A whisky shop based on the Isle of Lewis has successfully adapted to lockdown with the launch of a new delivery service and the introduction of enhanced online services for customers, with help from Business Gateway.
Founded by Iain Faller, The Island Spirit Whisky Shop offers customers a selection of high-quality Scotch malt whiskies, Scottish artisan gins and other fine spirits. While initially due to move into new premises in April 2020, Iain adapted his business in response to Covid-19 with the launch of a delivery service available across the Outer Hebrides and mainland Scotland.
This has been accompanied by a series of virtual tasting sessions, in collaboration with Larkfire who provide Hebridean wild water for whisky. Using connections with local organisations met through Business Gateway, The Island Spirit Whisky Shop sourced and delivered a variety of spirits to create a successful virtual tasting experience for 30 customers.
Prior to the pandemic, Iain attended a number of Business Gateway and DigitalBoost workshops, which equipped him with the skills he needed to use social media as a marketing tool to raise awareness of his business and its service.
Iain also accessed a variety of business start-up services over the last two years which have been instrumental in keeping the business stable during the Covid-19 pandemic. This included one-to-one business support, advice on his business plan and a successful grant application to the Outer Hebrides Young Entrepreneurs Start Up Scheme (Plus) (OHYESS+). The OHYESS+ scheme provides support to new businesses and is funded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise and delivered by Business Gateway Outer Hebrides.
Iain Faller, owner and founder of The Island Spirit Whisky Shop, said: “I had always dreamt of turning my hobby of collecting whiskies into a business, and after attending twenty Business Gateway workshops, I finally took the plunge.
“While I was not anticipating the current situation, the skills I gained from attending Business Gateway workshops equipped me with the confidence to diversify and utilise social media to advertise and market our business, without having the presence of our high street shop. I have been overwhelmed with the support and encouragement I have received from the local community and other local businesses.
“The business support grant we applied for has helped keep the business on track with our original plan and prevented us from spending money allocated for stock purposes. Meanwhile, the valuable networking opportunities have led to collaborations with other local businesses, we have adapted our operations over the last few weeks to offer our customers a virtual tasting experience in their own homes. I can’t thank Business Gateway enough.”
Derek Maclean, Business Adviser, Business Gateway said: “Over the past two years Iain has been able to take advantage of a wide variety of services which we offer and it is always rewarding to see someone take the leap and start their own business.
“While the ongoing circumstances are not what anyone could have predicted, it has been brilliant to see how Iain has adapted, with the successful launch of his new service and I look forward to when Iain can open his shop so that customers can enjoy the experience he offers.”
For support and advice on critical business issues during the pandemic visit the Business Gateway dedicated Coronavirus Hub which is updated with new information daily.