Lessons from Lockdown: Founder of FIGURE Ellen Caldwell

As part of our debut launch - Lessons from Lockdown - we’re on a mission to connect with individuals to uncover some of the greatest lessons pandemic life taught them.

This week we connected with surfer meets business owner Ellen Caldwell of FIGURE to share her lockdown low-down.

Who's Ellen?

I’m a textiles sports designer who specialises in performance made to measure wetsuits and live in Newquay, Cornwall.

What did lockdown 1, 2, 3 and 4 look like for you?

Lockdown one was filled with uncertainty, empty line ups, a lot of surfing, good waves and a nice bit of space from the rush of the world. However, the un-ease of the world did creep in from time to time. However, I tried to enjoy the silence that was letting nature surround me in my day-to-day life.

Lockdown two and three added a little more pace back to life, I was volunteering making scrubs for the NHS as well as putting the spark back into production within my business. The more people wanted to get back into the sea, the busier I got. I have seen the water getting busier and busier which is good for my sales, however, a bittersweet moment as I now have to share the waves and my escape into nature.

Lockdown four has seen me busier than ever. My business’ pace has picked up massively and I feel lucky that I've been getting consistent work. I have tried to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible as well as taking this opportunity of growth within the surf industry.

What lessons have you learnt?

I've learnt to make more time for me. As the world has gotten more chaotic I've looked to find happiness in the little things and think OK, "what has made me happy today?". I think as the world is in trouble, we begin to feel like we are owed something as things are taken away from us. I would say try to ground yourself, remember that hardships make us stronger and to give someone the attention or nice little moments that would make us happy. You will then appreciate other people’s kindness.

How did the ocean help you during lockdown?

The ocean helped me escape. It meant I could get my high adrenaline exercise which I was craving, as well as giving space to my mind without outside input. I would use it to distract my mind, discover and to explore nature whilst it sat with little human disturbance, a rare gift with such a populated coastal country.

What surprised you?

I think the surprise has come from how many people have now found the joy of surfing. There are now many people in the water who would not have tried surfing if they hadn’t had chance to slow down, pick up a new sport and be forced into the outdoors from their corporate worlds. I am happy to share these newfound moments and hope the sport grows for the better with understanding of people and nature.

What were the highs?

The highs were enjoying the outdoors, surfing more, and receiving amazing support from friends with my business. This combined with being able to submerge myself in nature everyday was a very humbling experience.

What were the lows?

The lows were being restricted from travel and freedom. I love exploring new places and embracing other cultures. I have been really missing this aspect of my life. Although it has made me explore more of the UK and appreciate what is around me immediately.

I am excited to venture over-seas again and to develop new relationships in different environments.


Thank you for sharing your lockdown journey Ellen. If you're into your surfing or dreamy outdoor adventures, be sure to check out Ellen's Insta @ellen_caldwell  and if you're in need of new wetsuit, check out her brand @figurecreative_.

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