Macnaughtons of Pitlochry dates back to 1835 and the reign of William IV.
With a long and busy tourism season, selling online was never a priority until Covid-19 forced the shop to close.
Owner Jenni Moncrieff explains how she adapted as coronavirus wiped out her trade before the flagship shop reopened at the end of June.
Q. How and why did you start in business?
My husband and I bought Macnaughtons of Pitlochry as an established business in 2003. The shop dates back to 1835. I’d owned a gift shop in Aberfeldy before so I knew suppliers and what was required to revamp the shop.
Q. How did you get to where you are today?
Our children Isla and Ally both joined the business and up until having to close at the start of lockdown, we had been growing successfully year on year.
We had built up a strong local clientele and enjoyed being part of Pitlochry’s loyal and supportive community.
Q. Who has helped you along the way?
We’ve had great support over the years from regular customers as well as tourists. We’re lucky to have a great team working with us in the shop.
When lockdown happened, we realised we had to get an online presence set up quickly. Growbiz gave us a lot of advice and support regarding marketing the website.
Q. What was your biggest mistake?
Not having a website set up sooner. We usually have a long and busy tourist season in Pitlochry and having an online shop was never a priority.
When we had to close the shop, we realised we had been a bit complacent by not setting up an e-commerce site before.
Q. What is your greatest achievement to date?
Setting up the website. It was a steep learning curve and we had to move quickly to get it up and running. Credit must go to Isla and Ally for achieving a great online shop in such a short time.
Another great achievement is having our children on board to continue the family business.
Q. How has coronavirus impacted your business?
Having to close the shop and furlough loyal staff has been really tough. Despite all the challenges, we have been lucky to have so much local support and it’s a constant reminder of what a super community Pitlochry is. The next year will be very challenging but we are determined to work through it and make the shop successful again.
Q. What do you hope to achieve in the future?
We would like to focus on sustainability in terms of the suppliers we work with, to offer more environmentally friendly products. We are also committed to trying to reduce plastic waste.
Q. Do you want to recruit in the future?
Yes. We reopened on June 29 and we always have the need for additional staff during the busiest parts of the tourist season.
Q. What is the hardest thing about running your own business?
Switching off from it. As a family business, we often end up ‘talking shop’ even when we say we won’t!
Q. Any advice to wannabe entrepreneurs?
Jump in and get started. If you have a strong work ethic and are prepared for to overcome hurdles and challenges, running your own business is very rewarding.