Business Gateway helps female jewellery-making business return to Shetland

Karlin Anderson. (Photo: Dave Donaldson @shetlandphotographer)

A SHETLAND-born jewellery designer has successfully relocated her business to the islands and expanded operations, following support from Business Gateway. 

Karlin Anderson has been making bespoke high-end jewellery inspired by the island’s rugged landscape and culture since 1994. Born in Shetland, she moved to Glasgow in 1994 to further her education and then to London in 2004, before founding Karlin Anderson Jewellery Designs in 2008.

In 2019, seeking a better work-life balance, Karlin decided to move back to Shetland. She approached Business Gateway for advice as she juggled running her business full-time in London while seeking a new base for the business back home in Shetland. 

Business Gateway supported her with a range of services; initially, with guidance from her local adviser, Karlin underwent a strategic review to develop her first detailed business plan, setting out plans for growth and projected figures. Guided by this, she applied for the Economic Development grant scheme with Shetland Island Council, which helped cover costs of renovating the workshop and purchasing essential jewellery manufacturing equipment. 

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Karlin was also able to reconnect with like-minded business owners in her local area, thanks to Business Gateway Shetland’s Women in Business Realise Programme. The six-month development programme, specifically tailored to meet the needs of female entrepreneurs, involves 1:1 mentoring as well as peer support, covering topics such as confidence, networking, self-promotion and change-making conversations.

Karlin Anderson said: “Business Gateway was really helpful from the start. Having someone from the local area with such strong expertise and knowledge has really helped in the success of my relocation. It is easy to feel isolated when running your own business, especially in such a rural setting. Having worked in the jewellery district of Hatton Garden in London I had built a strong support network and I wanted to be able to build a similar network here in Shetland. Business Gateway introduced me to the Realise Programme. It’s great to speak to people in a similar position, and to share your struggles with like-minded people.” 

Kirsten Nicolson, Business Gateway Manager, said: “It is rewarding to see how this package of support has shaped Karlin’s journey back to Shetland. Building stronger and supportive relationships with other female entrepreneurs and business owners in Shetland has helped Karlin have honest conversations providing both practical advice as well as increasing confidence in challenging economic times. 

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