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Jazz Shapers

Shapers: Alison Wilson and David Lea-Wilson

Show aired on 15th August 2015

Alison Wilson and David Lea-Wilson founded Anglesey Sea Zoo in 1984, which Exhibits local sea creatures in recreations of their natural habitats. It attracted 2.5 million paying visitors and employed over 250 people in the 23 years from start up to sale to an old member of staff in 2007.

Since then, they launched The Anglesey Sea Salt Co Ltd, which produces organically certified sea salt. It now employs 19 people, exports to at least that number of countries and has blue chip customers ranging from Heston Blumenthal, Pepsi Cola, Waitrose, M & S, and Green & Blacks Chocolate among many others.

Follow Alison and David on Twitter @Halen_Mon

Listen live at 9am Saturday.

We wanted to stay in North Wales and one of the ways of doing that is to create your own business so we grew oysters and mussels and sold sea food – it was bizarre to find ourselves making a living.

We were selling lobsters and people said, ‘why aren’t those lobsters red’ and that gave us the idea that we could educate people and make a business out of it.

I ran the shop: our milkman who we still know today used to deliver the milk and the eggs from his free range chickens, his wife used to make cakes for us, it was that type of vibe.

It was low budget to start with – we got Michael Fish the weather man to be our celebrity to launch the company. We paid for his B&B and his train fare and that was it.

We had a competition for the fishiest name – we had Reverent Salmon and the Winkles from Mold. We got national publicity for that and I realised the importance of cheap PR if you can get it.

One of the tenets of our mission statement is to have fun, because if you don’t you won’t want to get out of bed.

Ours is possibly the most expensive salt in Britain. We took provenance to a new level.

We have met all the distributors we work with abroad, we know them, they’ve been to stay with us. In the UK people can come and visit us at any time, we are a very open business.

I think it is quite unusual to have a couple who run three businesses together and are still married.

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