05 November 2015
Almost 100 years ago, a Dundee business called Nutscene installed machinery and began manufacturing green garden twine from jute.
The company got its name because the twine was invisible when used on a plant – it was “nut scene”.
Today, the same machines are still producing the classic product beloved of gardeners everywhere and the twine still blends into the foliage.
However, the use of antique winding machinery is just about the only historic thing about this forward-looking and innovative company that exports to 23 countries and constantly updates its offering. Looking for new markets around the world and innovation has ensured Nutscene’s future success.
Taking the first step
When Nutscene CEO Shona Young joined the company, around 20 years ago, exporting was not a main focus. At that time, they were producing twines for most of the “big players in the UK market”.
But she said: “The export side started to pick up when we started to lose business because of imports from China that we couldn’t compete with.”
So the company focused on building business overseas that put them in a strong position when the recession hit. She added: “We were fortunate during that period that exports were thriving for us. That saved our bacon during a very difficult period.”
Expanding their product range
Now Nutscene, under Shona’s guidance, has expanded its range to include high-quality giftware for gardeners and other practical household items. Innovative products, such as the iconic “Tin O’ Twine™” and the award-winning “The Snippet Twine Dolly™” joined the range.
Shona is happy to share what she has learned while exploring new markets. She suggests that Ireland is a one of the simplest countries to export to, in terms of geography and ease of trade. She said: “Ireland’s a market that a lot of people don’t consider to be an export market, but it is and it’s a way to start putting your toe in the water.”
The importance of belief
The support we got was absolutely necessary for us to get involved with the export market. It was important to our success.
Shona Young, CEO, Nutscene
Being passionate about your business is important, according to Shona. “Believe in your product – if you believe in your product, you can tell your story. People will buy into that.”
And Shona’s belief is visible in the meticulous attention to detail. All of Nutscene’s products and marketing materials are in line with what the brand stands for and of the highest quality.
Nutscene was helped on their international journey by assistance from Scottish Enterprise. “The support we got was absolutely necessary for us to get involved with the export market. It was important to our success,” Shona added.