The Orkney based craft entrepreneur: remote yet global?

Andrew McAuley (Department of Marketing, University of Stirlding, Stirlingshire, Scotland, UK)
Ian Fillis (Department of Marketing, University of Stirlding, Stirlingshire, Scotland, UK)

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development

ISSN: 1462-6004

Publication date: 1 December 2005



This paper reports a study of the craft sector in a remote area of Scotland. The objective is to understand what has made the sector in Orkney relatively successful, and whether elements of best practice can be transferred to other parts of Scotland and the UK.


The analysis and discussion is based upon face‐to‐face interviews with public and private payers in the sector and is supplemented by discussions with craftspeople conducted as part of the wider study of which the Orkney story is but one part.


A vibrant and innovative sector, parts of which are global, is revealed as having existed in Orkney for some time. There are, inevitably, some stresses and strains between the main players and different directions in which policy could develop. However, a framework based on businesses at different levels of experience is outlined as the basis for targeted economic intervention in the future.

Research limitations/implications

Further understanding of the craft sector in Orkney could be achieved by conducting a longitudinal study or by exploring specific aspects of the sector, e.g. by looking at the contribution of Orkney College to the emergence of new designers.

Practical implications

If the template, outlined in the paper, were to be implemented then business support for the sector would potentially be improved.


The paper draws together elements of the Orkney story in relation to crafts and provides insights to economic development which potentially has lessons to teach the rest of the sector in Scotland and the UK.



McAuley, A. and Fillis, I. (2005), "The Orkney based craft entrepreneur: remote yet global?", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 12 No. 4, pp. 498-509.

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Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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