Nith Valley Embroidery in Sanquhar has received a £15,000 grant from the economic and community development agency, South of Scotland Enterprise.

The embroidery company, owned by Nan McKenzie, provides embroidered schoolwear and workwear, and personalised embroidered gifts, as well as baby and childrenswear.

“We saw an advert in our local newspaper for the grant and decide to apply,” explained Nan.  

“It was very straightforward — we talked with the South of Scotland Enterprise team, and filled in an online form detailing where the money would be used and how it would benefit the community.”

With the grant, Nan has purchased a Happy eight-head embroidery machine from Midwest Machinery, which will work alongside her company’s single-head and four-head SWF embroidery machines, Happy single-head embroidery machine and SWF Mas-12 single-head automatic embroidery machine.

Having previously worked for Tesco for 28 years, Nan bought Nith Valley Embroidery over two years ago from its previous owner, who had ran the company for over 20 years providing mainly schoolwear and workwear.

“After my first year, I hired a young local girl Heather Grierson, who has become a great asset to my business, and this year my husband also came to work full-time with us,” added Nan.

“We have had very good support in our local communities — we post on Instagram and Facebook, and get a lot of orders this way and have built up our workwear customers.”

Nan has also recently been working with the owners of Mrs Howat’s Vintage Barbers in Dumfries, who became viral TikTok stars during the coronavirus lockdown period, and so wanted to create merchandise for their fans.  

“We supply most of their merchandise using their geometric fox logo — it’s been very exciting, and we do realise how lucky we’ve been during this tough period.”