Leading business publication Business Quarterly (BQ) Magazine features our Founder and SeaEO, Fiona Houston, this month. 'A Shore Thing', tells the story of Mara Fiona's journey so far, and what motivated her to set up Mara Seaweed. Last Spring, BQ Magazine, which focusses on celebrating and recognising entrepreneurship, named Fiona "BQ Emerging Entrepreneur."
Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, the desire to innovate and create is in Fiona's blood. Her light bulb moment for Mara came to her one day when she strolling along the beach with a friend.
"While walking along a beach in Fife, a Chinese-American friend pointed to the forests of kelp and all the other seaweeds that were growing along the shoreline and asked why no-one was harvesting it to eat? “It got me really thinking about how we had this sustainable, natural resource that has extraordinary flavours and health benefits,” explains Houston. “Nobody was harnessing this resource.”
Set up by Fiona Houston and friend Xa Milne with their own savings, Mara has received funding from government bodies as well as private investors, and with this, Fiona has been able to grow Mara from strength to strength, securing Mara's place at the forefront of the UK's seaweed industry and with a long term goal to make it a leading competitor in the worldwide market.
The philosophy behind Mara is that of nourishing body and soul. "We try to embed this into every single part of the company, right down to where the seaweed is sourced from to what the product does, to how we treat each other."
Fiona grew up in Gretna Green, where her family still run the Old Blacksmith's Shop Visitor Centre. “There’s a link to what I’m doing now – Dad was selling the story of a location and valuing that location, which is part of what we’re doing with Mara. The provenance of the seaweed growing in the clear cold waters is so important. Our whole mantra is ‘Nourishing the whole body and soul with goodness from the sea’ – that’s what it’s all about.”
You can access the full article at www.bqlive.co.uk and keep an eye out for the latest edition of the magazine in shops.