Botanic Isles Is a Real Jewel of Scots NatureNeil Hardie
The owner of an Angus jewellery brand has her sights set on making it a £1m business in the next two years.
Laura Cooke set up Botanic Isles in 2017 after a number of “thankless” waitressing jobs.
The brand specialises in hand-picked Scottish botanicals preserved into jewellery using eco-friendly resin.
It is now taking between £10,000 and £20,000 every month.
Laura estimates the business, based in Kirriemuir, will be worth £1 million by 2023.
The 28-year-old set up the company in 2017 after quitting a “thankless” job as a waitress.
Laura, who grew up in Glasgow, said: “I was a waitress and I found it was a really thankless job where I was working 15 or 16 hours a day.
“I noticed that most resin jewellery was of poor quality and I knew I had to change things.
“Over the next two years I honed my craft and began to sell at markets.
“The National Trust for Scotland saw my jewellery and invited me on board.
“It was a big confidence boost in that we had a unique product that people really wanted to buy.
“We began to supply to over 200 shops around the world.”
The jump from selling items to having a presence in hundreds of stores was a stressful one at first, Laura added.
“I remember being so stressed as I was making all the items and shipping them all out.
“Each item can take up to two weeks to make but we have skilled staff, such as Lynsey Chapman, who is a world class resin jewellery maker.”
Laura said it is a dream to create a forget-me-not farm in Angus.
She explained: “When people see tulip fields near Amsterdam, I’d love for people to come and see the forget-me-not fields in Angus.
“It would bring in revenue to the area as well.”
Laura has been inspired by award-winning designer Sheila Fleet, who recently opened a shop in St Andrews.
She added: “I really like how she brought a lot of commerce to Orkney. I feel quite passionate about doing that for Angus.”
Laura moved to Angus after suffering serious leg injuries in a dog attack the day before her 22nd birthday.
She said: “It was absolutely horrific – it really badly mauled my legs.
“I had to go to hospital. It was really traumatising.
“Afterwards I just wanted to get away. I moved to Angus and I’ve fallen in love with the place.”
Laura also explained how growing up “not having a lot” has made her determined to make a success of Botanic Isles.
She said: “When I was growing up, people used to chap the door and ask if they could cut our grass and I was really inspired by that working class hustle.
“I really looked up to those people.”
But she is not content with her success so far.
“I don’t feel proud of myself whatsoever,” she said. “I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished anything yet.”
As well as creating a forget-me-not farm, Laura wants to open her own shop in the future.
She said: “We are now ready to move onto the next stage of our business and looking into getting our own premise in the next few years.”