TEN textile companies have come together to solve a problem that has plagued the industry for years – what to do with their leftover yarn.
The firms, mainly from Galashiels and Hawick, hope to save tens of thousands of pounds a year by buying and selling their excess materials among themselves via their new Yarn Exchange.
Members of the public can also buy yarn through the exchange, which was launched by the South of Scotland Creative Cluster, an initiative set up by Scottish Borders Council and Business Gateway with European Regional Development Fund cash.
Hugh Williams, the cluster’s co-ordinator, said: “Sometimes companies will only need 5kg of a material, like cashmere, but they have to buy it in 20kg or 25kg bundles. Some firms will make the excess material into hats and scarves, but that still involves production costs.
“The exchange will help to move yarn on more quickly and free up cash.”
Companies taking part in the scheme include Caerlee Mills, Eribé Knitwear and Johnstons of Elgin.
Eribé founder Rosemary Eribé said: “It’s great to see the companies working together. It will be through co-operation that we can keep this centuries-old industry alive.”
Federation of Small Businesses spokesman Stuart Mackinnon said: “Other sectors could take inspiration from this, but individual businesses may not be used to collaborating with competitors. However, we know spiralling overheads mean firms are exploring all sorts of options.”