The new Nielanell collection from Nielanell Inventive Knit. Photo credit Anna Caitlin Harris
The new Nielanell collection from Nielanell Inventive Knit. Photo credit Anna Caitlin Harris

Shetland knitwear business to expand into new international markets with grant support

A Shetland based business specialising in contemporary knitwear, homeware and accessories is set to expand into new international markets.

Hoswick based Nielanell Inventive Knit, owned by knitwear designer and producer, Niela Kalra, is being supported by a grant of £29,000 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

The £79,600 project to expand the business will enable it to boost sales in the UK as well as reach new markets in the USA and Far East by attending trade fairs and meeting potential wholesalers.

Niela’s designs are known for their vibrant colour and texture combinations which capture the spirit of Shetland, its people and its landscape. Her wraps, shawls, cardigans and jumpers are distinctive in texture, using wool, silks, merino, man-made fibres and cashmere combinations.

Eight years on since moving to Shetland to start her business, Niela’s inventive knitwear designs sell widely to local people and visitors to the island. As part of this project, the range at Neilanell will also be expanding online.

David Priest, account manager at HIE Shetland area team, said: “Nielanell brings unique garments to the market, influenced by Shetland life, but very different from traditional Shetland knitwear. We recognise that Nielanell has significant growth potential and we are keen to support the business in activities that would help it reach wider UK and global markets.

“This is a great initiative to expand the business in international markets. There are many opportunities for Highlands and Islands textile businesses if they can make the connections with wholesalers abroad, in particular in Japan and North America.”

Niela Kalra, said: “I’m delighted to have the support of HIE as I push forward with my business expansion plan. The creative industry sector in Shetland is going from strength to strength, and I am excited to be part of that movement. I have been lucky to get commissions from outside Shetland, and I would like to nurture these opportunities as they, in turn, translate into increased sales. I am fortunate to be able to work in a rural environment which I love, in a supportive community, yet still be involved in knitting in an international context.”