A few years ago, I believe it was after attending The Scottish Trade Fair, Tartan Plus Tweed decided to stock some new, unique Harris Tweed Clocks from a company known as Juniper and Jane. These clocks were unlike anything I had seen before, and knowing the popularity of the Harris Tweed products that were already in our store, I knew these would be a hit with our customers. And I was right. The clocks at the time only came in three or four different tweed variations – but all genuine Harris Tweed. The fabric was beautifully set in a hand stained oak embroidery loop, with a delicate hand mechanism, and beautifully finished off with an oak stained backing with the words “Juniper and Jane” carved in the back. The clocks had a beautiful linen box that each came with, and it was clear to me that this was a product that was thought about and carefully designed by Juniper and Jane. These clocks did – and still do – retail at £49.95, which to some can seem a bit out of the budget, but the quality product that you get for the money (as well as a 1-year no quibble guarantee) makes the clock a beautiful gift. As time progressed for Juniper and Jane, their business exploded, so much so that they decided to make the clocks a separate company from the other textile products they were making at the time. This company came to be known as The Scottish Clock Company. All of the clocks were still hand made and all of the materials for the product were still carefully selected by the owner to make a stunning product. More Harris Tweed fabrics were added to the collection and we were delighted with what we received every time we placed an order. Not only were we delighted with the products, but also the fantastic customer service we received from Sam every single time. He was always on the other end of the phone for advice, help, or just for a chat. The few times that we did have a problem with the clocks, the problem was rectified immediately and efficiently by Sam. Our customers loved these clocks and they have ended up all over the world from Canada to Australia. So we were delighted to provide a handmade item from Scotland to people from all across the world.
Over the years since Sam has developed this product, there have been some shocking, and frankly upsetting news surrounding the Harris Tweed Clocks. People and companies have been copying his design, selling it as their own, and selling it for a much cheaper price. The Scottish Clock Company, and it’s sister company Juniper and Jane have now decided to cease trading because they simply cannot compete with these individuals who have stolen their design. Yes, some will say “that’s just business” but in my opinion, it isn’t. You don’t steal someone’s design and pass this off as your own. And in some cases people have even been selling fake Harris Tweed, saying that it is real Harris Tweed, which is even worse. So not only are they copying someone’s idea, but you are insulting a generation of weavers in the Outer Hebrides passing off a fake tweed as a hand woven. Shame on these people. Yes, business is business, but I do not believe in lying to customers about the quality of your product in order to make a buck. My other point here is if you are buying an item at a cheaper price – you get what you pay for. The quality of the item will not be up to par, and the customer service that you receive will be nonexistent. So while, with a sad heart, we do announce to you that The Scottish Clock Company will be no longer – we do still have some clocks in stock. If you do choose to buy these they will be some of the last you can get that will be hand made with genuine quality materials, made here in Scotland by what was a family owned business.
My message to you - the buyer, the consumer, the everyday working person - please please if you want to make a positive impact on the retail market, on the Scottish product market, please look into, research, or ask someone about what you are buying! When you buy a Harris Tweed Clock for £49.95 you are supporting Scottish made products, genuine materials, 2 family run businesses, 2 independent shops on the high street, and the individuals who are hand weaving Harris Tweed in the Outer Hebrides. When you buy a kilt for £400 instead of £50 you are supporting all of the mills in Scotland that weave the fabric, the kiltmaker who has the inherited knowledge of how to hand stitch every kilt that she makes, and the independent family owned shops that then give it to you, (not to mention you receive a gorgeous traditional Scottish wool kilt!).
At the end of the day, please just take a little time and find out where your products are coming from. DO the research, and your part in protecting not only family-run businesses but Scottish companies because without you, they will not last forever.