A FASHION tech company founder whose insect-repellent sleepwear keeps bugs at bay hopes to win over UK staycationers.

Naudia Salmon had intended to appeal to globe trotters when she launched We Drifters in 2019. But, with the pandemic restricting travel, Naudia decided to target UK glampers and campers and those who enjoy home comforts.

The idea for her business came after she suffered from insect bites at night while travelling in South East Asia. The bites turned into hives and Naudia had a bad reaction to her antimalarials.

“I had to stop taking the antimalarials and completely rely on bug repellents. I was using my sleeping bag liner which had the repellent but it was difficult to sleep at night. It gave me the idea to use the same technology but for something really comfortable.”

Naudia’s range of pyjamas are made from soft bamboo fabric and infused with anti-insect technology that keeps 90 per cent of biting bugs at bay. The fabric has temperature management properties, which reduces the build-up of odour, helps to wick moisture from the skin and is anti-static and breathable.

Each set includes a uni-sex top, trousers, socks, and two-in-one pillowcase with a storage bag.

We Drifters is now aiming to broaden brand awareness and attract new customers and partnerships in and around York.

This year the company will be focused on developing their products including new versions of the sleepwear and adding a children’s line.

Naudia is focused on expanding and securing orders as well as making the product accessible to more people through using key channels in the staycation market.

The biochemistry graduate relocated to York in 2020 and focused on developing the B2B side of the business by building relationships with wholesalers and travel agencies. To help make connections and grow, Naudia has been working with Make It York’s business team.

With support from the Ad:Venture scheme, Naudia applied to the BUILD accelerator programme, which supports investable ideas which have a positive potential impact on people, planet and profit.

Naudia said: “During the pandemic it is more important than ever to be able to talk to key people in the industry and get mentors’ support when growing your business.

“The programme also mixes purpose with profit; a perfect fit for We Drifters. On top of offering comfort and peace of mind, we aim to encourage social change in the field of travel health and wellbeing. We donate £2 from each of our sleepwear set sales to Malaria No More and plan to expand into more charitable initiatives as well as creating educational content around relevant topics.”

She said support from Make It York's team had been invaluable.

"The BUILD accelerator programme has proved to be the perfect match for us, and without Make It York and their networks, we would never have known about it.

"The Make It York team are the best at directing you to the right information and contacts that can help accelerate and grow your business. They open doors to so many new opportunities to develop and grow.”