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Thread: Tartan Spirit

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    Tartan Spirit

    We got in some information about Tartan Spirit which can be viewed at http://www.electricscotland.com/busi...tan_spirit.htm

    The Tartan Spirit Collection brings tartan for women into the 21st Century. Colourful and fun to wear this is an innovative concept of embroidered and beaded silk tartan and pure wool tartan accessories coordinating with cashmere jumpers and skirts. Tartan Spirit is Modern, Stylish and Scottish with International Appeal. A fashion concept that transcends age.

    Alastair

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    Re: Tartan Spirit

    Got in a copy of an article done by the Daily Express in September...

    “Creative free spirit Joyce Young is taking tartan to places it’s never been before.

    The latest venture from the Scottish designer, best known for exclusive, upmarket bridalwear, is a highly commercial brand of funky fashion products based on the famous patterns of her native land.

    Young and her husband Maurice’s Tartan Spirit label, featuring accessories, knitwear and kilts, reveals just what new heights Scotland’s heritage fabrics, famous for their quality, stunning colours and textures, can scale when treated to an edgy 21st century makeover.

    Take the company’s Kiltie bags, for example, at £115 or £150 if in a customer’s chosen tartan – although a hit with the fashion crowd they are also on the radar of more dedicated handbag collectors as future investment pieces.

    And as brand’s broad-ranging name suggests, it has the potential to embrace many more product types, such as whisky, as it goes global and makes the most of the strong cultural identity Scotland enjoys internationally.

    Currently distributed to 20 shops in Japan, last year it opened its first stand-alone shop in one of Scotland’s top hotels - Cameron House on Loch Lomond.

    “The plan is to have further shops or concessions within them. Tartan Spirit is perfect for airports. There’s a large overseas market for our products,” says Young, 56, who is currently on a trade trip to China.

    Given her expertise as a designer and manufacturer, Tartan Spirit might appear an obvious move. But this would be to underplay the couple’s wider achievement - in their field of business as it’s no mean feat to have held on not just to their independence and design capability, but the manufacturing too helping preserve skilled jobs and the country’s pool of artisan talent.

    Now employing 20 directly, turnover has grown to £1 million largely through a multi-strand business model which has adapted and changed as the times demanded.

    It all began however when Young was made redundant from her corporate design job in the early 90s. With help from Scottish Enterprise, she decided now was the time to walk alone. Within months she was producing non-crush cruise wear on a wholesale basis and the success led to the she and her husband opening the picturesque shop and showroom that they still have in Bearsden, north Glasgow. When the cruise outfits started being worn as informal wedding wear, Young switched over to the higher value bridal market with her venture By Storm.

    “It reminded me of advice I had received years earlier,” she says, “when a store director told me the only end of the UK manufacturing market to be in was bridal wear, when the customer was prepared to pay more for something special. I got fantastic commercial experience from working in the mass market, but it was enough. I’m only interested in working with quality fabrics.”

    Gradually the made-to-measure side took over the business and 10 years ago the Joyce and Maurice opened their second special occasion wear shop in London’s West End. Best sellers are Young’s Tuscany wedding dress which retails for £1,350 and mother-of-the- bride Cara outfit for £1,500.

    “Market demand made us concentrate on weddings,” she continues. “We have ventured into wholesale occasionally since with very specific fabrics, but we couldn’t divide ourselves between wholesale and retail and the direct customer was always the winner. That’s the reality with limited resources.”

    Young began by calling her business By Storm, but after Storm Watches decided to dispute this and won, the she decided she could not afford the conditions-of-use package they were offering, so at more expense settled for changing the bridal side to Joyce Young By Storm.

    It was a loan from Clydesdale Bank that first gave Young the funds to go it alone, while an enterprise match-funded one from RBS, helped pave the way for Tartan Spirit.

    The launch of this, which has a linked business to By Storm with Tartan Weddings, has been even more demanding on the money front than the couple expected. But in these recessionary times, with export so important, it’s this company that has the greatest potential, says Young, who is now looking for an experienced investor to help exploit the advantages possible with expansion.

    Joyce and Maurice typify the textiles renaissance currently underway in Scotland. Despite globalisation and competition, the industry still has 640 companies, turning over £900 million and employing 10,000. While the importance and ingenuity of traditional weaving skills and fabrics have always been valued by big name designers like Chanel, it’s the innovations now from entrepreneurs like this couple that are adding lasting value by giving them broader, popular recognition.

    As part of this new wave Tartan Spirit will be exhibiting at a special Scottish textiles showcase event, the first of its kind, to be held in London next month.

    “Everything is in place to roll this out internationally,“ declares Young. “Unlike weddings, Tartan Spirit is an all-year round business, we’ve broken out of the seasonal cycle. All we need now is the extra finance.”

    www.tartanspirit.com, www.bystorm.co.uk


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