Prickly Thistle

Prickly Thistle 

A Black Isle entrepreneur has been able to transform her customers’ online experience through the support of HIE’s Innovate Your Business Service. Prickly Thistle Scotland is owned and managed by Clare Campbell, who has applied innovative thinking to create a niche for her product within a 200-year-old traditional industry.

Founded in 2015, Prickly Thistle now has a staff of three and is already building a national and international reputation for its design and production of bespoke tartans.

Recent developments have seen the introduction of a customised online design portal that can be used from anywhere in the world, giving Prickly Thistle clients a unique experience in creating a bespoke tartan design for their exclusive use.

The idea behind the portal was to open up a digital fact-finding dialogue with clients, building up a background story to the tartan - the history that underlies it, the personalities involved, and the values the tartan would represent. She could then use the portal to share colour palettes and designs. The story is compiled and stored digitally during the process, and at completion, can be printed off as a keepsake, adding value to the experience.

So far, feedback has been wonderful, in a matter of weeks, clients have been raving about it. Said Clare.

"It’s been a challenge starting a luxury tartan brand that looks to innovate with modern methods of communication, experience and application.

Establishing international demand for this type of service has been difficult, in many ways the industry has been fairly traditional for over 200 years.

Innovate Your Business support 

HIE provided support for the project with a grant through the Innovate Your Business service. As well as delivering vital funding, HIE’s involvement also gave Clare access to a wide-ranging network of support, enabling her to discuss her ideas and plan for launch.

The portal is now live and work has started with six clients from all over the world, including North America.

Prickly Thistle is a great example of innovation springing not from a new idea, but from doing something differently to stand out.

With funding and access to expertise and networking, HIE’s Innovate Your Business service has been instrumental in facilitating a fresh, dynamic approach to the marketing of an iconic Scottish product.

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