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Skye's not the limit for luxury sheepskin business celebrating 30 years

23 August 2013

Skye's not the limit for luxury sheepskin business celebrating 30 years

Skye based Skyeskyns, manufacturers and suppliers of finest quality sheepskins, are celebrating their 30th birthday by thanking those who have been instrumental in their growth but also by looking ahead to the next 30 years.

Celebrating their success over the last 30 years, the Hartwell family, who own and run Skyeskyns, held a drinks reception this week for staff and supporters and have now turned their attention to the next phase of growth for the business.

As one of only two remaining commercial sheepskin tanneries in the UK, Skyeskyns is unique in using the most traditional methods to make the world famous Highland hand-combed natural fleece. The business employs a number of local people and retains its close link to the Skye crofting community, with the Hartwells themselves running a flock of Hebridean and Blackface sheep. When the business first started back in 1983, sheepskins on Skye were considered to be a waste product and Skyeskyns strove to ensure that they were transformed into part of the superior quality range of products now retailed across the world.

As part of the business’ growth plan, Skyeskyns has developed links with other Scottish high end suppliers, including more recently Johnstons of Elgin, and will now be retailing a range of their cashmere, merino and other wool products. The full range of Skyeskyns’ products are retailed from their VisitScotland 5 Star accredited workshop and showroom on the magical Isle of Skye as well as via their ecommerce site www.skyeskyns.co.uk and national exhibitions.

Clive Hartwell, who founded Skyeskyns in 1983 and has developed it significantly since then, said:“We are really proud to be a family business that is steeped in tradition and history but also eager for growth and for reaching new markets.

“Skye is certainly not the limit for us and whilst we love to welcome customers to our purpose built workshop and showroom on Skye, people from all over the world can benefit from our full range of products via our website.

“As we look towards the next 30 years, with our daughter Jessica taking an increasingly prominent role in the business including responsibility for developing new product lines, we are excited by the new links we have formed with Johnstons of Elgin and are delighted that they have shown their support by both allowing us to retail some of their stunning product range but also by coming to our celebratory party this week.

“As a family business with a history of 216 years, Johnstons of Elgin can certainly teach us a great deal about how combining quality with customer satisfaction leads to success.

“We are also enormously grateful for all the support we have received from Highlands and Islands Enterprise over the years and were very pleased to welcome representatives from HIE at our celebratory event.”

Robert Muir, HIE's area manager, said:"HIE is delighted to be part of Skyeskyn's 30th anniversary celebrations, having worked alongside Clive, Lydia, and now Jessica and the team since the business started in 1983. Skyeskyns is an important part of the local community, and with its focus on quality, customer care and its ambitious open-minded attitude to development it has been a pleasure seeing the business grow steadily over this time."

Ian Urquhart, Chairman of Johnstons of Elgin and principal guest at last night’s reception said: “We are delighted that Skyeskyns have become Johnstons of Elgin stockists.  Both companies are unique family owned Scottish businesses, continuously evolving traditional skills, producing world class quality products.

“In addition to export markets, both Skyeskyns and Johnstons of Elgin are committed to their communities in providing skilled employment opportunities and for tourism, both are accredited 5 Star visitor attractions.  We wish Skyeskyns many congratulations in achieving 30 successful years in business.”


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