In today's blog post, Ella Peters is showing us the benefits and opportunities of working in the boating industry, but also introducing us to her sustainable projects. Discover more in the text below!
1. Could you tell us a bit about your educational background and how that lead you to your current position?
My background isn’t the conventional one. Firstly my yachting background – I have worked in yachting for the last seven years in varying capacities - from 2nd stew to freelance yacht nanny, the latter being my focus for the past five years.
After several years in full-yachting (and falling in love with mainland Europe), I went to university in The Netherlands to study International Development Management, with a focus on ethical fashion (my passion) through majoring in Sustainable Value Chains. I absolutely loved my studies, the European lifestyle and connection to industry. My degree provided incredible opportunities including an internship in Bolivia, working on Fair Trade Certification for an ethical knit and crochet manufacturer and also during Covid an internship with an Argentinian-based fashion house (an opportunity during which I collaborated with a United Nations consultancy on sustainable fashion).
These two very different opportunities have landed me in a unique situation where I thoroughly understand the needs of yachting as well as the quality and service required. Coupling this with a strong textiles and leathers knowledge (as well as an incredible leather manufacturing partner in the form of Deni-Deni), I am perfectly placed to help yachts globally with their bespoke leather goods requirements.
2. What sparked your initial interest for sustainability?
From a young age (even when at primary school) I had a keen interest in our planet, making a positive impact locally and helping people. As I grew up, my interests developed and I now feel that I have found my niche between helping people with Superyacht Nanny support and my love of sustainable textiles/ fashion through Fine Ocean.
Several years ago I worked for an NGO collaborating to make positive impact in the fashion industry (they hold UNECE consultancy status). After giving a webinar on my work in Bolivia on Fair Trade International certification, all collaborators were invited to share their reasoning for working to drive systems change in the fashion industry. One girl shared her incredible story of how through her mother’s work (as a knitter making alpaca jumpers and wares in the Argentine Andes), she was able to attend school, have a safe place to live, eat nutritious meals and more. All this was because her mother was employed fairly, earning a fair wage and working in safe, respectful work environments. It was the most incredible story, which found me leaving the zoom room in tears, as it perfectly demonstrated just how powerful the fashion industry can be in making positive impact to communities.
This story is something I always hold close to my heart, and as my mantra, as it sums up why we must keep working to create a more sustainable tomorrow.
3. What was the main enabler of your business?
Without the expertise of my manufacturing partner and the amazing work she does with my pet wear brand, Fine Ocean wouldn’t be in business. Friends in yachting then started to ask for support with menu covers etc., and so we got to work!
I really love the work we are doing at Fine Ocean. Working on bespoke projects is great fun – the level of customisation and options we offer our clients is vast Also, as we have so much experience and industry contacts, there is yet to have a brief we couldn’t deliver on!
4. Can you give advice on how to identify a suitable sustainability niche to engage in?
Listen to people! We’re all good at hearing, but not necessarily listening to the full details. And it is the detail that sets Fine Ocean apart. As a team we’re great at bouncing off ideas and coming up with solutions, and checking how we can deliver in the most sustainable way. If there’s ever a time you’d like to bounce some ideas around, I am always open to helping however I can!
5. What advice would you give to young people who are interested in sustainability, but lack that final motivational push?
As Nike says, “Just do it”! Start somewhere small, get going, get feedback and give it a go! Guaranteed the first version will not be perfect, there will be developments to be made and lots to learn, but that is the exciting part of the process!
Also, there are some wonderful resources available (a lot for free), talk to people, explore things online, ask for help and don’t let self-doubt hold you back.
6. What would you state as the main benefits of working close to marine?
Working with marine and yachting industries often requires adapting working practices, products and systems to accommodate the sector’s bespoke needs. For me, I love the challenge, dynamic work environment and the amazing people you get to meet.
7. Lastly, where would you advise young people to start their networking?
A really great networking resource for interior crew is Yacht Pearls of Wisdom, the community being built by Cherise, who is fantastic and so supportive.
Get out there (digitally and in person), speak to people and collaborate. I am a huge advocate for collaboration and networking; so if you’d like to connect – you can find me on Instagram at @superyachtnanny and @fine.ocean.co or email email@example.com