Julie Hollis of Cloud 9 Studio Gallery
Julie Hollis of Cloud 9 Studio Gallery

Eight Scottish companies named in Small Business Saturday’s ‘Small Biz 100’ for 2017

Eight Scottish companies have been named among the 100 small businesses in the UK to be celebrated by Small Business Saturday, the campaign that culminates in one big day for the UK’s 5.5 million small businesses on December 2nd.

The businesses will be among those featured one per day for the 100 days leading up to Small Business Saturday itself. As the 5th year of Small Business Saturday in the UK, these businesses will join a cohort of hundreds of businesses that have been celebrated by the iconic campaign since its launch in the UK in 2013.

The local companies are:

A Hume Country Clothing are a niche independent retailer focusing on providing premium lifestyle country clothing for both Ladies and Gentlemen of a discerning and stylish nature. Through the provision of niche and artisan brands not found on the high street, they focus on sourcing the very best of both local and global products. No matter what the product, from caps and hats to socks and shoes and everything in between, they aim to provide customers with the very best products the country clothing market has to offer.

Archie Hume, owner, says, “We are very proud and passionate about our heritage and that we are a small independent retailer that has grown from its traditional roots. We are relishing being part of the Small Biz 100 because we believe small businesses, such as ours are the backbone of the UK economy and are an integral part in local communities. We are looking forward to showcasing A Hume Country Clothing.”

Cloud 9 Studio Gallery is an artist led gallery, workshop, open studio and craft shop in the centre of Dumfries in Scotland. Julie Hollis is the owner and artist in residence, and a staunch supporter of shopping locally and sourcing stockists from the immediate vicinity. 98% of her stock comes from Dumfries and Galloway, 99% from southern Scotland. Set away from the main high street, the gallery has a reputation for not only quality, but also a friendly welcome.

Julie Hollis, owner, says, “My business will benefit from being one of the Small Biz 100. It will help to raise my profile and give me access to help, advice and benefit from the experience of others”

F & M Hairdressing is a boutique independent salon based in the town of Barrhead. Its aim is to provide a highly trained staff in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. They are the current winners of Clyde 1 radio station Style award, which is presented to the most stylish business in the west of Scotland. They deliver over 10,000 services a year to local customers.

Brian Macmillan, owner, says, “We live and work in the town of Barrhead, we are lucky to have a lot of small businesses in the town and being part of the Small Biz 100 will be great for all the small businesses in the town as well as ours, as it sends a strong loud message to the local consumers to shop local at the most important time of the year.”

Jo Macfarlane is a luxury candles business based in Anstruther. The business works with Scottish Hotel of the year, Fairmont Hotel St Andrews and Highland Chocolatier to create bespoke candles. Owner Jo Barton runs candle-making workshops to teach people of all ages artisan skills and through the workshops donates 10% to Sreepur Village, a charity in Bangladesh that supports destitute women and children

Jo Barton, owner, says, “To be featured part of the 100 is fantastic. I love being social with other small businesses, when a lot of us still are a one man band it's important to learn and network with each other. Small Business Saturday is a way of bringing a community together and it is a great social event, recognising the work of all the small businesses in the country.”

Number 29 is a haberdashery business in Fochabers, in the heart of Speyside, Moray, run by Jane Williams. The ‘Number 29' brand offers something that the market was missing in the local area. The business stocks on trend fabrics and accessories, including haberdashery, patterns, ribbons, buttons and gifts for the sewing and hobby marketplace.

Ms Williams says, “We want to enhance the Small Business Saturday event annually and open our doors to folk, who perhaps normally would just look online. It's about community spirit and working to support other small business across the nation. We hope to make a small impact on the world and highlight what amazing, talented business owners are out there.”

Tillycroy Support Services are a training organisation based in Aboyne, in the North East of Scotland. They specialise in forklift truck training and re-assessments, first aid, first aid for dogs & dog owners and other health and safety training. It offers a complete training and risk assessment package for large and small businesses alike. The business’s client base extends throughout Scotland, the North of England and has recently secured three contracts in the Republic of Ireland.

Alister Clark, owner, says, “It is excellent for a business from the Deeside area of Scotland to be represented within the Small Biz 100. This area is still recovering from the floods of 2015/16 and there are still a number of families who have not even returned to their homes yet. To be able not only to speak on a national level about my own company, but to highlight what we have to offer in respect to tourism will help many organisations and businesses in the area.”

Plan Bee Ltd from Motherwell have a threefold mission: to create exceptional products; reverse the decline in honeybee numbers; and educate a new generation of honeybee protectors.
They use all the bounties of the hive in their award-winning products, all fresh and direct from their hives. As sustainability champions, Plan Bee partners with companies to help them achieve their environmental and corporate social responsibility goals. Businesses adopt beehives, bringing together employees and the local community in the beekeeping projects, in turn boosting employee engagement and strengthening community links.

“Like the honeybees, our business thrives on collaboration. We are always looking to connect with future hive adopters, retail establishments and educators to further our mission. The Small Biz 100 would be the perfect way for our message of sustainability and news of our delicious and innovative products to reach a wider public audience.” Says Julia Pyburn owner of Plan Bee Ltd.

Smoky Brae is a traditional family run smokehouse, based in South Lanarkshire, Scotland. The business naturally smokes ingredients and products by hand in small batches. Every product is blended and packaged by hand in an artisan process that takes time and patience. The business focuses on non-traditional smoked products including Smoked Sugar, Smoked Sesame Seeds, Smoked Fennel Pepper, Smoked Chilli Flakes, Smoked BBQ Rub, Smoked Chilli Rub, Smoked Garlic Rub, Smoked Gravlax Cure, Smoked Sea Salt and Smoked Pepper.

Graham Johnston, owner, says, “We recognise that the Small Biz 100 is a very good opportunity for our small family business. We also have a lot of offer other small food businesses going forward so we are keen to meet and network as much as possible and share our experience to date.”

Belhaven Bikes was started in Dunbar in 2005 and since then has been serving its town and beyond with bicycles, skateboards and scooters for all generations to have fun on. Its honest, professional service helps customers choose the right bike or product for them. The business sells new and recycled bikes and can cater for all budgets with a range for road riding, mountain biking, leisure or commuting suits all tastes. Parts, accessories and clothing are available too, including their own branded cycling kit that has proved a big hit with customers.

Mandy Cairns Ford, owner, says, “Having taken part in Small Business Saturday from its inception, we value the contribution it makes in highlighting the diverse and valuable role small businesses play in the economy and communities. We have been involved with promoting our own and other local businesses during Small Business Saturday every year, last year attending one of the bus tour stops. It is great to be part of a national campaign where everyone pulls together, celebrates small businesses and delivers inspiration in abundance.”

Small Business Saturday is the UK's most successful small business campaign and is this year celebrating its 5th birthday year. Last year saw £717m spent with small businesses across the UK on Small Business Saturday, up 15% on the previous year. The campaign trended at number one in the UK on Twitter on the day with more than 130,000 campaign-related tweets being sent, reaching over 140 million people globally. Over 80% of local councils supported the campaign, meaning wherever you were on Small Business Saturday, there was something going on nearby.

“Small Business Saturday has gone from strength to strength in the five years since it launched in the UK. British businesses and customers have taken it to their hearts and now not only make a special effort once a year for Small Business Saturday, but appreciate the value small businesses bring to their communities year round,” explains Campaign Director Michelle Ovens.

“Small Business Saturday is open to everyone. Businesses on the high street or online, trading with other businesses or selling direct to consumers. It is open to every individual who can take this moment to support their local businesses, and it is open to public sector to both support and reflect on the huge value small businesses generate.”

Small Business Saturday, which is a grassroots, not-for-profit campaign, was originally founded by American Express in the U.S. in 2010 and it remains the principal supporter of the campaign in the UK, as part of its on-going commitment to encourage consumers to shop small. The campaign also benefits from the backing of leading business organisations including the Federation of Small Businesses and Enterprise Nation. The campaign is also supported by Facebook, Dropbox, Mercedes Benz Vans, Indeed, Vistaprint, and Lightspeed.