RBA Best Rural Start Up


This award aims to celebrate businesses that have their origin in creativity, skill and individual talent. Winning businesses will have demonstrated commercial success from a rural base, or developed products that embrace a rural theme or tradition. Entrants might create works of art, design or make products, or reimagine traditional rural crafts for the modern business world. Whatever entrants create, it will be of exceptional quality, and the winner will combine their creativity with a keen sense of business acumen. The winning business will be able to demonstrate the following:

  • A clear strategy for business growth and sustainability
  • Achievement of their aims and objectives.
  • A clear understanding of the market and customers to whom the business is selling.
  • Customer satisfaction.
  • Strong business ethics and financial competency.
  • How being rural shapes the way that the business operates.
  • Customer and/or staff engagement.
  • Effective leadership, operation and management.
  • Uniqueness in offering – what sets the business apart from the competition.

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Best Rural Creative or Artisan Business Winners

Romney Marsh Wools
Romney Marsh Wools


Established in 2008, Romney Marsh Wools is owned and run by Kristina & Paul Boulden and based on the family farm on the Romney Marsh, Kent, where they have a flock of 1,200 Romney ewes & 150 Merino ewes. Romney Marsh Wools was born through a firm belief in raising the awareness of all the benefits wool can bring and a wide range of products are produced using their own Romney wool, all of which made in the UK by the very best British makers, including throws, cushions, hats, scarves, toiletries, gifts, yarn, raw wool and much more.

Traditional but ever-evolving; a fabulous diversification, promoting rural crafts and the countryside.
RBA Judges

Barker & Sloane
Barker & Sloane


Barker & Sloane is a luxury skincare brand specially developed for those who embrace a rural way of life, because although the great outdoors is good for the soul, it’s not always good for the skin. Barker & Sloane prides itself on a no-nonsense approach to protecting, nourishing and repairing skin. The business wholeheartedly supports British manufacture and British farmers – all botanical oils used in the range are sourced in the UK and British tweed is used in the travel kits. Products are developed and manufactured by Barker & Sloane on the edge of the Wiltshire Downs and always use the best ingredients possible.

Best Rural Creative or Artisan Business Finalists

Edward Johnson Ltd
Edward Johnson Ltd

West Sussex

Led by founder, Edward Johnson, the Edward Johnson business designs and makes limited-edition and bespoke furniture using the finest sustainably sourced materials. Edward creates contemporary products with a unique signature style for those who enjoy and appreciate accomplished design and excellent craftsmanship. Using traditional techniques, whilst always striving towards new and innovative methods of working, Edward’s work is the product of a deep understanding of his materials and his desire to explore its many possibilities. His creative approach allows him to think outside of the box and push the boundaries of his designs to produce high quality furniture for private and commercial clients.

iSea Surfwear
iSea Surfwear


iSea Surfwear handcraft clothing and accessories in their little studio by the sea in Pembrokeshire, Wales. Each piece is designed, screen printed by hand, cut and stitched in-house based on their own artwork which makes each garment completely unique. iSea Surfwear clothing is expressive and individual while quality, durability and warmth are also priorities. Emphasis is placed on using sustainable fabrics, eco inks and zero waste, in fact many of the accessories are made from the offcuts from larger products. This company is not about fast fashion or mass production, it’s a small rural lifestyle business.

Rural Media
Rural Media


Rural Media Productions is an award-winning production company with a national reputation for innovative, socially aware film, digital arts & media. They reach and engage some of the most marginalised, isolated and vulnerable people in the country, ensuring diverse rural voices are heard. Rural Media Productions was launched in 2016 in order to support the charitable arm of Rural Media undertake commercial work & covenant profits, enabling more communities to benefit. Rural Media’s projects range in value from £5,000 to £1M. Currently, they’re delivering the BBC Arts, Arts Council England New Creatives scheme, supporting development of one hundred 16-30 year-olds across the Midlands.



Upcycled Creative repurposes reclaimed and recycled materials into unique pieces of furniture and lighting with a contemporary vintage twist, bringing both style and functionality to any room or space. Based in the heart of a rural community, Upcycled Creative’s customers range from discerning individuals through to multi-million pound companies looking for individual items or complete interiors with a difference. For those keen to upcycle their own furniture, Upcycled Creative sells a wide selection of paints from their coffee shop/gallery and online. They also inspires beginners and the more advanced through a programme of upcycling workshops.

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