40 years on, Lesley celebrates shop’s long life


By Roz Macaskill

A popular fixture for customers near Armadale pier, ‘ragamuffin’ turns 40 this year!

Created by Lesley Robertson in 1978, ‘ragamuffin’ has evolved to specialise in handmade Scottish and Irish knitwear, alongside clothing made from natural fibres in Europe.

A workshop became available in Ardvasar and, in 1978, Lesley set up ‘ragamuffin’. "I started making things in the workshop and people would come in, be intrigued and ask to buy them," she explains. "When I couldn't keep up with demand and kept selling out, I realised it was time to source stock from other, like-minded makers."

After moving to premises on the pier, it was Lesley's own designs that gave the shop its distinctive style and reputation for vibrancy. Lesley says: "People come into the shop today saying the jacket they bought 30 years ago is still going strong, or that they wished we still made our smocks. It's very flattering!"

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The colours of cleanliness

From the edge of the world, the Isle of Skye Soap Company was founded, its aim - to provide hand crafted aromatherapy soap, without colouring and using only the purest essential oils.

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Andrea loves helping to create your homes

By Roz Macaskill

When your great-grandfather was a window dresser, maybe it's not so surprising that you excel at creating a welcoming shop display.

Such is the case for Andrea Matheson, owner of Portree and Balmacara shops Home In The Highlands.

"I love doing the displays in the shop and arranging everything," Andrea says. "I only recently discovered my great-grandfather worked as a window dresser. It was quite a profession in the early 1900's and it's really weird that I enjoy that part of shop-keeping so much!"

Andrea's carefully-chosen items appeal to locals and tourists. She says: "There is a lovely selection of tartan throws and cushions in beautiful, muted colours, thistles, stags and Highland cows, and a few local and Scottish-made items - perfect as a souvenir and reminder of your holiday in the Highlands."

Read more: Andrea loves helping to create your homes

Skye’s not the limit for candle company!


By Roz Macaskill

The lovingly-crafted products from the Isle of Skye Candle Company means you can take a little scented piece of Skye with you, wherever you go.

The company, founded by James Robertson, create all their products from start to finish on Skye, with the heart of their business based in Broadford. Over the last five years popular demand has led to the opening of four other stores on the mainland in Glasgow, Edinburgh, St. Andrews and Inverness.

Their popular Scottish Collection conjures up nostalgic aromas that were created with the island in mind and promise to leave you thinking of Skye long after your holiday has ended.

James says: "Alongside the Scottish Collection sits our classic range of 19 unique fragrances so that, whatever your taste, there's a Skye Candle for you!"

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Enthusiasm unbound…Sarah’s love of clothes 

By Roz Skinner

Looking back, Sarah Macdonald was always going to have a career that involved clothes.

Sarah, the owner of clothes shop Floraidh Skye, says: "I was one of those kids who played dressing up in my mother's outfits and was always thinking of how garments looked."

Sarah's early interest led her to Edinburgh College of Art to study fashion and then on to work as a designer for a cashmere knitwear company for 20 years.  The experience gave Sarah a skill for determining which colours work together, an appreciation for the value and production of clothes and a deep-rooted love of garments.

Circumstances soon prompted her and her family to move, from just outside Edinburgh, back to her old home on the Isle of Skye.  In 2015, Sarah bought the existing business, Floraidh Skye, and unleashed her love of clothes once again.

Read more: Enthusiasm unbound…Sarah’s love of clothes