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A number of ‘meet the maker’ events are to be held at VisitScotland iCentres across Scotland to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Shop Local.
Launched in May 2017, VisitScotland’s retail initiative was quickly rolled out in iCentres across Scotland and since then, hundreds of local crafters have joined – with more than 320 currently participating.
Shop Local works with local artisans and crafters who make a positive social and environmental impact and offers them the opportunity to promote and sell their products to visitors via the VisitScotland iCentre network. The initiative has been developed to provide a unique sales channel for small businesses producing ‘Made in Scotland’ products, offering visitors the chance to take an authentic, locally-produced piece of Scotland home with them.
VisitScotland iCentres in Brodick, Craignure, Lerwick, Rothesay and St Andrews have invited Shop Local suppliers through their doors to engage with visitors and talk about their products.
Earlier this month, Portree iCentre welcomed in representatives from the Isle of Skye Sea Salt Company and Skye Tails and other iCentres are expected to also hold events later this year.
Events happening in the next fortnight include:
· Craignure iCentre (10am-noon on 23 Sep) – Island Bakery, Biscuit Press Design and Isle of Mull Seaweed Chutney.
· Rothesay iCentre (noon to 4pm on 24 Sep) – Cute Creations, Alexandra Stevenson, Blackthorn Salt and Ray Beverley.
· St Andrews iCentre (12pm to 4pm on 24 Sep) – Beesy’s Beeswax Candles, Alan Santry, Kingsbarns Distillery, Griselda Hill, Wee Neuk Ceramics, East Neuk Salt Company and Pittenweem Preserves.
· Brodick iCentre (10am to 2pm on 29 Sep) – Arran Bee.
· Lerwick iCentre (11am to 3pm on 30 Sep) – Eve Eunson and Mary Fraser.
Suppliers working with Shop Local create and sell a wide range of diverse products, including soy coconut wax candles, watercolour illustrations and paintings, handmade dog treats, loose-leaf teas, jewellery and brooches, needle-felt gift sets, seaweed and sea salt, whisky barrel crafts and whisky accessories, prints, notecards and coasters, wooden magnets and baubles, knotted-basket kits, locally-written and illustrated books, organic lip balms and soaps and traditional handmade boiled sweets.Yvonne Carr, VisitScotland’s Senior Retail Manager, said:“I would encourage everyone to pop into their local iCentre to meet one of our Shop Local suppliers or even just to see for themselves the beautiful gifts on sale. These are often the only place the supplier will be selling these items, so shoppers can get a unique gift or product that is not available anywhere else.“The Shop Local initiative is not aimed at the already-established Scottish designers but at regional artisans without a real retail platform - exactly the kind of businesses that were acutely affected by the pandemic.”
As Shop Local marks its fifth year, VisitScotland is celebrating its notable successes. The initiative currently works with 326 suppliers across 26 sites, including 126 suppliers in the eight island centres – accounting for over 38% of sales. Lerwick iCentre alone has 32 Shop Local suppliers and Kirkwall has 23.
Shop Local not only benefits Scottish artisans, but also the environment, as the products are often hand delivered to the iCentres by the supplier, thus reducing the impact of transport. Our suppliers enhance the natural and cultural heritage of their region, often employ within their local communities and foster sustainable ways of making their products as part of their business model.
For more information about Shop Local’s fifth anniversary, visit www.visitscotland.org/news/2022/shop-local-turns-five
iCentres mark fifth anniversary of retail initiative