Motorway at night

Peer Networks bring together the most unlikely collaborators

The worlds of skin care and slate masonry rarely cross paths. But when Gareth McKeever, owner of Pure Lakes Skincare, and Brendan Donnelly, owner of Coniston Stonecraft met through Peer Networks, neither imagined their collaboration would result in profitable business for both.

The unlikely collaborators took part in the Peer Network programme delivered by Cumbria Business Growth Hub and funded by BEIS. The programme gives local SME owners and senior managers the opportunity to discuss business issues and overcome problems in a relaxed and confidential setting. Each cohort is made up of 11 business owners or senior managers looking to focus on engagement, collaboration and driving their businesses forward.

In spring of 2021, Gareth and Brendan spoke briefly about their businesses on the Peer Network programme. Fast forward several months, Pure Lakes Skincare began discussions about putting their products in high end hotels and restaurants. Feedback from hotels was that they wanted the products to sit on a tray, preferably made from something out of the Lake District to emphasise the authenticity of the products.

Gareth immediately thought of Coniston Stonecraft and they soon picked up discussions about working collaboratively together and Brendan involved his Master Slate Mason, George. The team decided on Elterwater green slate and when presented to the high-end establishments, it wasn’t long before a deal was struck!

For Gareth and Brendan, it’s another achievement for their small Cumbrian businesses on a long road from lockdown to recovery success, and a perfect example of how working collaboratively helps everyone.

We still have space on cohorts starting in December and January, so if you’re interested in finding out more about Peer Networks, visit our website here.