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Double the joy you spread by island s-hopping for gifts

Rhoda Meek

If you're exchanging gifts, and you'd like some inspiration - read on to find out how you can double the gift giving joy by shopping with small independent island businesses.

2020 has been a challenging year. That's a phrase that's both an understatement and very well worn at this stage. It's been challenging for so many, in lots of different ways. This is particularly the case for small businesses, including those in island communities who have had a much shorter, quieter season, compared to previous years.

These small businesses are an important part of our economy and indeed our communities. According to the FSB, the latest stats show there's 5.94 million small businesses across the UK* - and here in Scotland they account for 99.3%** of the country's private sector and employ 60% of the workforce***.

Less official statistics show that when you support a small business, a real person does a little happy dance. To keep those small business owners dancing happy dances, the website was set up just 8 months ago to connect shoppers with gifts, products and produce from over 130 island businesses across thirty Scottish islands.

If you happen to be surfing the net for gifts at the moment - website will help you find, select and send the best and most beautiful island produce direct to your door or the door of a loved one. In doing so, you'll be giving back and supporting those businesses and local communities that you've perhaps not been able to visit this year.

Tiree Tea

So, sit back and take a digital daunder into and explore everything that this incredibly talented community has to offer. You can shop by island - from Bute in the south to Barra in the north. Search by category to find everything from high end art to novelty earrings and gifts under £10. Not only does it offer something for everyone, it also shines a light on those products you didn't know existed, which could be from islands you've yet to visit. was set up by Rhoda Meek of  Tiree Tea just a few short months ago. Rhoda knew isle20 would be good idea but even she had underestimated the breadth and variety of businesses operating across the island community.

The story started in the early days of the pandemic, when Rhoda realised the impact COVID19 was likely to have on travel and tourism. While surveying her own stock, she joked in a message to friends that she should pull together a directory of island businesses so that people could still go shopping on the islands virtually if they couldn't come and visit this year. That remark turned out to be a great idea and she got to work. Within seven weeks 360 businesses had joined.

As soon as you've finished reading this, visit . It's the perfect way to combine gift giving with supporting our talented island communities. You can also shop per region with the interactive Isle20 map.


• Federation for Small Business

** Federation for Small Business

*** Fraser of Allander


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