Recently we have been trying to expand our selection of stockists throughout Scotland as it has been a few years since we were able to undergo a Scottish trade trip due to Covid-19. As everything has relaxed now, we decided this was the year to resume our trade trips.
Hi I'm Tenneka a trainee jeweller and lost wax caster here at Shetland Jewellery. I have been with the company since May 2022 and love being able to create all the Shetland Jewellery pieces as-well as bespoke pieces.
Before we could even begin to start thinking about the trip, we needed to have jewellery that showcased our traditional designs as well as our newest ranges. All the staff at Shetland Jewellery workshop worked hard to make all the pieces that were going to be on display to the stockists. Initially Sophie (Shetland Jewellery's workshop manager) was to undertake the trip however, due to unforeseen circumstances I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to go in place of Sophie and gain valuable experience as well as meet all the lovely companies we supply.
After a lot of preparation of the routes and companies I was going to visit, me and my dad were ready for the trip. My dad was lucky enough to come with me and show me the ropes of driving on the mainland as it is a whole different ball game to driving in Shetland!
The whole trip on the mainland was to last 10 nights and we planned for me to meet 15 stockists while I was away. This included meeting many of our lovely existing stockists and also visiting a few new customers on the way. We were to be based in Glasgow Monday - Saturday morning and then stay in Inverness and Scrabster for the remainder of the trip.
Sunday night me and dad packed up the mini and picked up the jewellery from the workshop. We then boarded the 14 hour overnight ferry crossing from Lerwick to Aberdeen.
First thing Monday morning me and dad woke to the “bing bongs” of the overnight ferries tannoy to let us know we had arrived in Aberdeen. With a 7am start me and dad headed straight off the boat up to Inverurie to Sinclair's Jewellers which was the first of many. I was apprehensive before this appointment as it was my first-time meeting any of our trade customers. Ian and all his staff at Sinclair's Jewellery were really welcoming and made me feel at ease and not worry about meeting all our other stockists. I was lucky enough to be given a tour around their showroom and the workshop, which was very interesting as I was able to see the different processes of making jewellery as each workshop is very different. After I had finished my appointment in Inverurie, me and dad set off to Montrose to meet our second new trade customer Traill Pavilion. My first experience of driving on the mainland was from Inverurie to Montrose which took a bit of getting used to “especially with my dad at helm of google maps” and after many loops of Montrose we finally found the gorgeous Traill Pavilion which was a gift shop and café. All the ladies at Traill Pavilion were super excited to see our jewellery as Margaret the owner was originally from Shetland. At this point I felt really comfortable going forward with the trip as I had two really positive experiences as my first two appointments. We headed to our last trade appointment of the day which was just South of Glasgow, to meet Hazel the owner of Ogham. Ogham is an existing customer who Shetland Jewellery has worked with for many years so I was able to show them our new ranges as well as our more traditional Celtic pieces. For this leg of the journey, I had nominated my dad to drive as the thought of rush hour in Glasgow with dad in charge of directions was a bit too much stress after a long day of driving!
After giving my dad an in-depth lesson on how to use Google Maps I felt confident enough in his abilities (just about) to allow me to drive all day. So we set off from Glasgow in the morning to head to our first appointment in Largs at the Wee Craft Shop. The Wee Craft Shop already had a selection of Shetland Jewellery so I was showing them all the new and updated ranges. When they call it the Wee Craft Shop I didn’t expect it to be quite so peerie (Shetland dialect for small) however, it was such a cute and quirky peerie shop. This was a brilliant start to the day and the sun was shining all the way to our next appointment in Helensburgh. Me and dad had a sunny lunch break outside of Helensburgh Parish Church waiting to meet Morag and Anne who are a mother and daughter duo who own Anne of Loudounville Jewellers. During the appointment Morag and Anne were very welcoming and I had so much fun chatting and getting to know them both. They were very interested in some of our new ranges as well as our stacking bangles to add to our traditional pieces that they already stock. It was an eye opener driving into Glasgow during rush hour on Tuesday night! The highlight of the driving back to Glasgow was going through Inverclyde tunnel (as sad as it sounds) as it was such a novelty as in Shetland, we have nothing bigger than a small roundabout!
Early Wednesday morning me and dad headed up Oban. It was a gorgeous morning driving past Loch Lomond with glorious sunshine and stunning views. I met Alan who is the owner of the Iona Shop on the picturesque sea front of Oban. The Iona Shop is a long-standing customer of ours and I was very excited to visit them as I had just completed an order for their showroom. Alan and his staff were excited about our new skies ranges which features Clousta and Foula with a selection of coloured enamel skies. From Oban I drove up to Fort William to meet our next new stockist The Granite House. I had previously found them on social media and thought they would be the perfect stockist for our jewellery. After getting in contact with them they were super excited to see all the different ranges I had with me and to start stocking our pieces.
View on the drive up to Oban:
On Thursday we gave the Mini a well-deserved rest and hopped on the train to Edinburgh. My first appointment of the day was to meet Wendy at The Tappit Hen. Wendy had a lovely peerie gallery that contained a wide variety of Scottish Jewellers, including a large range of our pieces. Next me and dad headed of the National Museum of Scotland as they were my second and last appointment of the day. We had a bit of a break after finishing The Tappit Hen which we used to explore the museum and grab a bite to eat. The highlights of our museum adventures was seeing the real St Ninian’s Isle Treasure that our replica pieces of jewellery are based off of and also seeing Dolly the sheep! The National Museum was very keen in our sheep brooch due to Dolly which was very lightsome as Dolly was one of dads highlights of visiting the National Museum.
Real St Ninian's Isle Treasure that our replicas are based on:
Friday morning, we set off on a 2.5 hour drive to Holy Island in the North of England. We had previously checked the tide times so we could drive in and out over the causeway before the tide covered it as we didn’t want to get stuck! I met in with Sophie and together we met with my tenth trade customer of the week. I was really happy to spend the day with Sophie and discuss how the trip had been so far and to also have a gossip with someone other than my dad! We met the lovely Charlotte from Celtic Crafts and had her peerie baby boy. Charlotte has previously stocked our jewellery and even has a bespoke Lindisfarne Castle piece created by Shetland Jewellery. Charlotte also has a second business that is a gorgeous peerie ice cream shop. Charlotte makes all the ice cream and the cones herself, and it is all gluten free and vegan. Me and Sophie had a MASSIVE and delicious ice cream… however we did not plan it well as we forgot to have lunch first… however ice cream is always an excellent choice!
Charlottes amazing ice cream!
I only had one appointment on Saturday so was a slightly more relaxed day but still a lot of driving as I had to drive up to Inverness later on that day! We got the car packed up and set off to Linlithgow to meet the team at Jewellery by Design. Jewellery by Design were a lovely peerie boutique on the high street of Linlithgow that had lots of lovely pieces of jewellery. We then set off on the 3.5 hour drive to Inverness so we could have a chilled Sunday off. The most stressful part of the whole trip unbeknown to me was waiting for me in Inverness, where we were met with the road closures and sheer amounts of traffic due to the Etape Loch Ness cycling event. Our Airbnb was located right near the event hub so parking was non-existent and I spent about an hour nearly in tears trying to park while dad lived a life of luxury as he was unlocking the Airbnb and choosing what room was his. After I drove down what must have been every road in the area, I phoned Sophie and she managed to find a high-rise parking over a mile walk away. Safe to say I was relived to get to the Airbnb and relax that night. I also find the whole parking saga a funny story to tell now that its over!
Adventures in Linlithgow:
After a lovely day off me and dad packed up early to get going for another super busy day. We left Inverness and headed straight down to Drumnadrochit to visit our other stockist called Celtic Crafts. I showed them additional ranges and new products since the last time we visited. Once I had finished, I had to head straight up to Elgin to meet my final new stockist of the trip Crafted in Moray. I met Gillian who showed me around her craft shop that was home to over one hundred local and Scottish business. It was nice to see such a creative hub for local crafters. They loved our selection of traditional celtic designs as well as some of our more colourful enamelled pieces. My last appointment for the day was in Aberdeen at Finnies the Jeweller. Finnies had just opened their brand-new showroom so it was nice to have a quick look around before my appointment started. I showed them our selection of traditional celtic pieces and also our more Scottish ranges. Once I had finished, I head straight back to the car and left Aberdeen at the back of four to start my 5 hour drive up to Scrabster. After a total of 8.5 hours of driving I was well and truly ready for bed.
One of our many views from a long day of driving:
Tuesday morning, we were up early ready for the short crossing from Scrabster to Stromness in Orkney. I only had the one appointment in Orkney which was Starlings (my favourite shop in Orkney!). My appointment was in the afternoon so I had the whole morning with dad visiting our favourite spots in Orkney. I had a lovely time in Starlings showing off all our new ranges to add to the collections they already stock. The staff at Starlings particularly loved our Mirrie Dancers necklets and matching mini studs.
Argos Bakery Doughnuts is a must when in Orkney!
After a super busy nine days and 1500 miles later me, dad and the mini were all safe and back in Shetland. I was ready for a well-deserved rest day unlike dad who had spent the whole trip having nice walks each place we visited and reading his newspapers in the sun (he did do some of the driving and put up with me so I guess he deserved a rest too)!
I feel really lucky to have had the opportunity to represent Shetland Jewellery for the trade trip and I loved every minute of being away. I hopefully shared my passion of working for the company to all of our lovely stockists and look forward to visiting them again in the future!