A Scottish twine-making company is planning to push into Canada in 2014 as well as searching out new distributors in the US.

Nutscene traces its roots to the jute making industry in Dundee, but is now based just outside Forfar. The company, which employs 10 people, already exports to more than 30 countries with Japan currently its biggest market. The garden twine Nutscene produces is also being increasingly used as a craft material. It is stocked in high end outlets such as Anthropologie and the Conran Shop in London as well as hundreds of garden centres across the UK and the hobbycraft chain.

Director Shona Young, who runs Nutscene with Laura Clark and James Lever, said the business had drawn up further interna- tional growth plans for 2014, with the US and Canada forming the main strands of the strategy. Nutscene already supplies homeware retailers such as Williams Sonoma and Crate and Barrel in the US but Ms Young is keen to do more. 

Ms Young said:

“One market we are looking to get into is Canada. We have a few people following us now and getting in touch to ask about stockists. Some of the customers we supply in America are very high end so it has sat the product in a unique place. From that more and more business has developed as people see it in a Williams Sonoma store or whatever, and then want to find out more about it.”

Ms Young confirmed that the company expected to attend a major US trade show in Las Vegas in May, in an effort to find more retail and distribution partners.

She said:

“I want to find mainstream distributors in these countries as I know we could do a lot more business if we had the right partners in place. It is not cost effective to send goods to the States but there is a demand for it. So we just need to find the distributors in the right areas.”

The company has benefitted from export advice from Enterprise and Business Gateway.

John McQueston from the agency said:

“Our main support and advice has been regarding exporting and international sales, which have been steadily growing over the past few years. We pointed them towards an international strategy workshop with Scottish Development International (SDI) and have provided advice on how to attract visi- tors to the company website.”

Nutscene, which still makes its twine on original machinery dating from 1922, had a turnover of around £550,000 in its most recent financial year to March 31, 2013. Ms Young, who has worked at the company for 25 years, said the business was ahead year-on-year at the moment. The firm also sells a traditional clothes pulley, bird feeders, and towel rails.


Originally featured in The Herald Business Supplement, on Thursday January 2nd 2014.

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