Gaun Yersel’ Hen! (Go for it, girl!)
Since Mhairi Mackenzie’s crowdfunding campaign closed successfully in June, her business, Bonnie Bling, has gone from strength to strength; increasing production, introducing new ranges, moving premises, recruiting staff and bringing on board a private investor.
It’s been a whirlwind of activity since she decided to ask the crowd for £7.5k to buy a laser cutter, to enable her to manufacture in Scotland and also to be able to respond to demand more quickly.
60 days and a lot of hard work – tweeting, Facebooking, writing press releases, speaking to colleagues and friends – later, Mhairi had crowdfunded £8,130. It was more than she’d asked for and it meant she could buy an even better machine than the one she originally had her eye on.
But it also meant other changes for the business. Originally Bonnie Bling – which designed and created quirky jewellery using slang and regional dialect words - was a part-time venture for Mhairi but she had her eye on bigger things, not least of all collaborations with some major UK companies and plans to roll out the range to different locations, including London, Wales, Yorkshire, the Highlands, and even New Zealand, Australia, America and beyond.
At the time Mhairi said: “I want to keep our business as a UK one, I don't want to have to outsource our manufacturing to another country. I want to create and keep jobs right here in Scotland and the UK, purchasing a desktop laser machine is the first step in enabling this to happen.
“With the collaborations and enquiries coming thick and fast we have the potential to create around 3-5 full time jobs within a year, with our manufacturing capacity increased this could double in year two. It is a very exciting prospect and one that I hope you'll decide to support.”
Well that has all now come true. Bonnie Bling HQ is now located in Mhairi’s hometown of Rothesay on the Isle of Bute. New premises are behind the scenes at Bute’s cool collective of local products, Brandish Bute (so manufacturing is remaining in Scotland).
And she has secured a private investor, in addition to the crowdfunding campaign, which has enabled Mhairi to work on the business full time and employe three part time staff (meeting the employment goals for herself and for others).
It’s been an incredibly busy time for Mhairi, and now she’s working on exciting new collections and collaborations in the run up to Christmas as well as working on an ASOS outlet.
She hasn’t forgotton those who gave her business the opportunity to become independent. She’s finalising plans for the Laser Party, promised to her crowdfunding backers, complete with new designs, a neon frenzy of entertainment and a fashion showcase featuring pieces from the new Autumn Winter collection.
If you want to listen to Mhairi talk about her crowdfunding success story, you can join us at Social Media Week Glasgow. Register here for the event on Thursday, September 27 2012 #SMWCrowdfunding