Celebrating a stake in the company

Hebridean Jewellery staff at the company headquarters for the CDS roadshow event.
Hebridean Jewellery staff at the company headquarters for the CDS roadshow event.

Hebridean Jewellery, who were established in 1974, have celebrated the success of their employee-owned businesses by recently hosting a special event in conjunction with Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS).

The South Uist company became employee owned in July 2011 and the deal secured the future of the company, around 14 jobs and important design and manufacturing skills.

The employee-owners now plan to grow the business by significantly increasing internet sales, in particular to the US.

The event was attended by Alasdair Allan MSP for the Western Isles and by Sarah Deas, chief executive, Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS) and they heard how workers in the firm have now become stakeholders.

Sarah Deas, chief executive of Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS), said: “Hebridean Jewellery has shone since it became employee owned and has become more productive. This is a business model that can also safeguard jobs in local communities.

“It has been a real delight to hear first-hand how employees can become masters of their own destinies. There is more interest across Scotland in employee ownership with a growing number of companies now adopting this business model. We encourage more business owners to consider this exit option.”

John Hart, founder of Hebridean Jewellery, said: “After 35 years we were ready for retirement; however we wanted to see the company sustained in the local community and to continue prospering. We are delighted that the business is now owned by our former employees as it could not be in better hands.

“We’ve had great support along the way from CDS, Baxi Partnership and Highlands and Islands Enterprise. This business model is good for the owners, good for the employees and good for local communities.”

Alasdair Allan, commented: “It has been very interesting to hear first-hand from workers at Hebridean Jewellery the benefits of becoming employee owned.

“It is a business model where productivity thrives and it ensures that jobs are secured for the local community. We hope that other companies in the Western Isles, and Scotland as a whole, will consider the employee owned business model.”