Talented designer Mhairi Mackenzie is bringing her Bonnie Bling business back to Bute after securing nearly £8,000 in funding.
Demand for Mhairi’s unique jewellery skyrocketed after it was spotted on celebrities such as Mary Portas, Laura Whitmore and Lana Del Rey.
To meet the huge demand, the former Rothesay Academy pupil launched a crowdfunding bid to buy a special laser cutting machine and to expand her business. The bid was a success and Mhairi secured £7,980 - nearly £500 over her intended target.
Mhairi told s1bute: “I’m really excited. We wanted the laser cutter so that we could be more in control of our own cutting and more in control creatively. I have the machine already, which is incredible.
"In addition to the laser cutter we’ve got new materials and two part time staff so things have moved really quickly.
“I’m also using the extra funding and moving all my production back to where I’m from - to the Isle of Bute. I really miss being here. I grew up in Bute and went to school in Bute. For a long time I’ve wanted to come back, then recently I thought there’s no reason why the business can’t be run from Bute."
Mhairi said that Bonnie Bling will still keep its Glasgow shop but that the jewellery will be produced in Bute; something which she hopes will be prosperous for the island in the long term.
She said: “I’ll still have a base in Glasgow but the jewellery can be made here and maybe provide a few jobs locally. At the moment we’ve got our two part-time workers but who knows what’s in store for the future?
“There is a business over here called Brandish Bute who will be working with us. They promote local products by local business. Their staff and volunteers will help me with things such as with the marketing of the company and increasing our stockists.
“It’s been challenging to do everything on my own so it’s fantastic to be working together with Brandish Bute and to be able to have my own part time staff.”
As s1bute reported previously, Bonnie Bling is a relatively new brand, yet Mhairi’s Scottish slang-inspired accessories have already been a huge success. Just two months ago, we reported that she had been nominated for a Scottish Fashion Award.
In her latest success, Mhairi secured her crowdfunding cash on Bloom, one of the UK’s leading crowdfunding platforms. She offered rewards to backers, such as jewellery and Bonnie Bling discounts.
She said: “It was a nice for everybody to be involved. We've always had a close relationship with our customers and this seemed a personal way for them to become part of the business. It’s great. It will change things massively.
“It was so exciting watching us get near to, and then hit, the target. All of our supporters were tweeting, texting and Facebooking all at once, cheering us on and spreading the word.
“I’m blown away by the high level of support we've found, everyone has been amazingly generous and I can’t wait to throw us all a party to celebrate.”
Well done Mhairi!
To find out more about Bonnie Bling, click here.