Guest lecture at Ivy League University follows opening of flagship Edinburgh store.
ANTA, the dynamic Scottish textiles and ceramics company, opened its flagship store on Edinburgh's George Street today (Thursday 9 February 2012).
Intent on providing customers with an 'experience', the shop boasts room sets based on a series of previously designed homes by founder Annie Stewart.
The grand opening is hot on the heels of an exclusive invitation for Stewart to give a guest lecture at the world-renowned Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), a partner of Brown University, New York.
Speaking to both staff and students the Highlands based businesswoman will share her entrepreneurial journey from artist to designer to manufacturer, to local and now international success in the textiles industry.
Annie and Lachlan Stewart opened the first ANTA shop in Edinburgh's High Street twenty years ago with the intention of providing the city with true contemporary Scottish design manufactured with love and care in the Scottish Highlands.
It has been an incredible journey since then and ANTA continues to be a beacon for Scottish design around the world. The commitment to natural materials and local manufacture is as strong now as when ANTA began making in the Highlands.
In 2011, ANTA was chosen as one of a handful of British brands representing British style in Milan. They were selected after a buying team extensively trawled the UK market to find high quality, contemporary design, with ANTA hand picked to feature in Excelsior department store, in Galleria del Corso, Milan.
Encouraged by this recent enthusiasm from mainland Europe and increased growth in 2011, ANTA decided to concentrate on positioning themselves as the number one homeware and fashion accessory company from Scotland.
Excited about the new flagship shop, Stewart said: "It is an incredible space and provides the perfect architecture to show our collections in both classical and contemporary settings.
"Scotland has a long and established reputation for producing high quality design and textiles and now ANTA is taking the initiative to demonstrate how we combine tradition with contemporary style in our capital city."
ANTA has just returned from a trip to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Boston as part of its Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP) - a week-long intensive, executive educational course run by MIT's Sloan School of Management.
The course is aimed at the most ambitious global businesses with growth potential and aspirations. Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), Scottish Enterprise and Informatics Ventures sponsored twelve places on EDP 2012 for six businesses from the Highlands and Islands and six businesses from the Scottish Enterprise area.
Stewart designed a special "Team Scotland EDP 2012" tartan and made scarves for the group.
Jeni Oliver at HIE is currently working with the company to take forward some of its current ideas. She said: "ANTA is an excellent example of what a business with small roots can achieve with drive, imagination and ambition. With the support of both HIE and Scottish Development International, ANTA is strategically identifying and successfully entering a number of international markets. ANTA is growing its business from an informed position with both control and confidence."
Inspired by the colours of the landscape, ANTA's products exemplify the best of Scotland's design tradition, creativity, and production of high quality fabrics and textiles.
Cathy Black, head of textiles at Scottish Enterprise said: "This is another clear example of the strength of the Scottish textiles industry and the international recognition it regularly receives. George Street is home to some of the world's leading brands and it is fitting that a leading Scottish textiles brand is now sharing that prestigious address.
"ANTA is taking full advantage of the marketplace, both at home and abroad. Despite economic issues, there is still a genuine desire for high-end luxury goods, a market the Scottish textiles industry knows well."
ANTA's other outlets include their showroom at the factory based at Fearn, near Tain in the Highlands and an online shop www.anta.co.uk
While ANTA has historically sold through its website and two stores, its work with community and economic development agency, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) means that it is continuing to look at innovative ways of growing.
Funding towards marketing support, attendance at three trade shows in Europe, and developing the ANTA website to ensure it is user friendly for international customers are just three ways in which HIE and Scottish Development International have assisted the business over the last year.