Gem of a business continues to grow

When Bryony Grant and Paul Matthews met as teenagers while working weekend jobs at a local jewellers in Broadford, they never imagined that 15 years later they would be engaged and owning the shop they met in. BQ found out how they were getting on since going into business.

Love From Skye opened in 2013 and is doing so well that Bryony and Paul have taken on their first full-time member of staff who will be trained in jewellery making from their onsite workshop.

Supported by Business Gateway Skye and Lochalsh, Bryony and Paul not only create and sell their own range of jewellery, but also source jewellery and gifts from all over Scotland.

Bryony said: “We’ve just taken on our first member of staff, Tristan, who joined us full time as soon as he had turned 16 and finished his exams.

“Paul is training him in the workshop and we’re hopeful that a jewellery apprenticeship will become available soon which we will enroll him on. We’re keen to provide him with the best possible training we can as both Paul and I benefitted from training whilst working in the jewellers as teenagers.

“Before going our separate ways for a few years, Paul was fully trained in jewellery making and I learned many skills including sales, customer service, creating displays and buying.”  

The business, based on the Main Street in Broadford, benefits from its own workshop where Paul spends most of his time creating the Love From Skye range of jewellery, doing repair work and fulfilling bespoke orders. With a busy order book from visitors and the local community, however, the couple are looking to grow their business further.

Bryony added: “The response we’ve had has been amazing and as well as visitors to the island liking what we are doing, the support from the local community has been fantastic.

“That has really made the difference to year-round trade as winters here can be long and quiet. This support will mean we can make plans to grow including take on more staff and we may even have to increase our retail space to accommodate this.”

With plans to also grow their exclusive collection, Bryony and Paul are investing in their website at www.lovefromskye.co.uk to improve their e-commerce capabilities.

She said: “We were sad when the owners told us in 2013 that the shop was to close. It held so many memories, and both Paul and I were both back working there after going our separate ways to study and travel.

“After discussing it between ourselves and customers, however, we were confident that if we did things a bit differently we could make it a success – so we decided to start up our own business.

“Business Gateway have been such a help to us – not only when we were starting up, but even now as we are growing.

“We were given valuable advice and help with our business plan which allowed us to apply for a Prince’s Trust start-up loan. Recently, we have benefitted from support from our Business Gateway Recruitment Adviser.

“We never thought we would take on staff this soon but demand has meant we need to. Without Business Gateway and The Prince’s Trust we would have been totally lost as although we have lots of experience of the jewellery trade, the business side is new to us.”

Emma Lawson, Business Gateway Recruitment Adviser for Skye and Lochalsh, said: “It is fantastic that Paul and Bryony are able to give another teenager from Skye the opportunity to get the sorts of training they themselves received when they were Tristan’s age.

“Their experience at the jewellers evidently stood them in great stead for running a successful business, and it’s brilliant that they can now ‘pay it forward’.

“Creating skilled jobs in remote communities like Skye is so important, and we were really pleased to help Bryony and Paul achieve this by assisting with job descriptions, staff policies, employment legislation and finding funding assistance for the post. They are now in a strong position to take on more staff when the time comes and we will be only too happy to help.”