The Ashire Fire card holder
Ashire has fashioned a unique range of leather-and-textile ‘lifestyle’ accessories, like iPhone and iPad cases, by blending both textiles and nationalities.
“Being a product designer, I have always had an interest in how things are made,” says Ashire MD Scott Bradford. “After working with plastics for so many years, the novelty of working with a beautiful natural material was refreshing, and the possibilities of creating a whole new world of exciting products were being conjured up in my mind.”
This is how he describes the process of starting Ashire, a lifestyle accessory brand he constructed in an effort to marry up his dual lives, in Italy and Scotland.
“All products are handmade using Italian craftsmanship, and are characterised by simplicity, functionality and the finest Scottish textiles,” he says.
So where did this marriage of Italian and Scottish styles come from? Well, Scott’s ambition gives a clear indication: “My dream is to be able to spend 50% of my time in Scotland and 50% of my time in Italy, and the only feasible way to do this was to become my own boss.
“A couple of years ago I was working as an industrial designer in a multi national corporation north of Milan. This journey was coming to an end.
“Having lived in Italy for 5 years, returning to the Scotland wouldn’t be easy; how could I continue without experiencing the 'bella vita'?
“A friend that I had worked with invited me to help her and her business partner build an exhibition stand for their new collection of leather goods at the Mipel leather goods show in Milan in 2014.
“I saw an opportunity to develop a story between Scotland and Italy. Scotland is renowned for its high-quality textiles, marrying this with some of Italy’s finest artisans to create luxury accessories.”
Scott is very confident in this business idea; citing himself as the most unique thing about the idea. Self-funded initially, support from Scottish Enterprise through his local business gateway has furthered his ambitions.
“My family provide a wealth of knowledge and the vast majority of the support,” he says, “and the biggest challenge has been matching my ambitions with the capital available to the company at this time.”
“I have big plans for 2017,” he adds,” and securing additional investment is high on the agenda. I also plan to launch additional colour-ways to the RAMS HEAD collection and develop new product ranges.”
So what are the best and worst things about being a start-up? “The best thing about being a start-up is the feeling of being the underdog, this motivates me and provides the drive I need to undertake the long hours a start-up requires.
“Equally the worst thing about being a start up is not having a day to day workforce to support all of the business activities.”
And the perfect Ashire customer? “Sir Andy Murray would be my dream customer. He is the perfect inspiration to any business on how to deal with failure and become a success - hard graft.”