Jamieson's Spinning Garry And Peter Jamieson Resized

Shetland woollen mill to double capacity and create jobs

Published: 27/09/2023

A knitting machine recently purchased by a Shetland woollen mill has been so successful in meeting the demand for products that the firm has invested in another one with support from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

Family-owned business, Jamieson’s Spinning, operates Shetland’s only commercial woollen mill from Sandness on the west side of the mainland. The firm has specialised in wool for five generations and employs more than 30 staff.

The business buys Shetland wool and completes all stages of production at the mill before turning it into Shetland yarn in five different weights and more than 400 colours. Knitwear produced by the company allows them to promote a wholly ‘Made in Shetland’ product.

HIE recently provided support to Jamieson’s to help purchase a Shima Seiki knitting machine that uses Computer Numerical Control (CNC) technology and enables whole garment products to be knitted significantly speeding up the production process.

The quality of the product produced on the new machine resulted in customer demand for these garments outstripping supply, meaning the company was unable to meet international market demand unless they could invest in additional production capacity.

The firm was awarded £44,800 by HIE, which along with investment from the company, enabled the purchase of a second Shima machine increasing capacity and their ability to service the customer demand. The project will create two new well-paid jobs at Sandness and will also support an increase in international sales of £47,581.

The machines can knit plain or two to three coloured striped sweaters, cardigans and slipover style vests or waistcoats. As well as being able to meet increasing levels of demand from their existing customers this new equipment gives the business the opportunity to work on developing new product styles without compromising production levels.

Manager at Jamieson’s, Garry Jamieson, said:

“The success of the whole garment production line has been exceptional and we are delighted that with HIE support we will be able to meet the rising demand for these products, expand our international markets and support new well paid jobs in our community.”

Catherine Hawick from HIE, said:
“We are very pleased to support this investment in a valuable employer in a rural location.  We recognise the importance of increasing productivity to allow business growth. This will also support the creation of jobs, and the retention of families in Shetland’s west side.”

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