A long-established Hawick company emerged in triumph this week after being named Scotland’s Manufacturer of the Year.
Johnstons of Elgin, one of the country’s oldest companies, won top accolade at the second annual Made in Scotland Awards in an evening to mark the best in Scottish innovation and exports.
Having already been named Manufacturer of the Year earlier in the evening, Johnstons of Elgin, which has a base at Eastfield Mills in Mansfield Road, was recalled to the stage at the Glasgow Science Centre as recipient of the top Made in Scotland Award.
Receiving the highest honour on behalf of the textiles firm, which has operated from the same site for 220 years, chief executive Simoon Cotton said he was “surprised the first time” to be named Manufacturer of the Year, but added that the Made in Scotland Award was “absolutely wonderful”.
“I’d like to invite you all to my place,” Mr Cotton told the audience of more than 250 people.
“We’ve got two really beautiful,wonderful mills, one in Hawick down in the Borders where we make our knitwear, one up in Elgin where we make our woven products.
“They are really nice places to come and visit and spend the day and spend some money in our shops.
“And when you go there please take pride in the fact that here in Scotland, we are making products that go down the runway with Chanel, with Hermes, with Burberry, with Louis Vuitton – all of the best brands in the world.”
The textiles firm was singled out for producing increases in sales and profits against a backdrop of difficult market conditions.
Latest annual turnover was up by 3.3 per cent at a time when the wider market for personal luxury goods contracted by one per cent.
This has been driven in large part by international sales, up 21 per cent in the latest financial period. Johnstons of Elgin exports to 50 countries globally, with France, Japan and the Middle East its strongest markets.
“We have 1,000 wonderful people at Johnstons. I joined it three years ago and it was really like being given the golden ticket to join Willie Wonka’s chocolate factory, so I am absolutely delighted with the work we do and really appreciate this recognition tonight.”
The company has manufacturing plants in Elgin and Hawick, and supplies most of the world’s top luxury brands as well as manufacturing under its own name.
It operates the only fully-vertical mill in Scotland, which is able to take raw fibre through to the finished garment.