Combining her love of Harris Tweed with her passion for golf has provided Mairead Hume with a business that has already caught the eye of several top golfers – and is set to take New York by storm.
The Mairead Hume Harris Tweed Golf Collection was launched last year by the 52 year-old, from Dunblane, who, thanks to working for a leading golf tour operator, spotted a gap in the market for a luxury golf accessories business.
The products, which include a club head cover, golf shoe bag, tee bag and trolley hand warmer, are all handmade in Harris Tweed and already hang from the golf bags of top European Tour players like Beth Allan and Sally Watson.
Now, Mairead, who has tapped into advice form Business Gateway Stirling, is in advanced talks with a number of world leading golf courses looking to stock her luxury collection including Trump Turnberry, Trump International and Kingsbarns Golf Links. She also aims to break into the American market this summer with help from a Scottish golf lover living in NYC.
She said: “The reaction to the products has been phenomenal, and the golf pros who use them love the fact they’ve got a little bit of ‘Scotland’ with them wherever they are competing. It’s taken months of hard work to get to where I am now as I am juggling running my own business whilst still working full time. It really has been a game of perseverance – I am an unknown trying to get shelf space alongside world famous brands. Now I am starting to see that hard work pay off and am hopeful that my products will be in Turnberry by July.”
She added: “Recent trade trips to China and Slovenia opened my eyes to the possibility of exporting, with America the first overseas market I want to tap into. I’ve already had quite a few orders from the US via my website and have just agreed to work with a rep in New York City who is going to test the market for me. She’s a Scot who is well connected in the golf scene in the city so it’s a very exciting opportunity.”
Late to the game of golf, Mairead didn’t swing a club until 10 years ago after she realised working for a leading golf tour operator paved the way for her to play some of the world’s top courses. It was over that period that she noticed a gap in the market for a truly Scottish golf accessory.
After undertaking market research with tour clients, she decided to stitch her first product and approached Business Gateway with her idea of launching an accessories brand that would showcase two of Scotland’s finest assets – Harris Tweed and golf.
“There is a natural synergy between Harris Tweed and golf, both are traditional and uniquely Scottish. I made a shoe bag and took it to my adviser who said my idea was good but that I’d need to make a full range to make it viable,” she said. “It took me two months to design the range and I realised I would need help to do all the sewing so found two fantastic tailors in Stirling who I now work with.”
She added: “My adviser has always been there for me whenever I need support, linking me to whoever I need to get in touch with at that particular time. The IT support helped me ensure my website was the best it could be, as a luxury brand needs a stunning online presence. Now that interest is soaring my adviser had helped me look into trading marking and protecting my ideas which has been of great help.”
Sandy Slater, Business Gateway said: “Mairead already has her products stocked in Castle Stuart Golf Links pro shop, at Archerfield Walled garden shop and in St Andrews Golf Company shop right next to the Old Course in St Andrews in time for The Open this summer. Having ran a number of second businesses in the past, she understands that establishing a luxury brand takes time and a lot of effort, so what she has achieved in just over a year is impressive. She came to us with an idea and with our help she developed her offering, making sure everything was in place to attract the right customer. Once her product is stocked in Turnberry it will open a lot of doors for her, and we will continue to provide support which will help her business fulfil its potential, both here and abroad.”
The Harris Tweed Collection come in a vast array of colours and can be personalised for corporate and personal gifts. To buy online visit: http://maireadhume.com
Business Gateway Stirling www.bgateway.com/stirling