A FORMER pupil at Rothesay Academy has appealed to members of the public for financial help to enable her small accessories business to expand beyond its humble roots.
Mhairi Mackenzie, who runs Bonnie Bling, which creates distinctive accessories based on Scottish slang words such as Och Aye, Blether and Stoater, has launched a ‘crowdfunding’ campaign to try to encourage existing and potential customers to help with the cost of buying a laser cutting machine to allow the firm to expand its manufacturing ability on its Scottish home turf.
Mhairi has until Monday, May 28 to reach her target of £7,500 – and has pledged a series of rewards for those who contribute to the fund, from a ten per cent discount on Bonnie Bling merchandise in return for a £5 promise right up to a range of custom-designed items, lifetime discount and invitations to future Bonnie Bling fashion shows and preview events.
The company’s rings and knuckledusters are attracting a growing celebrity following, having been sported by the likes of TV presenter Laura Whitmore, X Factor contestant Amelia Lily and most recently by Olly Murs.
Mhairi, meanwhile, will return to Bute early next month to shoot Bonnie Bling’s next ‘lookbook’, along with its first clothing collection and fashion video, on the island.
Mhairi told The Buteman: “We really want to keep our manufacturing in the UK, to create jobs, to have more control over our designs, pricing and turnaround times.
“Crowdfunding is becoming quite the hot topic, and to have the support of my home town would really mean a lot.
“I have 60 days to hit my target, which is an ambitious one, but the machine would make a huge difference to Bonnie Bling.”
For the last year Mhairi has been juggling Bonnie Bling with her day job at her own web design firm, Mucky Puddle, but – thanks in no small part to those celebrity endorsements – demand for her acrylic jewellery and accessories has rocketed in the last few months.
“There are new collaborations in the pipeline for some really big UK companies,” Mhairi continued, “but at the mometn I don’t have control over the cutting of the accessories, and this is something that is crucial to the development of new products, designs and managing our accessories range at an affordable level.
“I want to keep our business as a UK one. I don’t want to have to outsource our manufacturing to another country.
“I want to create and keep jobs right here in Scotland and the UK, and purchasing a desktop laser machine is the first step in enabling this to happen.
“With collaborations and enquiries coming thick and fast, we have the potential to create three to five full time jobs within a year, and with our manufacturing capacity increased this could double in year two.”
To support Mhairi’s Bonnie Bling crowdfunding campaign, or to find out more about Bonnie Bling’s product range, just follow the links to the right of this article.