Nutscene Sends Exports to More Than 20 CountriesNeil Hardie
When twine producer Nutscene, based in Kingsmuir, just outside Forfar saw its future under threat in the 199os after cheap imports from China began to flood the market, chief executive Shona Young and her team set about building the brand to save the company.
Shona explained; “We selected a number of items from our range and developed new concepts, recreated our labelling from the archives and took the very bold step of going directly to the retailers. The absolute plan was to protect our brand, and guard our intellectual property.”
“We faced great difficulties on so many occasions, but we drove the company forward with great resilience and self-sacrifice. People stole our ideas, ripped us off, plagiarised our brand, these were actions that made us more determined to succeed, and we became, and still are, fiercely protective of the Nutscene brand.
Shona continued: “I once told a buyer who was negotiating longer payments that I was not a financial institution but a string company, so could not offer credit terms on that basis. We got the order and it was for over £100,00. Because we were offering a unique range, I was able to negotiate from a stronger position and was prepared to walk away.”
“I take the same approach when big names approach us to do ‘own branding’. We say ‘no’ as we only over this facility to the Prince of Wales’ company Highgrove. He likes our twine.
“The Nutscene customer base has grown significantly over the years. We now service many small to medium-sized independents, but still have our product in some very high-end retailers across the globe. We are currently exporting to over 20 countries, with our largest market being Japan, followed by Germany, USA and Germany. More recently, we had our first supply to Russia.
“There is a big demand for our goods in the US, but we need to ensure that we have the correct set-up to deal with that marketplace. We currently supply a number of outlets, but it will take us being involved in a trade show in New York to really launch the brand.”
Nutscene now sells into an ever growing market where products are in high demand. Each year, Nutscene exhibits at the Chelsea Flower Show and Shona said it has designed some show-stopping displays. She added: “The one which I particularly enjoyed was our String Vicious display in 2013, when we dressed the stand in full 1970s punk regalia. That got a lot of media attention, and was great publicity for us.”
A further innovation Shona has for the Kingsmuir facility is to have a visitor centre or cafe, where Nutscene could hold craft demonstrations and work with local artisans. Indeed Nutscene receive visitors from all over the world.