Isle of Skye Sea Salt is a multi award-winning, natural sea salt made entirely from the mineral-rich sea waters of Loch Snizort on the Isle of Skye where they use just the sun and wind to transform it into pure sea salt crystals that have a distinct texture and flavour. The business was founded in 2011 and Paul Andrews spoke to Co-Founder, Meena Watts, to find out more.
Tell me a little about the history of the business?
The idea of sea salt came up when glancing at the loch in front of our house and Chris had a Eureka moment ‘Sea Salt. All the natural raw materials in front of us.’ We had worked in ‘sustainable’ led projects for numerous years. This was in line with our beliefs to care for and leave a better world for future generations.
We wanted to create a business which from the outset was eco friendly from loch to larder. This was central to our ethos. We did not want to pay lip service to our values.
Two years of research was conducted by Chris using his extensive experience in sustainable design to develop a solar evaporation process that would have minimal impact on the environment. Until recently, The Isle of Skye Sea Salt Company was the only UK Company to use a natural process using only the sun and wind to evaporate the water to produce the sea salt crystals.
We began winning awards within 2 years of production and have been adding to the collection ever since.
What generation are you and what are your first memories of the family business?
We are the first generation. It was exciting to use our professional skills to create a product which intertwined with our beliefs. There was no text book to follow. This was a bonus as we developed a sustainable process throughout the whole production.
How important is the business to you?
We were already grown up when we started the business so were committed when we set it up. It has been a passion from day one.
What was your journey into the family business?
We are still running the business. We had a vision. We made it happen. The journey has been exciting, scary at times, but our joint skills have always helped us to move forward in the right direction.
What values are important to the family and the business?
Everything about this business is sustainable from Loch to larder. We have created a pure, raw unrefined sea salt with a distinct robust flavour and a ‘sweet’ finish which is loved by consumers, chefs and retailers.
Do you build the family ownership into the marketing and brand narrative and if so, how?
Yes. We ‘talk’ about our values underlying the production of our sea salt. It is important to us and a key reason why we went ahead with this idea.
What do you think makes working in a family business special?
We compliment and respect each others skills. We share the joys and worrying moments.
Are there any disadvantages associated with working in a family business?
It can be challenging to achieve a sensible work/life balance partly because of passion for our product.
Have you taken any particular steps in terms of governance to help protect the business for the future?
Yes, we are preparing plans for future ownership.
Is there a next generation in the wings?
No. However, we will be leaving a legacy behind for others to follow.
What advice would you give to anyone in the next generation considering joining their family firm?
Create something you believe in and work hard, at every level, to make it happen.
If you could talk to your younger self before you joined the business, what would you say?
Every success moment is a ‘yeeha’ moment. Every step back is a learning moment.
If you could sum up the family business in three words, what would they be?
Sustainable, durable, legacy.
Find out more by visiting their website here