We’ve just had the most amazing week at Reza Wood Designs with an award, media coverage and a high profile ministerial visit! Here’s how we got there.
During the long hot summer, spurred on by a successful business trip to Japan earlier in the year, we entered an exporting competition, World of Opportunity run by Heathrow Airport. The programme is a partnership between Heathrow Airport and the Department of International Trade, Exporting is Great Campaign and awards grants of £2000 to enable small businesses to realise their exporting dreams by taking part in trade missions and exhibitions overseas.
We never dreamed we would win….but we did.
When we got the news that we were the only Scottish winners it took a while to sink in, we would be taking our whisky barrel gifts to Japan. A market we’ve been working on entering for a while.
The week we received our award was action packed but we enjoyed every minute.
Monday: Receiving our exporting award from John Holland-Kaye, CEO at Heathrow Airport
We were invited to collect our award at the Heathrow Business Summit held in Glasgow on 10th September and were delighted to be presented with our cheque by the CEO of Heathrow Airport and the good folks at the Scottish Chamber of Commerce. Following the presentation we had wee celebratory lunch and cocktail at Glasgow’s Anchor Line restaurant where Jenifer had the aptly named Eyes East cocktail!
Wednesday: Media coverage in our local paper
Both our local newspapers, The Kirkintilloch Herald and The Milngavie and Bearsden Herald ran a story on our exporting plans. It’s always a bit surprising turning the pages of a newspaper and seeing yourself!
Friday: Lord Duncan visits our woodworking studio
Following our win, we received a request from the UK Government, Lord Duncan of Springbank , the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Scotland wished to visit our woodworking studio and discuss our exporting plans.
We were delighted to show Lord Duncan around and explain how our products are made from recycled barrels. Ali explained all the processes involved. He was particularly impressed with our finished items and especially our brand new whisky barrel bowties with Harris Tweed which he kindly modelled for us.
All too soon the visit and a very interesting week in our business was over and now the hard work begins!
There are so many people who have played a part in getting us this far with our exporting dreams and each and everyone of them has enabled us to achieve this recognition.
Special thanks must go to Business Gateway in East Dunbartonshire, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Development International in Tokyo, The BCCJ, The British Chambers of Commerce in Japan and finally our family and friends without whom none of this would be possible.
We are so excited about the next steps and look forward to sharing them with you.
Following on from a previous Reza Wood Designs blog post, "why you should visit us at an event" we thought we’d share some inside knowledge about why we think whisky festivals are great. We love getting out and about with our whisky barrel gifts and this month we’ll be at a very special festival, the first one ever to be held in our local town, Kirkintilloch, The Spirit of Alba Gin and Whisky Festival.
We’ve been attending whisky festivals since we started our business and they are a fantastic way to enjoy whisky whether you are an expert or a complete beginner.
Whisky Festivals are good value for money
Whisky festivals are extremely popular and tickets go on sale far in advance. It’s easy to see why they are in demand. For a very reasonable price, you’ll have the opportunity to sample a wide range of whisky from all over Scotland and sometimes overseas too.
What’s more, if you find something you like, there’s usually the chance to buy a bottle for a discounted price at the event. There are few other places where you have the chance to try so many different whiskies in the one place.
Festival fun: Socialising with friends and family
Whisky is made for sharing. At whisky festivals, you’ll often see members of whisky clubs attending, all wearing matching t shirts and swapping tasting notes. It’s also likely you’ll spot fathers with sons, couples, brothers, sisters, the young and the not so young.
Many festivals enjoy return customers, so you can meet up with the same people year after year. You could make it an annual outing with your friends and family.
Festival facts: Learn something about whisky
The whisky industry is full of surprises and there’s always something new to learn or discover. A whisky festival is a great place to find out something you didn’t know about, whether it’s a newly opened distillery, a new independent bottler or an innovative new whisky accessory that you just have to have.
Enjoy the many tastings at whisky festivals
Most whisky festivals will provide you with a whisky tasting glass, which you’ll use to sample anything that takes your fancy from the range of exhibitors. At each stand there will be a selection of whiskies to try and you can ask for a recommendation based on your preferences or ask them to surprise you!
Take advantage of the very knowledgeable staff at each stand, who can tell you about the history, the process and even the legend behind their particular drams. There are so many different whiskies available that there really is a whisky for everyone.
There’s far more to whisky festivals than just whisky
Most whisky festivals will have additional stands with whisky related products or other spirits or food. These may often be local businesses you’ve not heard of or unusual products, many new to the market.
They often make great take home gifts as a reminder of your day out or as a wee souvenir for those who couldn’t join you. So whether you are looking for a thoughtful birthday present or something to go with that nice bottle of whisky you treated yourself to, you’re sure to discover something you like, somewhere you want to visit or something you want to find out more about.
There are many reasons to visit a whisky festival and you can check out our events page to find where we’ll be exhibiting this year and follow the links to see if there are any tickets left. Do come and say “hello” if you see us and we look forward to hearing all about your favourite dram.
Find out more about our range of handcrafted recycled whisky tasting accessories and gifts here.