A LOCAL textiles company has been awarded a royal seal of approval for its contribution to international trade, securing ‘the UK’s highest accolade for business success’.
J&D Wilkie Limited, a family business which has been operating from Kirriemuir for 144 years, has been singled out for a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade.
The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise honour outstanding UK companies and encourage the development of British business.
They are awarded to businesses in three categories: international trade, innovation and sustainable development.
The awards are the UK’s highest accolade for business success.
They are made each year by The Queen, on the advice of the Prime Minister, who is assisted by an Advisory Committee that includes representatives of Government, industry and commerce, and the trade unions. Winners are announced each year on 21 April, Her Majesty’s birthday.
Originally established in 1868, J&D Wilkie now manufactures technical textiles with a primary market for filtration fabrics. The company also designs and manufactures ballistic and stab resistant body armour vests under the brand name of Jack Ellis.
The company wins the award for the first time for its outstanding commercial success achieved through the implementation of a clear strategy for each of the company’s three business units and the introduction of combined, shared production between the UK and China.
The resulting growth that the company has seen is paralleled by growth in overseas sales of 207% over the last three years.
The company set up production in China five years ago in response to market demand, enabling them to become a global supplier for the technical textiles market and resulting in increased activity in Kirriemuir.
The award coincides with their recent investment of £0.5m in a state-of-the-art yarn spinning unit in their factory in China, which will help secure the raw materials required for Kirriemuir.
In Europe, the market is concentrated in Germany and, over the past three years, Wilkie has seen a steady increase in their export sales. To meet demand, investment of £300K has also been made in Kirriemuir.
Bob Low, managing director, J&D Wilkie said: “We are delighted to have won this highly prestigious award.
“The investment is only one side of the business - the other side is our people and our philosophy.
“Our sales have increased and we have taken a bigger share of the market and this award is a tremendous credit to the team behind that.
“Each and every one of our 90 employees in Kirriemuir should feel proud of the contribution they have made to achieve this.
“Looking ahead, in what remains a challenging climate, we are confident that we have the correct structure in place to equip us to continue to compete aggressively for market share.”