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Success of Forfar firm is ‘entwined in twine’

Shona Young at her Forfar factory.
Shona Young at her Forfar factory.

Shona Young says green credentials are key for her products.

What does your business do?

I have two businesses. Nutscene, which produces a range of twines in our factory just outside Forfar, predominately from jute and other sustainable materials.
My other business is The Sheila Maid Co, which is an iconic clothes arier, known as a pulley in Scotland.
It is based on a Victorian design and “it’s the eco way to dry each day”.
It promotes the environmental and energy saving cost of safe indoor drying.
We export to over 23 countries, as far afield as Australia and Japan.

How and why did you start in business?

I started my own business when I was 20, though a very different business which was operating in the oil and gas industry.
I have always been driven and determined to do my own thing, be in charge of my own destiny, and destiny took me to Dundee, where I began my journey at Nutscene and became entwined in twine in 1989.
I love what I do. Every day, I have the freedom to challenge, change direction and grasp opportunities as they arise and do things a bit different.

How did you get where you are today?

Absolute determination to survive, at times against all of the odds.
Having the support of the people who believe in me, thinking outside that box and being creative in every aspect of running a business, or two.

Who has helped you along the way?

The people who have hindered, or tried to, have ultimately helped me, as I am not good with the ‘you can’t’.
So thank you to them.
The people who love me – my son, close friends, family and my staff, who supported me through some very tough times.

Your biggest mistake?

There have been a few, it goes without saying in the world of business.
Putting my trust in the wrong people and not following the advice I received from a close friend and mentor, who we sadly lost, that the devil is in the detail. Failing to read that detail cost me dearly a number of years ago.

What is your greatest achievement to date?

So far, turning both businesses around and gaining market share and growth, which has enabled us to purchase our factory, a proud moment indeed.
Cementing our roots firmly in Angus.

Hopes for the future?

I feel that both companies have reached the stage where the can only go forward and flourish as the brands gain credibility. We are working on product development continuously.
Our providence and ethos are very much what consumers are demanding, it is something that we have been advocating for many years.
Useful and practical products, with green credentials and sustainability.

What is the hardest thing about running your own business?

Not switching off, I’m not good at that.
I am supported by great people, its not hard.

Advice to wannabe entrepreneurs?

Be prepared to take risks, don’t give up when you get tripped or rejected.

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