Schools success story for Greenlaw businessman

SCHOOLS out for summer but the hard work is just beginning for one Berwickshire entrepreneur who is working round the clock to prepare pupils and parents for school when it starts again in August.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 7th July 2010, 11:37 am
Updated Wednesday, 7th July 2010, 11:37 am

The Greenlaw-based company Border Embroideries Ltd, which owns Trutex shops in Glasgow, Wishaw and Falkirk, typically sees 8,000 customers go through its doors during the summer holidays.

Last summer they fulfilled orders for 10,000 pairs of trousers, 5,000 blazers and supplied 400 schools with 130,000 embroidered polo shirts and sweatshirts.

The company was founded in 1989 by Greenlaw's Billy Smillie, thanks to funding from the Prince's Scottish Youth Business Trust (PSYBT). Billy wanted to establish a business in his home town providing high quality embroidery services.

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Twenty years on, it has become the largest clothing embroidery company in the UK with a turnover of 2.4million.

The company employs 60 staff including Billy's wife Shirley-Anne, daughter Aynsley, and son William. His youngest son, Ross, has recently completed his Standard Grades and he helps out whenever he can during the school holidays.

With the majority of schools breaking up this week for the summer holidays, Billy said: "This is traditionally our busiest time. A lot of parents like to place their order for school uniforms before they go on holiday so they can relax over the summer knowing it is well in hand.

"For us, it means the embroidery machines are working round the clock.

"We always get those of course who leave things to the last minute but we always do our best to make sure when the first day of school arrives, everyone is kitted out appropriately."

Border Embroideries Ltd also supplies hotels, pubs, garden centres, fitness centres and sports clubs, and various other businesses with embroidered corporate-wear and sportswear.

"We recently invested over 30,000 in state of the art embroidery machines for each of our three shops," added Billy.

"This allows each shop to embroider a whole range of products in-house such as baseball caps, T-shirts, boiler suits and towels.

"It's a competitive market, so we are always looking to see how we can improve our services and continuous investment is an integral part of our future growth strategy."