The Credit Crunch and Scotland’s Crafts

Earlier this month we were sad to see one of our long established manufacturers run into trouble. It’s the first of 2009 but probably not the last. The oncoming recession is going to hit Scottish businesses hard but who will be the worst effected?

The last time this country faced a recession many people found themselves being made redundant. In a strange way this created a boom time for small businesses as thousands of people decided to use their redundancy to set out on their own. Many years on some of those small businesses have grown to be quite successful.

This time around the recession is going to hit our sector in different ways – to our mind the worst effected will be those who either have to source raw materials from overseas or those who manufacture abroad. The weak pound has pushed their costs sky high – for years many of the less scrupulous ones have been making a fast buck by passing off overseas goods as Scottish and laughing all the way to the bank with cheap overseas production costs in the developing world… Now the bubble has burst.

The companies who will do well (in our view) will be those who can source local materials – work with other local crafts people and export quality goods to the overseas market. Suddenly Scottish made goods will look very attractive to foreign buyers.

Sadly there will still be some innocent victims; tartan weavers for example who have to import wool because most Scottish wool is not to the standard required. We hope they can sustain their businesses over the next few years and ride this out – at the same time we wont be sorry to see the back of the ‘charlatans’ that permeate this industry.

It’s our view that there is a silver lining to this economic cloud – a resurgence of good quality Scottish made craft that will be sustained for years to come.

About Amanda Moffet

I run with Rodger Moffet. Live in Edinburgh and love travelling around Scotland gathering stories.

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