Ortak reopens former shop in Kirkwall town centre
A jewellery company which is back to manufacturing its products in Orkney will reopen a shop in the town centre today (Friday 8 August).
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is providing a grant of £136,400 to Ortak Jewellery Ltd for the £506,000 project which has created fourteen new jobs initially and has the potential to create further employment in the future.
The new business is led by majority shareholder and Managing Director Michael Gardens, ex-production manager of the former Ortak company, and Alison Firth, a finance professional from Castletown.
Earlier this year it was announced that Ortak had gone into administration and manufacturing ceased at the Hatston factory with redundancies made as the company was wound down as a buyer could not be found for the company as a whole.
The new partners purchased the brand, including the intellectual property rights, as well as the original designs and patterns of the jewellery moulds and drawings.
Production is being carried out at a former dental surgery on Great Western Road, Kirkwall which has been adapted to provide the necessary workstations.
HIE’s Account Manager for the business, Francesca Couperwhite, said: “This project re-launches the iconic Ortak brand and retains its strong links to Orkney which will provide a significant boost to the sector and will help to maintain the islands’ place in Scotland’s internationally renowned creative industries sector. The former Ortak business was a significant player within the UK jewellery sector and this will provide the new company an established market.
Minister for Enterprise Mr Fergus Ewing said: “Scotland has produced many recognised and respected brands across a range of sectors. Ortak jewellery is a great example of a hard working Scottish business. It is great news that Ortak is manufacturing again in Orkney and will reopen their Orkney store. This will be a great boost for the local economy.”
The traditional inspired Ortak branded products that the new company intend to focus on are distinctive in nature and the vast majority of sales will be through well-established wholesale channels in the UK and via the internet to international clients.
Other Orkney based jewellers are keen that the new company will continue to offer a design, moulding, waxing, casting as well as a finishing service as previously provided by the former Ortak business.
Michael Gardens, said: “It is exciting taking over the new Ortak business and being able to retain the brand in Orkney. It is very important to be able to keep some of the employees from the old business who have the necessary skills and experience and who will be vital in bringing forward the business. Everyone involved is excited about the opening of the former Ortak shop in the Kirkwall town centre.”
- Alison Firth