taking a sustainable approach to make a real difference. The business has built a unique brand that addresses the demand from consumers for eco-friendly, sustainable fashion. Adam came to us with a clear vision, and we are pleased to support him by filling funding gaps to enable the eco-friendly business to grow."

Sean Hutchinson at The British Business Bank, said:

"Inland Sea has developed an innovative process of manufacturing eco-friendly clothing, responding to growing demand for sustainable products and services. Supporting innovative organisations that set us on the path towards net zero, and a low carbon future, with access to finance is a key consideration of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund."

 

GC Business Finance is an alternative finance provider committed to supporting Northwest-based SMEs, providing loans to those who have been unable to do so through their mainstream provider.

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.