Scots maker of handmade whisky angels glassware celebrates bumper Asian order

Stirling firm Angels’ Share Glass is cheering a £500,000 order to supply its whisky-based gifts to duty free outlets across Asia, providing work for the next three years and beyond.

The business has signed a three-year deal with Chinese importer Hainan Silverwing International to produce its giftware range, including the signature line of whisky-filled angels, for the vast Asian market. The handmade gifts will be sold in World Duty Free shops at Asian airports from October.

The agreement is the largest order to date for the family firm which marks its tenth anniversary next year.

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Managing director Karen Somerville said: “This is a massive order for us and a fantastic opportunity which will secure our future for the next three years and beyond.

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“It’s amazing to think that our whisky angels and other gifts will be sold in airports across China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand and many more Asian countries.

“We had actually been focusing on North America this year following a successful trade mission to New York which led to a large order from a high-profile Manhattan hospitality venue.

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“We also recently shipped some of our giftware to Japan following the virtual ‘Discover Scotland’ showcase but China wasn’t on our radar at all and the order was an unexpected bonus after a Scottish customer recommended us to their importer, Bardinet Group Europe, who initially contacted us.”

The deal has been welcomed by Scotland’s international trade and investment agency, Scottish Development International (SDI), which supports the international growth of companies in Scotland.

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Angels’ Share Glass was launched by Karen Somerville and her father, master glassblower Tom Young MBE, in April 2013.

Laura Suarez, Scotland manager for the consumer lifestyle sector at SDI, said: “Scottish exporters have demonstrated enormous resilience over the past few years and it’s great to see Angels’ Share’s commitment to international market development paying off with the signing of its largest international order to date.

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“The company’s agile approach has allowed it to capitalise on a significant opportunity in Asia and, thanks to our trade and in-market specialists, we were able to quickly connect them to the right support to get this project over the line.

“This deal is further evidence of the growing global demand for Scottish home, gift and lifestyle products and SDI - together with our partners - will continue to assist ambitious Scottish companies like Angels’ Share Glass to scale up and grow through international trade.”

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The company will now increase production by extending the hours of its glassmakers who work in its state-of-the-art Bridge of Allan studio and at independent glassmaking workshops across Scotland.

The business has also employed a Chinese student from the University of Stirling to focus on ensuring the gift labelling is accurate and establishing the firm on top Chinese social media channels.

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Angels’ Share Glass was launched by Somerville and her father, master glassblower Tom Young, in April 2013.

Somerville added: “The import agreement will give us much more global reach but is not without its challenges such as hugely upscaling production during what is already a traditionally busy time for us as existing customers place large orders for the festive season.”

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