Galashiels knitwear firm turnover hits £1m ahead of move to Melrose

Rosemary Eribe of Eribe Knitwear Limited at the firm's office in Galashiels.
Rosemary Eribe of Eribe Knitwear Limited at the firm's office in Galashiels.

An exciting expansion project is looming for one Borders knitwear firm after it’s annual turnover hit £1m for the first time.

Eribe Knitwear has seen sales this year show a year-on-year jump of 50% already.

And the increase in business has come at the perfect time, as the firm prepares to expand both its staff numbers and premises next month.

Founded by Rosemary Eribe as a new graduate from the then Scottish College of Textiles in Galashiels, in 1986, the firm has grown from a one-woman-band operating from the front room of Rosemary’s cottage in Magdala Terrace, to a global brand selling eco-friendly produce to more than 20 countries worldwide.

And the firm, which bills itself as an “eco-friendly champion of natural yarns” is set to expand into new premises in Melrose next month.

Founder and chief executive of the firm, Rosemary, 59, said: “My dream is coming true.

“It’s very exciting having a young and enthusiastic team led by 33 years of experience.

“By expanding slowly it’s given us very strong roots.

“I’ve always seen it like building a house – starting from the bottom and working up. And we haven’t even started the garden yet.”

The mother-of-four, of Galashiels, is moving the showroom and offices, currently in Galashiels’ Huddersfield Street, into the former Eildon Housing offices in Melrose’s Dingleton Road, and at the same time relocate the production side of the business to premises in Tweedbank.

The new Melrose headquarters within the Georgian building will include a showroom for trade customers and going forward an experience for welcoming visitors.

Around 20 countries currently stock Eribe’s iconic Scottish designs, with more than 20,000 garments sold every year. Under its slogan ‘The Joy of Knitwear’, the firm is enjoying global success with new markets such as Taiwan - with its current boom in tourism - and sales are coming from far-flung places like Australia.

Sales manager Shona Forrester said: “To date this year we’re 45% up on sales compared to last year.

“We’ve got a product that really excites people, that they want to cherish.

“Buying less, buying better quality is what counts.”

The firm currently employs seven staff covering design, production, logistics and sales and is taking on one new recruit next month to help with its growing demand.

Scottish Enterprise director of business support and advice, Mark McMullen, who is supporting the expansion, added: “Eribe Knitwear is a great example of a successful company with fantastic potential to keep growing and growing.

“We’re pleased to be working with the company on its future growth plans and congratulate the team on reaching the impressive milestone of £1m turnover.”

The firm is also looking to set up a European distribution centre to process orders for EU markets and reduce its carbon footprint.

And Rosemary is optimistic about the future.

“There is so much doom and gloom on the high street but our retailers are selling out of Eribe and coming back for repeat orders throughout the year,” she said. “Our customers are looking to buy something different and new.”