Thursday, 08 May 2021 00:00

Mum's tartan toddler is inspiration for new business

Andrea McShannon and family

A Campbeltown mum-of-two who first made a kilt for her young son to wear at a family wedding, is now selling her handmade tartan outfits to America and Australia.

Andrea McShannon worked in environmental sciences until the wind turbine company she worked for relocated from the area. Wanting to remain in Kintyre, Andrea took advantage of the opportunity to spend time bringing up her daughter and son.

Now, after support from Argyll and Bute council’s Business Gateway, Andrea has founded KILTED by Andrea McShannon, which specialises in unique, contemporary tweed children’s kilts.

Andrea said: “An initial meeting with Business Gateway was so positive and supportive that I gained a lot of confidence in my idea. I have a business background so I was comfortable with the financial side of starting a business, but I received a lot of information from Business Gateway that covered a range of topics and allowed me to refresh my skills, as well as learning new ones. This was a massive boost for my business as I was able to establish KILTED by Andrea McShannon with a solid plan for the future.”

Andrea wanted her son to wear the same kilt as his father while attending her sister’s wedding, but due to it being a rare tartan only available in heavy weight material, she struggled to find anyone who could make a matching one for her. She decided to sew her own, and soon had enquiries from friends and other guests at the wedding.

This interest persuaded her to start her own business where she uses traditional kilt designs in new ways to create a unique collection of children’s clothes. After ensuring her business was online at www.andreamcshannonkilts.co.uk she began receiving orders from people in the USA and Australia who wanted to honour their Scottish ancestry.

Andrea added: “I never set out to make this a career but the response has been so fantastic and it has grown so rapidly, that it soon became apparent it was a viable option. I have had lots of orders from Scotland but I was surprised by the interest from other countries. I’m trying to ensure that I offer something a bit different also, so I have begun using contrasting brightly coloured tweeds.

While I really enjoy the more traditional outfits I make and it is a privilege to make a bespoke outfit that will become a family heirloom, I do love letting my imagination run and creating outfits that are inspired by the landscapes I am surrounded by.

“I’m really excited about the future of the business and I plan to build up the brand over the next few years by attending wedding fairs and making more use of Social Media. I’m also a member of Explore Campbeltown which is a local initiative to promote the area and local businesses, so hopefully that will allow networking opportunities with even more likeminded people in the region.”

Donald Melville, Business Adviser, Business Gateway said: “Andrea already had a firm grasp of various aspects of setting up and running a business, but she still felt she could benefit from our expert advice and help. Since then, we have supported Andrea in matters such as VAT and Social Media and we have signposted her to funding options that are relevant for her business.”

To find out more about how Business Gateway can help you set up and develop your own business call 01546 808 363 or visit www.bgateway.com

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