James Robertson, Founder, Isle of Skye Candle Company 

Funding boost for Skye Candles to target new markets

While many companies press pause on international expansion plans due to ongoing Brexit uncertainty, the Isle of Skye Candle Company ('Skye Candles') is lighting the way for Highlands and Islands brands with global ambition. The company has five high street stores in Broadford, Edinburgh, Inverness, St Andrews and Glasgow.  

“We don’t want to let the current economic uncertainty slow down our plans for international growth," said James Robertson, Founder of Isle of Skye Candle Company.

"The Brexit Support Grant will enable us to fund trade visits to the USA and Switzerland as we look to significantly grow exports and enter new markets.”  

What challenges does Skye Candles face with Brexit uncertainty? 

Skye Candles sees Brexit as an opportunity for growth and to speed its expansion plans in markets outside the EU. With research showing a significant market for luxury scented goods combined with a high regard for Scottish provenance, Switzerland was identified as a key market for expansion.

And, the company’s existing close links with US supermarket Whole Foods make further American expansion an enticing prospect.

To make this happen, Skye Candles needs financial support towards trade visits to both countries to meet with new distributors who match those ambitions.

Reasons for applying for the grant 

Getting funding for trade visits will help the company expand in new markets.

To meet export demand the company is looking to build a new production facility and visitor centre on Skye. This will create more well-paid jobs in the area and give customers an immersive sensory experience.

Business support from Scotland's enterprise agencies 

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has worked closely with the company as it developed plans to identify and enter new markets. HIE arranged support from marketing students and supplied market intelligence reports on specific foreign markets.

Eilidh Ross, HIE account manager, has been a valuable resource of support for Skye Candles. She says it’s a great example for other companies on how to plan proactively while market conditions remain unclear.

“Skye Candles has big ambitions for its business and is very clear on what it wants to achieve. It has come from a bothy with a wood burning stove to international wholesaling and a network of five stores across Scotland. It's winning awards and creating a special edition scent to help restore Loch Arkaig pine forest along the way," said Eilidh.

“By making the most of the new Brexit Support Grant, it’s staying focused on ways to achieve its growth goals. We can’t wait to see what it does next,” she added.

Need funding and advice to help your business with Brexit planning?

Find out what the Brexit Support Grant can do for you. Read our guidance, terms and conditions and get your application started.