One day while working in the factory of her icy textile manufacturing business, Libby Caughey found an old wheat bag and fell in love with the instant warmth and cosiness it provided… but there were some downsides, and she knew she could do better.
“I remember having a wheat bag draped around my neck one day when a customer came in and I thought, maybe I could do something a bit more creative,” she says.
“I started looking at wheat but there were all these aspects that I didn’t particularly like. I hated the smell and it was quite damp, plus the heat only lasted for around ten minutes. I discovered Lupin seed which is grown here in New Zealand and has so many more benefits – it provides dry heat, lasts longer, is completely odourless. It is actually quite a stunning looking weed too,” she says.
Libby created a range of thoughtfully designed products which could be heated and wrapped around the body providing wearable warmth. With her extensive background in textiles, each product is created using beautiful, high quality linens and cottons and each Heat Shrug, Heat Bag and Heat Belt is sewn by hand.
While the idea for wearable warmth was born out of the need to create a sense of feeling cosy, Libby says customers often tell her they use them for aches and pains and other health issues.
“It’s quite common to get people telling me that they bought one and it’s helping them. I had no idea when I first started out, but I’ve become so aware of the health issues and it feels good to be able to help – there’s a lot of heart there,” she says.
After launching The Cosy Lab in 2020, Libby made the decision in 2022 to sell her textile manufacturing business and focus solely on The Cosy Lab. A move she says was born out of a real desire to spend more time with her three boys.
“It’s scary and exciting at the same time. We’ve done well so far and I’m both excited and confident. As the brand expands we have a lot of ideas and new products we would like to incorporate into our offering – focussing on all things nurturing and cosy and using beautiful, natural, top-quality products which allow you to ‘create your own cosy’,” she says.
The Cosy Lab will be at Kings Plant Barn Stonefields throughout July and August with their range of Shrug Heat Bags, Heat Belts, Foot Cosies and Five-Panel Heat Bags. Libby will be giving people the opportunity to experience the wearable warmth for themselves with live interactive demonstrations.