Case Studies

Shetland food producer sees sales heat up by over 500%

Whalsay Made, a Sheltand-based food producer is anticipating significant growth after reporting a 538% sales increase since April last year, following support from Business Gateway.

About the business

Based on the Isle of Whalsay in Shetland, Whalsay Made produces homemade preserves, chutneys and sauces including sweet chilli sauce, gin and lime marmalade and carrot marmalade.

The workshops and webinars I attended prior to lockdown ensured I was able to adapt quickly with the launch of a delivery service while the DigitalBoost programme has meant I can see the business case for using social media platforms.

How Business Gateway has helped

Before initially launching Whalsay Made, owner Donna Polson attended a two-day course on running a business held by Business Gateway. Following this, Business Gateway introduced her to several owners of local delis who were interested in stocking her products while her adviser reviewed her business plan, gave advice on company regulations, and provided marketing support. Initially a small operation providing products directly to those in the local area, Donna is now in a position to scale up her offering.

During lockdown, Donna worked with Business Gateway as she adapted her business to the pandemic and introduced a delivery service. This has led to significant demand for products such as rhubarb and ginger jam and beetroot chutney Products have also been included in a number of gift sets and Father’s Day Hampers that were put together by local suppliers based in Shetland.

Donna also received support from DigitalBoost, Scotland’s national digital skills training programme, and is in the process of upgrading her website to allow for an virtual shop in direct response to customer demand for online shopping.

Donna said: “The workshops and webinars I attended prior to lockdown ensured I was able to adapt quickly to lockdown with the launch of a delivery service while the DigitalBoost programme has meant I can see the business case for using social media platforms.

“This growth has meant I can think about expanding my business. I hope to soon take on my first employee to support with orders and deliveries and I’m continuing to work with Business Gateway to apply for funding that will allow me to build a bespoke space for my business.

Support Provided

1:1 Business Support

Advice on a Business Plan

Advice on Finance

Advice on Marketing

Workshops & Webinars

DigitalBoost Support

What’s next?

Donna is working with Business Gateway to identify funding opportunities to allow for the construction of new business premises close to her house. This will enable the growth of Whalsay Made, which is currently run out of Donna’s kitchen following approval by the Shetland Islands Council Environmental Health Department.

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