Case Studies

Independent fashion designer launches first product

An Edinburgh-based designer has successfully launched a new product to the market after accessing support from Business Gateway.

About the business

Founded by Lisa Rolland, KTSU specialises in designing practical stylish women’s shoe bags. After she spotted a gap in the market for women who wished to travel in flats and then put on their party shoes at their destination, Lisa felt inspired to design her own range of shoe bags. Made from quality faux leather, with a velvet lining, available in five colourways and four styling options, the KTSU is a bag that traverses from day to night.

At times I wondered if I should even launch, but I knew I had to keep going and through Business Gateway I was able to meet a community of women-led businesses.

How Business Gateway has helped

Lisa approached Business Gateway with her idea and worked with her dedicated adviser to develop her concept into a prototype in 2019. Her initial profile of customers were women walking to work and Lisa intended to sell her bags at fairs and pop-ups. However, during the pandemic, Lisa adapted her brand and business approach.

With the help of her dedicated 1:1 Business Gateway adviser, KTSU underwent a strategic review and developed a cohesive marketing strategy to drive the business forward. Lisa also received market research reports from Business Gateway’s free research service, which supplies up-to-date, reliable data. Following years of hard work, research and prototype development, the KTSU bag launched in 2021.

KTSU also accessed DigitalBoost support, Scotland’s national digital upskilling programme delivered by Business Gateway. Her package of support included access to digital webinars and 1:1 support from an adviser who reviewed her website and provided support as she built and launched an online shop. This has helped Lisa reach customers online.

She was also accepted for the Women in Business Growth Programme, a scheme in Edinburgh that helps women take their business to the next level by focusing on scale-up skills such as leadership strategy, presenting for investors and exploring new markets.

Lisa Rolland, owner of KTSU, said, “At times I wondered if I should even launch, but I knew I had to keep going and through Business Gateway I was able to meet a community of women-led businesses. These connections, and my adviser have encouraged me and bolstered my confidence as I went about starting up KTSU.

“My business is now growing and my product is stocked in shops and online. I also feel it is vital to support other women who want to pursue a great idea, so 10% of my profits go towards funding and mentoring women who have lived through tough times and need support launching their own business.”  

Support Provided

1:1 Business Adviser/Support

Market Research Reports

Specialist Support

DigitalBoost 1:1 Support

DigitalBoost Health Check

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