Heritage key to product sales

A group of 21 Scandinavian visitors from the Norwegian fashion chain VOLT have enjoyed a successful tour of the Borders.

In 2012, 15 employees won a trip to the region after winning a company competition based on sales of Lyle and Scott knitwear.

VOLT was so impressed by that trip, where the staff learnt about the Borders’ textile history, that they decided to organise another competition to mark the company’s 140th anniversary.

“Part of the goal for the visit was for them to get to know the Borders, and maybe be charmed by the way of life and the scenery,” explained Morten Erichsen, owner of SMD Holding AS, exclusive importers of Lyle and Scott products to Norway.

He added that the company also felt it important that the employees feel connected to the heritage of the products they sell.

To make the most of the three-day trip to the region, the company enlisted the help of Ian Walker of Border Journeys Tour Company.

Mr Walker said: “I had the same group two years ago – they were actually my very first group - so I wanted to make sure that they enjoyed themselves just as much this time.”

To this end, he created an itinerary that highlighted some of the best that the Borders has to offer.

Unmissable, of course, was a tour of the Lyle and Scott mill at Hawick, which was followed by fly-fishing, archery and clay pigeon shooting.

The group also took part in a mini Highland Games competition, and enjoyed a trip to the Born in the Borders visitor centre.

The group stayed at Dryburgh Abbey Hotel, and general manager Mark Wallace said the region’s textile heritage is a real draw for visitors.

“We’ve noticed a real increase in foreign visitors to the Borders – drawn especially by our textiles, but also by a whole number of activities.

“The Borders has so much to offer the corporate guest,” he added.

Mr Walker said that the group was delighted by their stay in the region, and is hopeful that a third visit to the Borders will happen in due course.