Seaweed's Trailblazing Advocate
Caro Warwick-Evans, an intrepid explorer with an insatiable love for the ocean, embarked on a life-changing voyage that would shape her future and revolutionise the seaweed industry in England. Her journey took her from working on a tall ship in New Zealand to establishing a thriving seaweed business in Cornwall, braving countless challenges along the way. Caro's story is one of perseverance, innovation, and a deep connection to the sea.
It all began when Caro secured a job on a tall ship, an experience that would transform her perception of the world and her place in it. As she sailed across the globe for a year, participating in tall ship festivals and learning the ropes from seasoned sailors, Caro's passion for the ocean intensified. Inspired by her time at sea, she spent years working on various tall ships worldwide, immersing herself in the rugged and time-honoured traditions of sailing.
However, destiny had a different plan for Caro. Eventually finding herself in Cornwall, she longed to establish roots and pursue a new venture. It was during this time that Caro stumbled upon a radio programme discussing the thriving seaweed industry in Ireland. Intrigued, she delved into research and discovered there was no commercial seaweed industry in England.
With her interest piqued, she enlisted the help of a friend who shared her vision. Together, they embarked on a journey to Ireland, where they apprenticed with a seaweed company, trading their services for valuable knowledge to kickstart their own business back home. But they soon realised that the intricacies of running a seaweed company in England differed greatly from those in Ireland.
Undeterred by a lack of infrastructure, Caro and her friend and co-founder Tim van Berkel set out to establish an industry that had never before existed in their homeland. Seaweed, an incredible superfood rich in vitamins, minerals, and diverse culinary possibilities, was virtually unknown and unexplored in England. To bring their vision to life, they had to navigate uncharted waters, from acquiring licenses and passing regulatory tests to establishing sustainable harvesting practices.
The journey was far from easy. For three years, Caro lived in caravans, relying on university Wi-Fi and borrowing a friend's bakery at night to package the seaweed products. Caro and Tim confronted numerous challenges, including building drying units that didn't meet Trading Standards' approval. But their perseverance paid off.
Through tireless marketing efforts, including bicycle tours to connect with chefs and delis, Caro began to attract attention. Media outlets recognised the uniqueness of their seaweed farm and the intriguing method of free diving used to harvest it. Magazine articles and appearances on primetime TV shows followed, propelling seaweed into the mainstream and igniting public interest.
Today, Caro and Tim’s seaweed business thrives, boasting eight staff members and a successful seaweed farm off the coast of Cornwall. With a variety of harvesting methods, including hand harvesting, freediving, and cultivation on seeded lines, their business has not only transformed the culinary landscape but also set the groundwork for future seaweed entrepreneurs. Caro’s journey, though arduous and fraught with challenges, has paved the way for those who dare to follow in her footsteps.
Caro Warwick Evans stands as a trailblazer, a visionary who turned her passion for the ocean into a thriving business with her co-founder that challenges the boundaries of what is known and explored.