A family-run Scottish gift and Highland dress shop has opened its second outlet in the Borders.
Tartan Plus Tweed, asupplier of sporrans to the hit TV show Outlander, has expanded into Hawick, offering Scottish gifts including Harris Tweed bags and purses, quaichs, candles, and throws.
Like its sister outlet in Bank Street, Galashiels, opened in 2012, the new shop in Hawick High Street will also offer a range of Scottish Highland dress to hire or buy, starting this spring, with all kilts hand-made locally in one of 3,000 tartans.
Owned and run by Mike McGarvey, Lynn Patterson and Yvonne Patterson, the business is now in talks to become an official stockist for Outlander memorabilia, having supplied Jacobite sporrans made by Hawick’s Trolls Eye Crafts to the Starz show, first screened in 2014.
The family business has also launched a new website intended to attract more orders from overseas after seeing its sales to the US and mainland Europe increase.
The business now plans to expand its online hire service to focus more on supplying Highland dress to hotels and venues catering for overseas wedding parties travelling to the region to get married.
Mike said: “We’ve big plans for the business over the coming year, and opening a second shop is just the start.
“After a few successful pop-up shops in Hawick, we decided the town was the perfect place for us as the people who live and visit the area are extremely friendly.
“Getting to this point has taken a lot of hard work. The three of us have pulled together as a team, each bringing our own expertise and commitment to the table.
“However, I can honestly say I don’t think we’d still be here if it wasn’t for the support we’ve had from Business Gateway Scottish Borders.
“Right from the start, our adviser helped us successfully apply for grants to kit out our first shop, gave invaluable advice about rates, and in the past year alone, the knowledge we’ve gained from attending the free DigitalBoost workshops has helped us secure more online sales.
“Going into 2018, and with the launch of our new website, we’ll be utilising that knowledge to gain more traction with the American, Canadian and German markets, which already make up 50% of our online sales.”
Business Gateway adviser Alan King said: “Since buying the business in 2013, Mike, Lynn and Yvonne have benefited from support not just relating to the day-to-day running of the business but also its expansion online.
“DigitalBoost has armed them with tried and tested methods to increase their reach, and, moving forward, they will use that knowledge to attract more custom from abroad while the two shops cater to the local market.”
Having an inviting window display and outstanding reviews online also helped Tartan Plus Tartan attract one of its more unusual orders of 2017 – supplying 50 custom-made tartan waistcoats to a new Scottish pub in the US, in Memphis, Tennessee.
Mike said: “A Scottish businessman who’d moved to America but was back home for a holiday came into the shop recently to buy a Highland jacket and waistcoat.
“He was so impressed with our customer service and the quality of our products that he got back in touch and ordered waistcoats for his staff to wear.
“We are now in talks with him about potentially supplying the waistcoats on a regular basis, as well as memorabilia that his patrons can buy.”
For further details, call 01896 208 007 or visit tartanplustweed.com