How it begun...

Walking down Buchanan Street in Glasgow doing some Christmas Shopping on a freezing cold December afternoon, with the rain coming down in torrents I spotted a poor soul begging in the middle of the street, soaked through to the skin, with his sleeping bag as his only protection. The realisation that this was his only clothes, he wasn’t going home for a warm shower, changing into something dry and warm and sitting down to a hot plate of soup …… this was his lot, and here I was all kitted out for the elements. 

Feeling guilty, I bought him a McDonalds and spoke to him for a bit, but felt somewhat disappointed, guilty almost that that was all I done, and got to thinking about what more I could do, not just right now but ongoing. What could I do that would perhaps make his own, and all those other unfortunate folks who find themselves, for whatever reason begging and sleeping rough? 

As a Wild Swimmer, with one of those branded Changing Robes, I thought could I possibly get these made and donate free of charge to this community? And, what if it could convert into a Sleeping Bag as well ensuring they were at least warm and dry whilst they slept rough. And that’s where The Ootsider Sleeping Coat was born….. on 23rd December 2021. 

What’s in a Name

 If I were to ask a Scots person of a certain age what an Ootsider was? they’d probably say the outside slices of a Plain Loaf or the heel of the loaf …… which is correct …….. If I then asked what do you normally do with it, they’d most probably say they toast it …… which again is correct. And that’s how I came up with the name The Ootsider for my multi-function Changing Robe because it keeps you ‘toasty warm’ and dry when in all weathers in our great Scottish climate. 

The Ootsider CIC

 The company is a registered Community Interest Company (CIC), where the community are those individuals who are sleeping rough in the UK for some unfortunate reason, not necessary of their own doing. I decided on a CIC as it allows me to take donations, grants, as well as being able to sell products. Based on that I have created a range of own brand garments that I sell to those who enjoy our great outdoors e.g. wild swimmers, campers, event goers, cyclists, hill walkers, dog walkers, etc, and reinvest the profits1 from the sales of these garments for the manufacture and distribution of our Sleeping Coat …… completely free of charge ….. to those Sleeping Rough on our streets, parks or wherever they can find somewhere to lay their head. 

All of The Ootsiders garments are manufactured solely in Scotland as we focus on working towards Net-Zero Omissions, and the Circular Economy helping our environment, and as our business grows hopefully creating jobs in Scotland. 

Note 1Net profit is the measurement of a company’s profit once operating costs, taxes, interest and depreciation have all been subtracted from its total revenues. The term is often referred to as a company’s ‘bottom line’ and may also be described as ‘net earnings’ or ‘net income’.