A local branding consultancy, which is aiming to train hundreds of Whisky Ambassadors in the Far East, is helping a unique Scottish product get a foothold in the lucrative Asian marketplace.
Using their specialist network of brand ambassadors that stretch from Singapore to Mainland China, Leigh McGrotty and Dea Macleod, of 15PL, have secured interest from potential distributors hoping to sell Uisge Source’s bottled spring water throughout the region.
During their three week promotional tour of the Far East in April, the duo, who have been supported by Business Gateway Clackmannanshire, also began rolling out The Whisky Ambassadors’ training programme with The DFS Group (Duty Free Asia).
The training programme could lead to the certification of over 200 Whisky Ambassadors working in DFS’ duty free stores.
Leigh, from Kincardine, said: “It has taken us a year to build our network of contacts and amass our own team of trusted ambassadors and trainers, which includes Eddie Nara, a highly respected member of the Asian whisky fraternity. Their role is to help us highlight the unique Scottish products that our clients sell. With their assistance we organised tasting events in bars throughout Hong Kong and Singapore which helped Uisage Source get traction with its key audience.
“We also represent The Whisky Ambassador, a training company that delivers the UKs only accredited Whisky Training Programme. We saw an opportunity to amplify the training programme in Asia because there is growing interest in whisky education in the Far East. The strength of that partnership resulted in an official training partnership with The DFS Group (Duty Free Asia). The first training events were a huge success.
“Our focus now is to continue to roll out the training programme, help Usiage Source seal one of the distribution deals currently in the making while working with other emerging brands to break into Asia, one of the most desirable marketplaces in the world.”
The idea for the branding consultancy arose after Leigh was made redundant for the second time in 2014. She then turned to her best friend Dea with a business idea that would combine their love of travel with their knowledge and passion for whisky. Ready for a new challenge Dea came on board, and the duo turned to Business Gateway for advice.
Leigh said: “Our adviser has been invaluable, not only helping with our initial strategy and business plan, she signposted us to accountants, lawyers, IT professionals and latterly she put us in touch with Scottish Development International (SDI) who will help us continue to push forward our overseas activity. Her help coupled with the effort we’ve put into establishing www.15pl.co.uk is now starting to pay off.”
Alison Davidson, Business Gateway added: “With a background in advertising, marketing, hospitality and business development Leigh and Dea have established a business that has the potential to turn small Scottish enterprises into major players overseas. Because their focus is on exporting we linked them with SDI who will open a great number of doors for them. Our input with their initial business plan not only shaped their thinking, it helped build their confidence in their abilities as business owners. Their company has great potential and we will continue to provide support to them as and when they need it.”
To find out how Business Gateway Clackmannanshire can help your business call 01259 208426 or visit www.bgateway.com/clackmannanshire.