Gillian Kyle was funded by PSYBT in 2009 and now sells her quirky Scottish items in Scotland and further afield, catering to the Scottish diaspora who want that little piece of Scotland in their home. As a textile designer, Gillian’s main passion is working with textiles and the core range consists of organic aprons, tea towels, tote bags and t-shirts.
She recently featured in PSYBT’s Top 100 businesses, demonstrating just how much this small company has achieved in a short period of time.
We caught up with GK at what is a busy time for her, on the run up to Mother’s Day, and found out the key to her success.
- What makes your gifts different and unique?
My work is an affectionate snapshot of Scottish culture and a nod to the emotions we all seem to have attached to certain unassuming brands – Tunnocks Teacakes, Irn Bru and Creamola Foam for example. There’s an element of humour in these designs, and yet it’s not the usual, self-deprecating or completely clichéd perspective of Scottish culture that’s been forced upon us in the past. Our decision to produce the products locally and to use organic cotton, ensures that everything we make is very high quality and we’re finding that the ‘Made in Britain’ label is something people really react to and want to support.
- Who buys your products, do you have a ‘typical customer’?
The Gillian Kyle demographic is spread pretty widely across the ages – people who buy Gillian Kyle products are looking for a Scottish gift that‘s quirky and that’s going to last. I think that as a nation, we are definitely jaded with the “tartan tat” that we see plastered on the Royal Mile, and yet, as a patriotic bunch we do love products that strike the right balance and remind us of home! There’s some magic behind the brands that we’ve celebrated so far – they have such a strong nostalgic and emotional pull on the heart strings of Scots. This is a phenomenon that appears to get stronger the further Scots are away from the homeland – so ex-pats are an ideal market for GK products!
- How have you diversified your products over the years?
The beauty of all of these product types is that they are all lightweight and can be sent abroad easily and cheaply, which makes them perfect gifts for Scots abroad. The popularity of the kitchen textiles encouraged us to bring out a range of fine bone china mugs and matching coasters, which are now best sellers as gifts for either men or women. We brought out our range of baby items, due to high demand at markets and on social media, and they’ve been hugely popular as gifts for Scottish babies & children growing up outside of Scotland – wee badges of identity!
Gillian Kyle products have been flying off the shelves on the run up to Mother’s Day so if you haven’t bought mum anything yet, check out Gillian’s products http://www.gilliankyle.com/ also available in stores across the country.