USA 'an enigma' says Harris Tweed company chairman
Published: 29th Dec 2009 11:52:28
A boss at Harris Tweed Hebrides has described the US market as "puzzling" after selling little fabric to what should be its biggest importer.
Chairman Brian Wilson said tweed had a good reputation in America and hoped its profile could be raised further.
In September, the firm denied "de-Scottishifying" amid fears of a backlash over the release of the Lockerbie bomber.
The company produced 90% of last year's total production of Harris Tweed.
It has set targets of expanding sales in the US, Russia and India during 2010.
Award-winning Harris Tweed Hebrides will showcase its product at trade events in each of the three countries, starting in New York next week.
Mr Wilson said the company's first full year of production had been a "fantastic" success.
He said: "We have a profitable business, producing top quality Harris Tweed all year round without the seasonal lay-offs long associated with the industry.
"We are exporting to over 50 countries and the prospects for 2010 are very encouraging. However, we must always look for new challenges and it is clear to us that these three markets offer priority opportunities for expansion."
Mr Wilson added: "The USA is an enigma. Historically, it was by far the biggest market for Harris Tweed but we are selling relatively little there."
The former Labour government minister said the company would try to understand the American market better in 2010 and aim to raise awareness to it.
In September, chief executive Ian Mackenzie denied Harris Tweed Hebrides was "de-Scottishifying" amid fears of a negative reaction in the US over the Scottish government's decision to allow Abdelbaset al-Megrahi to return to Libya.
Al-Megrahi was convicted of carrying out the bombing of an American airliner in 1988, which killed 270 people.
Harris Tweed Hebrides' creative director Mark Hogarth was quoted in newspapers saying the company was no longer promoting itself as Scottish.
But Mr Mackenzie said Harris Tweed was a "Scottish icon" and dropping the word Scottish from use had never been up for consideration.
Harris Tweed Hebrides has said it plans during 2010 to expand on orders from Russia and India.
It also proposes to launch a website featuring collaborations with designers such as Graven Images, Deryck Walker and Judy R Clark.
A range of bags by Brazilian designer Juliana Lawson is already available online.
In 2009, the company secured a major order to provide fabric for a new five-star hotel in Glasgow.
It also won textile brand of the year at the Scottish Fashion Awards and outstanding contribution to style at the Scottish Style Awards.
At 13:02:58 in SportJersey Scottish beat St. Ouen 6-1 at Springfield to retain the Wheway Cup.
At 13:02:53 in EnglandA new Banksy artwork which was removed from a building within hours of being found could be sold at auction - says the youth club leader who took it.
At 12:55:49 in ScotlandThe Scottish Conservatives have said radical changes are needed to Scottish schools to help youngsters from poorer families get to university.
At 12:53:35 in Northern IrelandPolice investigating the murder of a pizza delivery driver in Belfast last year have arrested a 58-year-old man in connection with the killing.
At 12:50:38 in SportDay four report to follow at the close of play.
At 12:49:55 in SportDay four report to follow at the close of play.
At 12:48:10 in SportDay four report to follow.
At 12:47:31 in SportGillingham midfielder Bradley Dack has signed a new long-term deal with the League One club.
At 12:45:43 in WalesAn artist is looking for people to donate 250 spanners for an artwork that is destined to adorn a mid Wales town.
At 12:45:01 in SportDay four report to follow.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2009. USA 'an enigma' says Harris Tweed company chairman [Online] (Updated 29th Dec 2009)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/7398/USA-an-enigma-says-Harris-Tweed-company-chairman [Accessed 16th Apr 2014]
News In Other Categories
India's Supreme Court has asked the cricket board to investigate the role of a top cricket official and 12 others in spot-fixing and illegal betting in the Indian Premier League.
The Scottish Conservatives have said radical changes are needed to Scottish schools to help youngsters from poorer families get to university.
MtGox, once the world's biggest Bitcoin exchange, has been placed in administration by a Japanese court.
The ebb and flow of men's beard fashions may be guided by Darwinian selection, according to a new study.
Rock musician Paul Weller has won £10,000 damages after the Mail Online published pictures of his children.
Police investigating the murder of a pizza delivery driver in Belfast last year have arrested a 58-year-old man in connection with the killing.