Scottish candle business recognised for retailing prowess

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Isle of Skye Candle Company is among the 14 most innovative independent stores in the UK revealed in a campaign called ‘Remarkable Retailers’.

The campaign organised by Vend and the British Independent Retail Association (Bira) aims to champion success stories and underline 14 outstanding contributions to local high streets.

Handpicked from a long list of over 1,000 independent stores, the Isle of Skye’s environmental approach to retail impressed Vend and Bira. James Robertson founded the candle business in 2006 on Skye, making his first batch of candles in his uncle’s croft – a building with a grass roof and a wood burning stove.

Robertson’s business caught alight with the first store opening on the island in 2011 and there are now outlets in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness and St. Andrews. All products are inspired by the natural world and beauty of their island home. This theme runs throughout the business’ activity, for example; £1 is given to the Woodland Trust’s ‘save the Loch Arkaig Pine Forest’ initiative with the sale of every Scots Pine candle.

Vend and Bira handpicked the independent stores for their stand-out approach to retail – whether that be a unique approach to the customer experience, their products or the way that they use technology.

James Robertson said: “The Isle of Skye is an independent brand with our passion firmly placed in a respect for the environment. Our candle scents are inspired by nature and the great outdoors, giving visitors a little piece of Scotland to take back to their homes. We also offer loyalty points to customers in return for bringing back their used products so we can clean, refill them and then sell again.

“We’re proud to be recognised for our innovative approach to retail, as we know that our customers appreciate the consideration for our environmental footprint. Clever stock management with the help of technology has a big role in this, as it helps us to keep track of best-selling items and produce only what is in demand.”

Higor Torchia, UK Country Manager at Vend said: “These Remarkable Retailers differentiate themselves by their unique products and customer experiences, but are united by their innovative use of retail technology to support their success.

“Each retailer’s use of cloud-based software allows them to manage inventory on-the-go, as well as run clever reporting analytics that gain insight on customer loyalty and what’s selling well. It means the retailers have more time to focus on creating winning formulas to ensure that local high streets can thrive.”

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