Orkney jewellery manufacturer Ortak Ltd is set to double its workforce after securing a major licensing contract to produce branded jewellery and giftware inspired by Historic Environment Scotland (HES) properties.
The deal will see Ortak create around 500 new products over the next five years, with the design of each item reflecting some element of the historic properties and attractions under the organisation’s care.
As part of the contract, Ortak is licensed to sell the HES inspired jewellery and gifts online and through its three retail outlets in Orkney and Caithness.
In addition, the Kirkwall-based firm will be able to offer the HES range directly to commercial buyers globally, via a new dedicated trade website launching this week.
Ortak’s owner, Mike Gardens, said the HES deal had been around a year in the planning and was a significant achievement for his team.
“We’re really delighted to be able to announce this agreement with HES,” he said. “We’ve worked with HES for a while now, creating a small number of bespoke products that have always been popular with customers, but we always felt there was the potential to do more jointly. We started discussions with HES on a plan to design and sell new items around a year ago, just before the pandemic hit, but everyone’s continued to work hard behind the scenes to bring this fantastic project to fruition.
“Throughout the 60 year history of Ortak, we’ve drawn much inspiration from Orkney’s past, and the unique natural environment of the islands, so we’ve got a particular appreciation of the need to properly protect and manage Scotland’s historic attractions. The fact we’ll be able to sell the HES inspired designs through our own shops and website, and via our new trade site, ensures a global market for the products and maximum exposure for the vital work HES does.”
Mike added: “It’s going to keep us very busy over the next few years - we’re looking at increasing our workforce from 20 to at least 40 – but we’ve got considerable experience in meeting large scale orders, with a high-tech design process and rapid turnaround on patterns that we combine with the more traditional jewellery making skills we’re well known for.”
Natasha Troitino, head of retail and product licensing at HES, said: “We are delighted to have signed this license with Ortak. It is a great addition to our portfolio, and we look forward to working together with Ortak to develop these ranges.
“As an organisation we’re always keen wherever possible to provide a platform for Scottish businesses and by bringing Orkney’s heritage, rich culture and Ortak’s craftsmanship together we very much hope it will reach as wide an audience as possible.”