l started my own business when l was 18 - a peedie while ago now!!! l was blessed with entrepreneurial parents who brought up their family with a hard work ethic and a confidence that we could succeed in whatever we chose to do with our lives. My twin sister Jane Glue is a very well known watercolour artist, brother Donald runs the family market garden business Wellpark Garden Centre and Gus my oldest brother runs The Oakwood Restaurant outside Inverness at Dochgarroch.
In 1979 l moved into my existing premises opposite St Magnus Cathedral in Broad Street, Kirkwall. It was originally Orkney's first supermarket and had actually been empty for two years previously. My father at the time said l must be crazy to take on such a large shop - but luckily l was young and full of energy and nothing was going to stop me succeeding, which was just the way we had all been brought up.
l then started making my own Orkney Knitwear Designs as l always loved colour and texture and have always been very affected by Orkney's landscape, history and light which l wanted to translate into my designs. l have been lucky over the years to have had a great team of knitters and finishers behind me, but sadly these days they are hard to find and hand made knitwear is a dying art.
A few years later l began selling online and Orkney Hampers was born, now we sell a huge range of what is available in both my Inverness and Orkney shops and online sales are very important to us !
In 1988 my daughter Annie was born and customers may remember when she was very small, sitting in her high chair in the shop quite contently as they looked around. Annie is now a knitwear designer living in Orkney and you can see her collection of accessories here online or in my shops. After opening two shops on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh in the 1990s which proved to be very successful but far too expensive to run ! l decided to concentrate closer to home as by this time my second child Sam was born and l was anxious to spend more time with him.
Later my husband David and l became partners in the business and we both felt the time was right to open our Inverness shop at 15 Bridge Street and two years later we opened our Real Food Cafe in the back of our Orkney shop in 2011 which concentrates on cooking local Orkney produce.
My ethos has always been to support my local community by selling produce that has been made within Orkney and the Highlands and Islands and now over 60% of our business turnover is locally made products. These days with large supermarkets and shopping malls, it's hard to find something that is truly different. l hope that we succeed in doing this while offering our customers original choices that are local, handmade and unique whether it is food, jewellery, textiles, stationery, clothing or gifts.
l very much hope you enjoy looking at our website and manage to visit us in Orkney and Inverness sometime !