Celebrating 25 years by building for the future

March 11, 2014

Skyeskyns has grown steadily over the past 25 years and the pressure to expand facilities to meet demand has grown, yet in the context of the current economic climate it might seem a surprising time to commit ourselves to what is for a small family business, a substantial development. However, we do so with confidence for several reasons which may be relevant to the wider community.

We are very pleased with the building project itself. The design brief, with significant contribution from our daughter Jessica who has joined us as Development Manager, was given to Ben Wear. The design team aim was to re-create the building so as sit within and work with the landscape. Also, the new extension doubles the showroom display area, allowing increasing emphasis on ideas for homes and interior design, with room for the larger impact fleeces including our new exclusive line of mosaics. Our fashion and clothing lines are also being developed. Extra space on the ground floor improves staff facilities, creates more storage for finished products, a large sewing workshop and two new offices. The car park has been extended and the grounds landscaped.
A special appreciation to Donald MacLachlan, stone mason extraordinaire, who built, out of stones from the old neighbouring Waternish House, our dry stane wall and curly cairn. An example, like tanning, of another ancient traditional craft. For the curious and those of a mathematical persuasion, the cairn is based upon the Fibonacci number sequence and the golden rectangle, the shape of the slab of engraved black granite it holds. The rectangle also transforms geometrically into the natural growth spiral of the coiling wall, like the horns of the ram in our logo. And if you’ve sailed in Norway, you may even recognise a Viking varda as you approach our new entrance!

We hope that all our visitors will continue to find a visit to us interesting and rewarding. All are assured of the warmest welcome and we are setting up a loyalty discount scheme to show our appreciation of our regular customers.

I’d particularly like to thank Caryl, Denise, Glynis, Janice, Jess, Louise, Lydia, Pete, Sarah, and Thelma for welcoming our visitors at front of house when there was monumental upheaval going on around them during the building works. Many entries on our guest book bear testimony to the great team we have here.

We see ourselves as an integral part of Visit Waternish, our group of local businesses which understands that by working together we are so much the stronger; and that one must have confidence in ourselves as a strong alliance to provide a future for the next generation within a mutually supportive community proud of its culture and traditions. From such an environment it becomes natural to welcome visitors to see what we do, to offer them an interesting experience along with quality products and services. If they leave our area respecting what we do, speaking well of us and wishing to return we have succeeded in our aim.

We believe that now in the Highlands and Islands, at a time of national economic uncertainty, we should continue to invest in improving the quality of what we offer. This is made easier if we understand that the modern discriminating tourist may well increasingly choose our part of the world as a better, greener alternative to globe trotting and respond enthusiastically to warm Highland welcomes, high quality products and services, and this beautiful area in which we are privileged to live and work together.

Clive Hartwell
September 2008