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4/05/19 - Turnover at knitwear firm in Borders reaches £1m
A knitwear company based in the Scottish Borders has seen turnover reach £1 million and sales this year show a year-on-year jump of 45 per cent.
Eribe Knitwear bills itself as “eco-friendly”, championing natural yarns, and after being founded in 1986 is still expanding, with new premises in Melrose and a new showroom coming soon.
It is led by chief executive and founder Rosemary Eribe and says it is enjoying its best trading year ever. Sales manager Shona Forrester said: “To date this year we’re 45 per cent up on sales compared to last year. Buying less, buying better quality is what counts.”
The firm is expanding into new markets such as Taiwan, with sales also coming from the likes of Australia, Europe and Japan.
Around 20 countries stock Eribe’s Scottish designs, with more than 20,000 garments sold every year.
Rosemary Eribe said: “It’s very exciting having a young and enthusiastic team led by 33 years of experience. By expanding slowly, it’s given us very strong roots.
“I’ve always seen it like building a house – starting from the bottom and working up. And we haven’t even started the garden yet.”
The firm highlighted challenges faced by the Scottish textiles industry, adding that Brexit uncertainty has been blamed for poor high street retail sales, but businesses such as Eribe are supporting independent boutiques.
She continued: “There is so much doom and gloom on the high street, but our retailers are selling out of Eribe and coming back for repeat orders throughout the year. Our customers are looking to buy something different and new.”
Working closely with spinners from Yorkshire and Scotland, Eribe works with suppliers from the UK. Investment in Scotland includes new machines for in-house production and plans to grow the workforce.
The company also works with a small, family-run manufacturer in Bulgaria. To avoid the negative effects of Brexit, it is setting up a European distribution centre, ensuring orders are processed efficiently for EU markets, and enabling a lower carbon footprint.
In light of its best trading year to date, a new showroom is planned in the Georgian house in the centre of Melrose where the firm is now based.
According to Scottish Development International (SDI), Scotland exports textiles to more than 150 countries. Additionally, the aim is for Scottish textiles exports – which encompass knitwear such as cashmere and lambswool; woven fabrics including tweed; leather for high-end use; and technical and industrial textiles – to reach £500m by 2020, backed by a targeted £3.5m spend on research and development.
SDI stated: “Huge global brands such as Chanel source textiles from Scotland and seek Scottish expertise.”
7/09/15 - Bringing Colour & Music to Galashiels
To celebrate Galashiels becoming more accessible with the new train service, ERIBÉ Knitwear a local knitwear company will sponsor a music stage and open a pop-up shop in town.
Free to all, the ERIBÉ Knitwear stage will be positioned in front of the old post office in Channel St. It will feature folk and indie music from Antic Hay, Sudden Burst of Colour and Amy Baillie amongst others. The programme aims to be family friendly and presents more female performers in contrast to other stages. A circus theme runs through out, particularly on Sunday there will be circus performances and workshops where children and big kids can learn juggling, hula-hooping and pom-pom making.
Rosemary Eribé, MD & Founder of ERIBÉ Knitwear says that “All of us at ERIBE are delighted to bring further, fresh energy and colour into supporting the rejuvenation of Galashiels town centre for families to enjoy.”
ERIBÉ is the last remaining knitwear companies in Galashiels and next year will see their 30 year celebration. The town is very much the home of ERIBÉ and part of the company, Rosemary Eribé, the MD & Founder, and over half the staff attended Borders College of Textiles or Heriot Watt University. Originally from Edinburgh, Rosemary with her husband Dougie James have made Galashiels their home and have become an important part of the community. Prestigious buyers from Japan, Germany and London come to visit ERIBÉ in Galashiels, and the new train service will make these trips even easier.
“ERIBÉ receive many visitors from far and wide (or from overseas) and it would be lovely for them to enjoy the town properly with many more independent shops to explore.” states Rosemary.
Also, ERIBÉ will be part of a collective of brands taking part in a pop-up shop in 10 Channel St. Customers will get the chance to peruse quality local products, and this weekend there will be special discounts available.
This weekend is your opportunity to meet the makers of ERIBÉ and discuss all the things knitting! The ERIBÉ team are world-renowned experts in hand-knitting and one of the largest hand-knitting companies in Europe. Visitors can get involved with fun knitting activities that will delight and inspire. Activities involve how to make unique pom-pom accessories and finger-knitting. Visitors can drop in anytime and it is FREE.
“The shopping experience is changing: we want a fun day out, an experience of learning and entertainment and ERIBÉ hope to make this coming weekend Just that. I hope you will come and enjoy the ERIBÉ stage and the workshops.” states Rosemary.
- 1pm – 7pm Sat 12th September
- 1pm – 5pm Sun 13th September
01/09/15 - Women in Business
If the UK could achieve the same levels of female entrepreneurship as the US, Britain would gain three quarters of a million more businesses. So what’s stopping women? Women are less confident in their abilities, less likely to apply for funding and have less access to professional networks according to Elaine Pofeldt at Forbes. It is in this socio-economic climate that ERIBÉ Knitwear have steadily expanded and until very recently have mostly been working with women.
For the last 29 years, ERIBÉ have always had a majority female workforce, and currently employ ten women and one young man, as well as 240 women hand-knitters spread across the country. Under the direction of Rosemary Eribé, MD and Founder, ERIBÉ has grown from humble beginnings into a global player in designer knitwear. Born out of a desire for creative freedom and a fascination with knitwear, Rosemary Eribé started ERIBÉ from her living room after graduating from the Scottish College of Textiles (now Heriot-Watt University) in Galashiels. Juggling, raising her family of 4 with developing luxury products for USA, Japan & Germany. Rosemary says:
“It has been an interesting and challenging journey. What I find refreshing is the change in attitude towards women. There is definitely more equality nowadays. It is important that we learn to gain confidence and belief in our own ability; this is what holds us back much of the time. The other issue is finding the energy to run both a company and a family. I believe we need the businesses to grow according to our lifestyle constraints, in order to maintain a happy home life too.”
The company now has over 200 stockists in 17 markets. Rosemary Eribé is seen as one of the UK’s leading knitwear experts, she has been passionate about creating quality knitwear from natural fibres. Her vast knowledge has been garnered from working with premium knitwear factories in Scotland and beyond, leading knitting machine companies and developing private label styles for the world’s leading fashion brands such as Pringle and Paul Smith.
Like a wonderful extended family, ERIBÉ is all about the people involved; the team, hand-knitters, mills, suppliers, agents, buyers and the customer. Great attention is paid to every single person involved in their supply chain, and the majority are female. As one of the largest hand-knitters in Europe, their dedicated hand-knit team deal with 240 hand-knitters, of whom only 3 are men. Half their agents are female and the majority of wholesale buyers they deal with are female too.
Known for their craftsmanship and clever use of colour and pattern, more than half the company are skilled knitwear designers. Typically in the industry knitwear programmers are male, whilst hand-knitting is seen as a woman’s craft. However, gender roles are reversed at ERIBÉ, Lizzy Wilson is a knitwear designer who is also training to be a programmer, she has successfully used ERIBÉ’s two industrial Stoll knitting machines for AW15 sampling and small-scale production. Lizzy frequently works with other female programmers in our partner factories in Scotland and abroad. Whilst, Scott Bramley, a knitwear designer, excels at creating complicated hand-knit patterns and is an excellent hand-knitter. Developing her staff’s skills and encouraging them to widen their skill set is something Rosemary is particularly keen on.
“As a graduate, beginning my role in ERIBÉ with its majority female workforce was extremely comforting. I was inspired to lead on areas that I was confident in and was guided to develop skills to create the role I have today within the company as Hand-Knit Technician. ERIBÉ’s culture of managing with kindness allows the relationships within the company to be approachable and receptive, and never critical“said by Leah Chapman, Hand-Knit Technician.
ERIBÉ’s culture, which flows from Rosemary’s business philosophy, focuses on managing through kindness and working together for the benefit of everyone. Fostering a community spirit was a revolutionary idea in the male-dominated textile industry of the 1980s, back then companies often worked in isolation and for self-gain. Over the decades, she has worked tirelessly to build personal relationships with factories, spinners, hand-knitters, suppliers, buyers and customers. Sharing knowledge and resources is extremely important for Rosemary, because she strongly believes that this is the only way this centuries old manufacturing can re-establish itself as a vital Scottish industry. Her goal is to focus on the mutual benefits that is gained by doing business globally.
Her strong eco-conscious stance sets a high standard for the company that all her employees strive to uphold. Sustainability is at the heart of ERIBÉ, there is a conscientious approach to resources used and waste management. As recognition for her entrepreneurial flair, Rosemary Eribé was asked to be an ambassador for Woman’s Enterprise Scotland. Margaret Gibson, Chief Executive of WES and Queen’s Award for Enterprise Winner said, “We were delighted when Rosemary accepted our invitation to be part of the programme and are looking forward to sharing Rosemary’s story with women all over the world to encourage them to start or grow their own business.” WES aims to create a commercial culture where women-led business ownership is not simply an aspiration, but becomes a truly attainable, attractive and achievable option for women everywhere.
18/07/15 - Hand-knitting: time-intensive but a versatile and rewarding craft
Did you know it can take up to 90 hours to hand-knit a Fairisle jumper?
ERIBÉ Knitwear is one of the largest hand-knitting companies in Europe. For over 15 years, they have been designing striking hand-knitted designer garments, accessories and more recently, soft furnishings. ERIBÉ continue to create hand-knitted pieces as the versatility of the technique allows their designers to be technically inventive.
RIBÉ is considered a world-renown expert in hand-knitting and they pride themselves on preserving this traditional craft. They also host hand-knitting events throughout the world in top retail outlets or galleries to teach and share this skill with the public, reaching out to all ages and genders. People are beginning to see the therapeutic health benefits this ancient skill gives. It is known to help combat depression in many instances. To hand-knit something, I get enjoyment from it and if somebody likes to buy it and wear it, it makes me feel good!” said Val, one of ERIBÉ’s hand-knitters.
ERIBÉ work together with 240+ hand-knitters throughout Scotland and England to produce their intricate and beautiful hand-knit range. Their freelance hand-knitters have a wealth of experience and craftsmanship. Whenever a customer purchases an ERIBÉ hand-knit piece, they are not only be investing in a truly luxurious garment that will make them look fantastic for years to come, but they are also buying their own little piece of Scottish heritage. ERIBÉ have a dedicated team of four who look after the hand-knit production.
“Eribe has a complex management system to oversee hand-knit production of 240 knitters. My position as Hand-Knit Technician involves a lot of intuition to be able to adapt and overcome daily difficulties, a great eye for detail in order to produce the very best in quality hand-knitwear and a compassionate understanding of each individual knitter. Building a one on one relationship with each knitter helps us create an immense database of their personal details, allowing us to combine their preferences and skills with our extensive range of Hand-Knitted garments and accessories. Our aim is to provide them with a project they will enjoy knitting and create a pleasurable experience of knitting for us.” Leah Chapman, Hand-Knit Technician
Their luxury hand-knitted garments are sold to prestigious stores all around the globe under the ERIBÉ label. They also work with world-famous global brands including Pringle of Scotland. As part of the Pringle of Scotland exhibition Fully Fashioned: The Pringle of Scotland Story at National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh you can see an intricate, hand-knitted pleated cardigan piece that ERIBÉ knitted in luxuriously soft, chunk cashmere for their Autumn/Winter 2015 catwalk which received much publicity.
As part of Pringle Open day at National Museum of Scotland on Sunday 26th July (Noon – 4pm), ERIBÉ will be there to teach hand-knitting. This free drop-in workshop is suitable for all ages and abilities, you can get involved with fun knitting activities that will delight and inspire, from making unique pom pom accessories to finger knitting and producing a simple baby hat.
Preserving this traditional craft is a priority for ERIBÉ, and by doing workshops such as these they can inspire and educate the public to benefits of this craft; therapeutic, productive, great for memory skills and it is social. Many of their hand-knitters have been knitting since childhood and their zeal for knitting shows in the beautiful patterns and exquisitely fine detail they work into our garments. Some of their pieces can take up to a staggering 90 hours to make just one single piece.
Mrs Margaret MacIntyre aged 72, from a village on the Isle of Lewis is one of ERIBÉ knitters that produce the stunning hand knitted garments. “I love knitting, I knit all the time” she says. In fact, she’s been knitting ever since she was a small child. “It was part of the culture of long, dark evenings – we lived in a wee village in the country, and we all knitted alongside our mothers.”
Another ERIBÉ knitter, Ann Percy, explains how her skill was passed down through the family generations: “I come from a family of knitters. My father and his brother were taught to knit their own socks. I’ve been knitting since I was three, because my gran and great-gran did the socks and gloves and scarves for soldiers, sailors and airmen.”
20/12/14 - Shop Local, Dress Fashionably
The UK fashion industry is worth a cool £21 billion and your local fashion boutique is at the heart of dressing the nation.
Up and down the country the story has been the same from independent retailers, the autumn winter 2014 selling season started off well with an increase in footfall. Yet, while customers’ are taking their time to peruse the shop’s offerings and enjoy the ambiance for often hours at a time, they are not spending like they used to. Even regular loyal customers, the bread and butter of boutiques as they update their wardrobe often have been spending less in store and more online. This is hitting smaller retailers hard.
Each boutique has its own unique taste, viewpoint and customers. Usually small to medium enterprises, sometimes family run, these stores are managed by a very small team or individual who undertake increasing amounts of multi-tasking to look after customers. Owners will spend time crafting their brand personality and take personal pride in the success of their store and customers. They scour the world to bring their customers the best fashion brands. Often travelling to trade shows in New York, Paris and London to find exceptional brands that are not readily available on the high street. Brands like ERIBÉ Knitwear, from Scotland, who focus on quality, craftsmanship and natural materials, following the latest fashion trends. Key attention is paid to coordinating each outfit for different occasions. Independent retailers often ensure they give their customers the best price as they have a low mark-up compared to some of the big brand named shops.
The effect of national promotional campaigns for independent retailers such as Small Business Saturday, which fell on the 6th Dec this year, is lost amongst deep discounting on the high street and American traditions like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Rosemary Eribé states that “Shopping online is great but you don’t get that element of discovery and curation that you do with your local retailer. They put the fun back into shopping”.
Rosemary Eribé is the managing director and founder of ERIBÉ Knitwear, a Scottish knitwear brand that is stocked in numerous independent boutiques up and down the country and exported to fifteen countries. “What would your town center look like without these independent, specialist shops? I urge you to think about it and chat with your local community about how you wish your center’s to look like before the anonymous, bland multiples move in.” Local shops invest time and resources into adding something special to town centers, to give that special feel for the community.
Established in 1986, ERIBÉ Knitwear is a forward-thinking knitwear design house and manufacturer based in Scotland, UK. World-renowned for putting an innovative spin on traditional Scottish knitwear; here at ERIBÉ, they champion natural yarns, craftsmanship and eco-conscious living. The ethos of how they work with their 240+ hand knitters and partners, like these independent retailers, is crucial to their business as they explore new ways to work and live in today’s challenging times