A Shetland knitwear manufacturing business is increasing its workforce and investing nearly £220.000 in new machinery to keep pace with rising demand for its products.
Laurence Odie Knitwear Ltd (LOKL), based in Sandwick in the Shetland Isles, is currently receiving steady orders from as far away as Japan and the USA.
With assistance from Highlands and Islands Enteprise (HIE) and Shetland Islands Council, the business is investing £219,000 in four new Stoll knitting machines, mill alterations and computer equipment, all of which will help it explore new international markets.
HIE is providing £76,650, while the council's contribution is £10,950.
Shetland’s knitwear industry is worth around £3m to the local economy and generates annual sales of £2.1 million in exports outside the UK.
Owner Laurence Odie said: “We are delighted with the investment from HIE and Shetland Islands Council which, along with support from the Royal Bank of Scotland and Lombard Finance will help us to greatly increase the production capability of LOKL and realise our target of increasing turnover by over a third in the next three years.”
Rachel Hunter, head of operations at HIE in Shetland, said: “The company will be able to increase capacity and accept more orders with this modern equipment, and it is hoped that the new machinery will significantly increase production levels. Shetland has a unique and globally recognised textile heritage and Shetland knitwear is currently very much in vogue in the international marketplace.”
LOKL was established in 2004 and now employs 10 full time staff, rising to 14 during peak production on a seasonal basis.
The funding will allow three new jobs to be created with staff expected to be in place early next year.