When Carl Morenikeji visited India more than 20 years ago he picked up souvenirs like leather satchels, leather journals and old, small wooden boxes as gifts.
Returning home to Scotland, his presents were well received by family and friends. The thought entered his head – there could be a business here.
In 2006 his dream turned into reality.
When Carl and his family moved from Edinburgh to Fife, he didn’t want to keep commuting to his corporate job.
Instead, he took £2,000 and two suitcases to India to revisit the places he saw eight years earlier.
He came back to Fife with 12 bags, a handful of leather journals and some wooden boxes.
He set up a website and Scaramanga was born.
Scaramanga sales ‘fell off a cliff’
Demand for his bespoke leather satchels grew and Carl diversified into a wider range of leather bags.
A few years later, Scaramanga expanded into vintage furniture and opened a shop in Cupar.
The firm now employs nine people.
Most of Scaramanga’s orders come from the online shop, so when the pandemic hit, the firm didn’t struggle to transition.
However, Carl did notice a major shift in the products he was selling.
He said: “We could see the bag sales literally fall off a cliff and the furniture sales went through the roof.
“We are seeing larger sales of furniture now and the bags have not really come back.
“A lot of people are not going back to the office and they’re not needing briefcases, work bags and holiday bags, so all of those sales are pretty much quiet, but the furniture is very busy.”
Selling items up to 200 years old
When summer weather set in, Scaramanga sold so much outdoors furniture it struggled to find enough stock and keep up with demand at times.
The shop specialises in vintage furniture, and none of the items sold are new. Some are reclaimed and repurposed, but all the items are old.
The majority comes from India, like the leather bags, but a lot of the furniture also comes from the UK.
Carl said: “We’ll buy the furniture either fully restored or partially restored or not restored and we then do the restoration work ourselves.
“We have three people that we work with here in the business and we also have some carpenters and other restorers that we send the work to.
“We’ll make small repairs, screws will come out, some legs are a little bit wobbly, but it’s not that much work to really bring the pieces back to life again.
“We just make sure that these things don’t get melted down or thrown away.”
Carl estimates that the items they source are between 30 to 100 years old. Doors, windows and trunks can be more than 200 years old.
Scaramanga in Hollywood
Scaramanga’s vintage trunks have given the Cupar firm great success in Hollywood.
The trunks and chests starred in their first movie in 2010.
Since then Carl has regularly been contacted by props buyers to supply vintage items for big productions.
For the Mark Wahlberg film Infinite, coming out on September 11, Scaramanga has supplied some tables and chairs.
Carl said: “It’s a really small part of the business, but it’s one of the most exciting parts by far.
“We’ve seen a big surge in requests the last four months, once filming was allowed again in April we’ve been deluged with people buying props from us.
“We’ve got lots coming up, some films are being released this year and next year. We have one Disney and two Marvel films coming out.”