BBL director, Scott Hay (left), with Fiona and Burgess Hay at the firm's premises in Forres
BBL director, Scott Hay (left), with Fiona and Burgess Hay at the firm's premises in Forres

Forres bagpipe maker go global

Trade missions to Ireland and America have been paying off for Forres firm, Burgess Bagpipes Limited (BBL).

Earlier this year the family run firm secured a ‘Go Global’ grant from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) to help with their global marketing ambitions.

The money enabled the company to visit traditional instrument resellers in Ireland and host workshops at the Jim Dowling Traditional Piping festival, one of the highlights on Ireland’s festival map. BBL also hosted workshops at the New Hampshire Scot Loon Mountain Highlands Games in America.

So far, as a result, they have picked up orders from buyers in America, Canada, Germany and Spain, and expanding networks in Australia and New Zealand.

In 2018 the company will be attending festivals in Brittany, Germany and Cape Bretton.

BBL designs and manufactures Scottish Smallpipes, Border Pipes, Highland Bagpipes and Piping accessories. Materials include African blackwood and titanium, and manufacturing uses modern precision engineering technology. It is the first new Scottish bagpipe maker in 10 years and one of only two companies in the world that make all three kinds of Scottish bagpipes.

Commenting on the overseas visits, BBL director, Scott Burgess Hay, said:

“It’s been a real profile boost for the company. There’s been a marked increase in our followers on both Facebook and Twitter, especially from people in the USA. We have also seen increased website traffic, again notably from people in the USA, and have every reason to anticipate some of this translating into further sales.

“Thanks to Scottish Development International who introduced us to a Global Scot in the USA, and the HIE Creative Industries team who provided other useful contacts, we are also expanding our marketing networks.”

BBL became a client of HIE last year and the organisation has been helping the company with its growth plans, including funding towards plant and equipment and to attend trade fares.

Keira Orme, HIE business development account manager, said: “Burgess Bagpipes is an ambitious young company with bright new ideas for a traditional marketplace that stretches across the world. It’s great that the overseas visits are paying off for the company and we look forward to continuing to work with them and helping them achieve their international ambitions.”