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Inverness BID Small Business Focus Q&A: Creative hub is a meeting of minds and business too for One of a Kind, Inverness!

By Features Reporter

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Alan and Louise Innes, One of a Kind. Picture: Callum Mackay
Alan and Louise Innes, One of a Kind. Picture: Callum Mackay

Small Business Focus in association with Inverness BID

Q How would you describe your business to a stranger?

A We are a unique, friendly and popular local business located in the Eastgate Centre in Inverness that only stocks quality art and gifts made by local artists and creatives. We cater to all budgets and new stock arrives almost daily meaning every visit is different with new surprises!

Q What inspired you to start the business?

A Our business started as a seven-month opportunity given to us by Jackie Cuddy, the former manager of Eastgate Centre around the time of Covid19. We moved my art studio into the old Argos unit with an opportunity to also sell my art. As an artist, I know how hard it is to find places to sell your artwork and still make a reasonable return, so I invited some other local, talented artists and makers to join us in our new and exciting venture.

Q How has your business developed?

A We were given the opportunity to move to the bigger and brighter ex-Yankee Candle unit next door. Alan took over the lease in October in his name giving me more time to be creative. It allowed us to expand which keeps everything fresh and exciting for us and our customers. We have also mentored several local artists and makers to build their confidence and to share our skills and knowledge on how to run a profitable business while still enjoying the creating side.

Q What are your plans to develop your business in the future?

A Our son Oliver is keen to be part of One of a Kind moving forward, which is very exciting as this will attract a younger demographic and a fresh eye. This will also give us more free time to develop our own art and work to share with everyone. I have recently created a new range of my original art on jewellery.

Q What lessons have you learnt from your time in business?

A Our relationships with the artists, makers and customers are pivotal to a successful and enjoyable business. We have built a very strong customer base and like to go out of our way to exceed expectations and make everyone who steps into One of a Kind feel welcome. We love that we have created a warm and friendly artist hub in the city that is warmly welcomed by locals. We are privileged to listen to our customers’ stories and to get to know them while also promoting local artists and creatives.

Q What do you love about working in Inverness city centre?

A The Eastgate Centre is known for its welcoming and family-friendly atmosphere, and they take pride in maintaining a supportive relationship with all of its tenants. We are grateful to be in Inverness city centre which is renowned for the warmth and friendliness of its residents. Our customer base is diverse and we strive to establish strong relationships with each and every one of them.

Q Can you tell us something interesting about yourselves?

A Alan and I have been together since we were 16 years old and we’re still happily married after 43 years. We’re working on an exciting new project – the construction of three luxury self-catering holiday lodges in the Wellhouse area on the Black Isle. Our land boasts stunning views of the Beauly Firth, Kilcoy Castle and the picturesque countryside. We’ve just started clearing the site to allow local tradesmen to work their magic and help us share the beauty of our local environment with visitors. Furthermore, we aim to support other local businesses that will provide tourists with a memorable experience.

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