Highlandwear hire firm and kilt maker secures lifeline Covid funding
The pandemic has forced the business to diversify its ways of working in the face of temporary store closures and wedding postponements. The past 11 months have seen its 84-strong workforce adapt to conduct virtual consultations and lead Covid-secure fittings in store, where restrictions have allowed.
The coronavirus funding secured through Royal Bank of Scotland has assisted the firm in updating its marketing strategy and incorporating new ways of working into its business plan, allowing it to service its customer base globally.
In addition, the financial backing will support with staff retention and re-training, and further ensures the continued operation of the firm’s Tillicoultry factory, Daiglen of Scotland.
Iain Hawthorne, who took over the business nearly 40 years ago, has expanded it from modest beginnings as an independent store. He works closely with his wife, family, and a “tight-knit” management team, who have provided support and advice on how to modernise its business offerings.
Hawthorne, owner and managing director of McCalls, said: “Coronavirus brought with it a number of difficulties, but our resilient team have been fantastic in adapting to new ways of working, to ensure our operations can continue.
“Thankfully, we have been able to move 90 per cent of Covid affected bookings to new dates due to their hard work. Our most valuable asset is our staff, and the funding has supported us in retaining their expertise. As a result, we are even more optimistic for the future.”
Carol Gray, senior relationship manager at Royal Bank of Scotland, added: “The wedding industry and its suppliers have been particularly affected by necessary pandemic restrictions, so CBILS [Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme] funding has been essential in supporting this industry stalwart to adapt. We’re looking forward to witnessing their continued growth in the coming months.”
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