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Thread: DC Dalgliesh

  1. #1
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    DC Dalgliesh

    Eleventh hour rescue for Scotland's last traditional tartan mill
    90% of tartans would never be woven again if lost

    Scotland’s last traditional tartan weaving mill, whose tartans have been worn by the Queen, Nelson Mandela, Ivana Trump, Neil Armstrong and Arnold Palmer, has been rescued from closure with a last minute takeover by the owners of Edinburgh-based tartan goods website, Scotweb. As the only surviving tartan weaver of its kind, closure would have meant the loss forever of a major Scottish tradition and centuries of specialist skills.

    D.C. Dalgliesh Ltd, of Selkirk, Scotland, is the only weaver in the world still producing all its tartans to authentic traditional standards. But the mill has struggled to compete in the face of cheap imports, with 17 highly-skilled artisan jobs at risk.

    Scotweb directors Dr Nick Fiddes and Dr Adele Telford were long-term customers of the mill, as the world’s largest online retailers of tartan goods and products (see www.scotweb.co.uk ). A takeover seemed the perfect fit.

    Dr Fiddes said, “We are delighted that we’ve been able to step up and save this vital and wonderful part of Scotland’s heritage. This tartan weaver wasn’t just another small business going to the wall. If this mill had gone, 90% of all tartans would never have been produced again. It would have been the end of centuries of tradition.”

    "No other weaver produces tartans of the same quality. And no other mill can weave you just enough for a single garment in your own family tartan, which is what most tartan enthusiasts want. A really important part of Scotland’s identity would have been lost forever.”

    With the unrivalled quality of the mill’s products, Drs Fiddes & Telford are committed putting D.C. Dalgliesh back on the map as a beacon of excellence for Scottish tartan weaving, and intend to take the business from strength-to-strength.

    A new D.C. Dalgliesh website will be launched today along with a video, displaying the history, skills and production of D.C. Dalgliesh tartans. See www.dcdalgliesh.co.uk

    http://youtu.be/2W9UBVjx_QQ

    Alastair

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    Re: DC Dalgliesh

    I ordered my first kilt through Scotweb. I wonder if they used the D.C. Dalgliesh mill for the order? There is really no way to tell because there were no labels on the kilt.

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    Re: DC Dalgliesh

    I'm told they do use them but suppose they use others as well. I think if they really want to promote them they will need to spend a lot of money over a fair period to really make a difference. A budget of some $100,000 at least would be required as one burst of publicity just won't do it.

    Alastair

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    Re: DC Dalgliesh

    Hi miolchu, if you go back to the Scotweb site and retrieve your original order, you'll see a "woven by" statement, such as "woven by hedga" or "woven by lochc" which identifies the source of the tartan. If it says "woven by dcdal" it will be from D.C. Dalgliesh. I am a long time supporter of the Scotweb family so am glad to see a fellow fan!

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    Re: DC Dalgliesh

    Hi Alastair, Dr. Fiddes just circulated the attached "Personal Appeal" to the Scotweb e-mail list suggesting things that we can do to support his courageous step forward. I'll let him know that you "scooped" him by 24 hours! This is indeed important, so thanks for bringing it forward!
    Attached Files Attached Files

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    Re: DC Dalgliesh

    Well Nick did email me Rick and asked if I could give him some publicity and did wait for Tuesday to release it as he requested. On the whole most people would be happy to give this some publicity but as I said above there is no substitute for truly global marketing. That is where most companies fail as they don't set aside a sum of money to do that or indeed do not have the sum available.

    We also don't have nitty gritty details like how much would a kilt cost from them as opposed to another company. That's not to say that the cheapest price wins as this type of purchase is usually a one off and you want to get it right.

    Also why was the company failing and needed someone like Nick to come to their rescue? These are all legitimate questions that really need answering. Like they might be able to make just enough for a kilt but was their quality suspect and hence they weren't getting new business?

    A company can go down for a whole range of reasons but we need to understand those reasons so that the same mistakes are not repeated. From what I read the family are still involved so will that make it difficult for Nick to succeed with them? Does he have a majority stake?

    We can only assume they were losing money so why were they losing money? And is the capital Nick put in sufficient to give them a breathing space and if so for how long? And will the company be able to turn things around before the new money runs out?

    I think these are questions that need answers before you should do business with them. I mean if there quality was suspect and that was the reason they were failing then that's not a good reason to purchase from them no matter if you'd like to help them out.

    So how did they get into this position where they needed help?

    Alastair

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    Re: DC Dalgliesh

    My kilt indicated the material was woven by dalbi.

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    Re: DC Dalgliesh

    Reading through all the documentation/PDF etc., and the video a couple of times, it would appear one of the fundamental reasons for the financial decline is their adherance to 'traditional' methods of production, also their minimum production requirement/order is substantially lower than that of their competitors and they are prepared to weave all tartans.
    In some respects it puts me in mind of the craft and expertise involved in making/weaving the traditional and much admired "Harris Tweed", I believe there is always a niche in the market place for goods manufactured by traditional means, but as Alastair stated they have to be marketed extensively and wisely, and this all costs $$$$$$$$'s.
    I equate it in some respects as to the variance in buying suits/trousers etc., 'Off the Peg", or having them made/finished to a high standard by a professional and conscientious tailor or craftsman.

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    Re: DC Dalgliesh

    Hi Alastair, after googling through various other blogs and chats, I would tend to agree with 1938 Observer as to the reasons for D.C. Dalgliesh's financial difficulties - basically, a small, localized, high quality, low volume operation that could no longer compete in a globalized tartan market. It appears that their prices were more or less competitive, at least with respect to the few products that the Scotweb site handled, and there is clearly no issues with their quality, so I'd say it's likely they just fell victim to the old adage, grow or die. There is a lot of low quality knock-off competition in this market, so it must be very difficult for a small independent operation to survive. Having said that, on one hand $100,000 is not much money for a bail out: on the other, I have a lot of respect for the Scotweb business model, so perhaps the joining of a quality manufacturing capacity with a world class marketing capacity will work to everyone's advantage. I'm not likely to need any more kilts in my lifetime, but would purchase from D.C. Dalgliesh through Scotweb if the occasion did arise again. Very interesting developments, so thanks again for spending time on it!

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    Re: DC Dalgliesh

    I have no problem in covering them but you do need to know what the problem is to be able to fix it. I happen to be one that believes quality is a sales plus. How many times have we all purchased something because of the price and later regretted it?

    Like my own home has some ceiling fans but they really don't do much even when on at full power. And when at full power they are a bit noisy and they also tend to wobble a bit. I later found out they were all sub $100 fans.

    I've just purchased two fans.. one at $800 and the other at $500... and I am very pleased with both. They are both almost silent in operation, they don't wobble and they both deliver a good flow of air. Just what you need in a ceiling fan.

    Quality does count and often the quality product will last whereas the cheap ones often do not.

    Being brought up in a sales and marketing environment I know the need for a good sales story. Objections are welcome as it shows interest and lets you overcome these with a good sales story and facts and thus you get the sale.

    I think they just need to spend some money to give themselves good ongoing publicity but together with that they need to provide many stories that hopefully will be picked up by the media. In this kind of business you need to be talked about on a regular basis and as wide as you can on a geographical basis.

    Then you need to create your own markets by suggesting all kinds of ways to use tartan. Like I've seen the fashion industry coming up with novel products. I've seen tartan used for chairs and sofas. I've seen tartan used for carpets. They could establish themselves in the clan markets by building story boards of clan tartans and their history.

    All kinds of ways to market the company really so let's see where they go with all this.

    Alastair

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