Norwegian charge on region may lead to a welcome boost in trade

A DELEGATION of Norwegian fashion shop assistants and managers were in the Borders last week.

For the group of 15 had won a competition in Norway to sell most of the iconic Borders brand, Lyle and Scott products.

Importer of the Borders textiles, SMD Holding, ran the competition in Norway’s 30-shop fashion chain VOLT, its biggest client, over six months earlier this year.

And those selling the most won a three-day trip to the region.

SMD Holding boss Morten Erichsen told TheSouthern: “My company SMD Holding has the exclusive rights to distribute Lyle & Scott products in Norway.

“Products from Lyle & Scott Vintage range are currently sold in over 120 high fashion retail shops in Norway. The growth the brand has experienced over the last five years has been phenomenal.

“End consumers here in Norway are very keen on the long tradition and heritage of the brand and also the fact that all lambs wool products are made in Scotland in Hawick.”

He continued: “The key objective about the trip was to tour the factory in Hawick to better understand the heritage of the brand and the production process of a lambswool product.”

The visitors, most in their 20s, and most of whom had never visited Scotland before, were in the region from Monday to Wednesday. Most of them stayed at the County Hotel in Selkirk, and they tasted whisky at the Glenkinchie Distillery, near Dalkeith.

“They also did a tour of the Borders, and on Wednesday, they dressed in kilts and took part in an abbreviated Highland Games, featuring a tug of war and tossing the sheaf competitions at Inchkeith farm at Lauder where they also tried to gather ewes with a sheepdog.

Mr Erichsen said: “The trip went extremely well and they enjoyed their days in Scotland immensely. We have now been able to give our key client Volt an even better understanding about Lyle & Scott and their products, the tradition and heritage and this we feel will cement and form an even more solid platform for our working relationship with our key client VOLT going forward.”

County Hotel co-owner Will Haegeland said: “It was an important visit. The competition was to increase the sale of Lyle and Scott products in Norway.

“These people represent one of the largest textile companies in northern Europe and if, following the visit, it increases trade that will bring more money in the Borders. And also for tourism – they had a very nice tour of the Borders and took a lot of pictures, and will speak to their friends and family and say how much of a good time they had and perhaps people will think ‘we should go to Scotland’.”

A spokesman for Lyle and Scott said: “Scandinavia is the strongest international region for Lyle & Scott and Norway, relative to its size, is one of our most important markets.

“The success of Lyle & Scott in northern European countries comes mainly from the company’s heritage as a knitwear company. In particular Lyle & Scott’s lambswool knitwear, made in Hawick, is extremely popular and the country of origin seems to be of high importance. Our V-Neck jumper is the top seller in Norway.”