The new UK-based start-ups that thrived during the pandemic
Guy Henderson in London
Europe;United Kingdom


When Lucie Halley packed in her corporate fashion job to start her own business, no one could have known a pandemic was coming. She decided to press on anyway and now EYO is a reality. 

In fact, it turned out to be a rather opportune moment to launch a sustainable sportswear brand.

"I'd been warned by a lot of people not to start a business right now," Halley said. "But actually so many amazing businesses started when things were going wrong. 

"People are switched on to looking after themselves now. They're lonely but taking a lot of comfort in online workouts and the sense of community that comes with that."

EYO launched in January, and has relied initially on direct sales from the website. The plan as non-essential shops re-open across the UK is to sign on for floorspace inside larger retailers and fitness studios.



What would you pay for Napoleon's DNA?

Sport's social media boycott explained

3D-printed homes: A sustainable future?


Ashley Lings' start-up Piece and Quiet produces an expanding range of accessible mindfulness products for adults. They started with jigsaws and are now growing their range to include colouring books and scented candles.

"Mindfulness doesn't have to be meditation," Lings said. "It can be anything as simple as going for a cycle or having a coffee."

The business may never have happened without the pandemic. Lings' co-founder had been due to take a job in Australia. Instead, they saw a market for those looking to calm their minds and switch off, particularly with the increasingly blurred line between work and home.


Lucie Halley working on designs for her sustainable sportswear brand. /CGTN

Lucie Halley working on designs for her sustainable sportswear brand. /CGTN


"People have found themselves with more time at home, but if anything, that makes it more difficult to actually separate work from home-life," Lings added. "We're all about helping people to take some time for themselves: To be able to provide activities for people to be able to slow down, relax and helps them put their phone down." 

They say every crisis is also an opportunity. What no one knows is how long that opportunity will last. 

Lockdowns have forced prolonged changes in consumer habits that have devastated some sectors of the economy, while allowing others to thrive. As the UK emerges from them – it hopes for good – both Halley and Lings will be hoping some of those shifts will be permanent.

Search Trends