Ortak re-opens Kirkwall shop after GBP136k grant

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Ortak has re-opened its shop in Kirkwall, Orkney, having received a £136,400 grant from the Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

The Scottish jewellery manufacturer went into administration in April 2013 and the business was put up for sale but struggled to win a buyer.

Ortak Jewellery Ltd has since been bought out by a new management team, and the store re-opening is the first step in a £506,000 project for the business. It has created 14 new jobs on Orkney, and the business plans to re-launch its website, Ortak.co.uk, on August 16.

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Ortak is now being led by a majority shareholder and new managing director Michael Gardens – Ortak’s former production manager – and Alison Firth, a finance professional.

The new partners purchased the brand and Ortak’s intellectual property rights, including original designs and patterns of the jewellery moulds and drawings.

Production of Ortak’s jewellery line is being carried out at a former dental surgery on Great Western Road, Kirkwall which has been adapted to provide the necessary workstations.

Michael Gardens said: “It is exciting taking over the new Ortak business and being able to retain the brand in Orkney. It is very important to be able to keep some of the employees from the old business who have the necessary skills and experience and who will be vital in bringing forward the business. Everyone involved is excited about the opening of the former Ortak shop in the Kirkwall town centre.”

The HIE grant aims to retain Ortak’s links with Orkney and its support of the local community. HIE’s account manager for the business, Francesca Couperwhite, said: “This project re-launches the iconic Ortak brand and retains its strong links to Orkney which will provide a significant boost to the sector and will help to maintain the islands’ place in Scotland’s internationally renowned creative industries sector. The former Ortak business was a significant player within the UK jewellery sector and this will provide the new company an established market.”

It is understood that other jewellers operating on Orkney are keen for the new business to offer a design, moulding, waxing, casting and finishing service, as previously provided by the former Ortak business.

It is also hoped that, under Gardens and Firth, Ortak will be able to offer further future employment opportunities.

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