Rebecca McElligott: We create style-led technical rainwear which doesn’t look, sound or feel like other traditional outdoor waterproof jackets.

June 3, 2024
by

Protected Species design and market style-led technical waterproof outerwear for women who need high performance weather protective clothing, but who no longer want to compromise on their style, comfort or identity when choosing it. We’re a female founded company and our products are uniquely manufactured and delivered by women who clearly understand the performance, style and fit required by women. We produce in small batches using innovative fabrics which are sustainably sourced.

Tell us about yourself?

My background lies in product development and management working for various global performance clothing brands over the years, latterly creating the clothing collections for PING golf wear. This is where the initial technology for our collection derived. I worked for years alongside the top Tour players in the world developing outerwear with the essential remit to keep the professional warm, dry, comfortable, smart in appearance and critically avoid any restriction in movement. These same attributes have been used in the collections for Protected Species.

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

To have the confidence to trust in yourself. I believe if you’re creating a business which is offering something which you think is missing in the market, or you could do better, you are the one person who knows deeply the why and the how. Of course you should always listen to advice (feed-back from your customers is always imperative) but it’s very easy to get led off track by others’ experiences and opinions. Even very knowledgable people in your trade may have gained their views from a very different path, knowledge base or period of time and I think success comes from carefully digesting advice to evaluate it and to get what you need from it without pushing you into directions which don’t feel comfortable.

What problem does your business solve?

We create style-led technical rainwear which doesn’t look, sound or feel like other traditional outdoor waterproof jackets. Our consumer tells us that she wears her Protected Species jacket everywhere: the morning dog walk, the school drop off, the commute to work, and out for dinner in the evening. Our technology creates outerwear which assimilates with a woman’s everyday wardrobe which is why it travels with her everywhere she goes, raining or not. By creating aesthetically desirable waterproof outerwear, a woman now has the ability to stay dry and protected in all weathers, wherever she’s going without compromising on comfort or style.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

Inspired by the lack of availability of truly stylish functional products in the performance sector for women, we have used our skills in the trade to create a collection which solves having to choose between style and performance. A Protected Species jacket fuses highly waterproof fabrics and manufacturing techniques with a soft, feminine hand-feel and flattering iconic cuts.

What is your magic sauce?

There are some great waterproof brands in the lifestyle sector but we differ by offering a woman smartness or elegance in her rainwear choice. Where other brands deliver countryside or sea faring designs, often made with PU or rubber technologies, we deliver four-way stretch, fully breathable protection in designs which can take you to the office, a wedding, or out on hike. Our specific technology and aesthetic delivers the versatility to wear in pretty much any setting a woman finds herself in.

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

Currently retailing and being trusted to create the hardest technical clothing category, our plan is to extend our product line. Our consumer is incredibly loyal to our brand and is asking for waterproof trousers and bags alongside a multitude of other products. We will be pushing out internationally on a bigger scale moving forwards and have plans at having our own bricks and mortar stores in the near future

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

Our biggest challenge has been the world of marketing and digital marketing in particular. We are product people by trade and our product is our biggest asset, the ways of bringing what we do to market has been long and winding with a lot of costly mistakes along the way! Going back to the start and understanding who we are, who we are making our clothing for and what our authentic beliefs and values are has helped carve out a clearer path for ourselves in more recent years. Our consumers are like minded women and doing what we do authentically and honestly has carved out an extremely loyal consumer for our brand which is perhaps a slower way of doing things – but we’re happier doing things this way.

How do people get involved/buy into your vision?

We love the idea of discussing our brand with like minded souls. We keenly believe that women everywhere have a need for the product type we market and we would love to collaborate with other like minded businesses and brands with the same

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