Craig Munro
Craig Munro

Bagpipe maker relocates to assist growing export market

A Scottish bagpipe manufacturer which exports over 75% of its products has moved into a larger location that will help increase productivity to over 500 sets of pipes a year.

Craig Munro, 33, from Renfrew, took over the running of Wallace Bagpipes in 2012 after seven years as an employee bagpipe maker.

Since then, the piper who plays in the internationally acclaimed Red Hot Chili Pipers, has continued to cement the business’ place in the market with customers across the world including the Indian Army, Jordanian and Abu Dhabi Police and Columbian Navy.

Now Wallace Bagpipes has moved into premises in Paisley which will allow the company to increase productivity and accommodate visitors and customers from across the UK and overseas.

Craig said: “Since taking over the business in 2012 from the previous owners we’ve worked hard to build relationships with pipe bands, schools, teachers and organisations all over the world. My background in playing and teaching the bagpipes is a huge help as I travel the globe and meet so many people. But it’s our quality crafting and customer service that has reinforced our position in the market more than anything else. We still mainly use traditional methods to make our products, with only 5% done by CNC machinery.

“Although we’re a niche market, the industry is thriving and we are now making over 500 sets of Highland bagpipes a year. Our previous location was a factory unit and it was obvious it was too small for us and restricting our growth. Our new bigger premises has helped massively as we can now implement more of our strategies all aimed at expansion. Business Gateway have been instrumental in the move, helping us source funding from Invest in Renfrewshire which allowed us to fit out the unit as well as supporting and advising us where necessary.”

Wallace Bagpipes was founded in 2002, a subdivision of Jet Engineering. Joining the company in 2004, Craig was soon heading up the division and eventually bought it with a vision to grow the brand. Officially endorsed by the musicians within the Red Hot Chili Pipers, Wallace Bagpipes is hoping to bridge the gap between traditional and modern pipers by building up relationships with school music departments, worldwide pipe bands and individuals learning the instrument.

Craig added: “We are a team of five and long term I would love to take on more staff and even open a sales office abroad. We are big believers in ensuring our products are always manufactured here in Scotland and our aim is to become the go-to company for bagpipes for pipers across the world. Our passion for piping runs through everything we do and we believe this commitment to the industry as a whole sets us apart.”

Bernard Sheridan of Business Gateway Renfrewshire who has assisted Craig said: “The relocation of an internationally renowned business to Paisley was a coup for the town. We worked closely with Craig in a number of areas including external funding opportunities, strategy and marketing. We are now providing growth support which will aid Craig’s ambitions to significantly grow Wallace Bagpipes.”