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Quality accolade for Highland shop

Press Release   •  Mar 09, 2016 14:15 GMT

One of the Highlands' most renowned ‘estate tweed’ businesses has achieved the highest Quality Assurance (QA) accolade from VisitScotland.

The national tourism organisation presented Campbell’s of Beauly in Inverness-shire its Quality Assurance Five Star Tourist Shop Award, in recognition of its exceptional standards.

A family-owned textile institution, Campbell’s was established in 1858 and changed hands for the first time in its 158-year history in March 2015. Regarded worldwide as the 'Guardians of Tweed', Campbell's is steeped in tradition and history.

A significant amount of investment to refurbish and update the style of Highland Tweed House has taken place, resulting in an eye-catching frontage and redesign of the shop’s interior, combining the traditional and contemporary.

Husband and wife team, John and Nicola Sugden took over the management of Campbell's a year ago. Having grown up in Elgin, John's whole career had been spent in the clothing world, in the sales and marketing field, where menswear has long been his passion. Nicola grew up in the Highlands and spent the last eight years working in the travel industry in London.

Campbell’shas a long history of working with estates, with over 50 currently on their books - from the rocky glens on Scotland's west coast to the grouse moors of Aberdeenshire, as well as further afield. They work closely with one of the most experienced cloth designers in the country to ensure the perfect tweed for the landscape.

Estate tweeds are very much still alive and act as a modern uniform for employees, ghillies and stalkers alike. They are the exclusive patterns of many Scottish estates, some handed down through the generations, which only the estate’s owners and workers are entitled to wear.

Developed and improved over the past 25 years, VisitScotland’s Quality Assurance (QA) schemes are world-leading and provide a trusted, independent and impartial source of information for visitors. They allow businesses not just to meet visitor expectations, but exceed them.

QA can open the door to new customers. It is a powerful marketing tool and works well with online review sites in using an independent perspective to measure visitor experience against tried and tested criteria so visitors know exactly what to expect.

The exceptional quality of Campbell’s of Beauly’s merchandise and gifts and the variety of items suitable for all visitors, interests and budgets was highlighted by VisitScotland in the QA report. Staff members were also praised for their exceptional customer care skills and cheerful and friendly manner, as well as polite and helpful service.

Nicola Sugden, who co-owns Campbell’s, said:

“The Campbell's team are delighted at the award, which is testament to the efforts of all our retail and tailoring staff. We have been extremely pleased with the progress of the business within our first 12 months, and with the valued support from James Sugden OBE, as well as the continued guidance from the Campbell family, sales growth is up on last year.

“There has been an upsurge of interest in tweed; both our tailoring orders, and the retail have benefited from this trend. The five-star award will enable us to attract a wider and more diverse audience to Campbell’s and will increase Beauly’s visibility on the tourism map.”

Scott Armstrong, VisitScotland Regional Partnerships Director, said:

“This wonderful shop in the heart of the Highlands thoroughly deserves its five star recognition, as its dedicated staff clearly offer visitors exceptional standards.

“In Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, it is perfect that Campbell’s of Beauly, who are creating innovative designs all the time, particularly along the estate tweed line, have achieved this award.

“It is vital that everyone involved in tourism works together to offer visitors a fantastic experience when visiting and staying in the Highlands, to strengthen our tourism offering.

Our Quality Assurance scheme helps businesses to reach their full potential and truly shine. The scheme is about more than just the ‘stars’ on the door - it’s about the entire visitor experience, about investing in your business and making it as economically sustainable as it can possibly be.”

For more information, visit

Caption: Pictured at Campbells of Beauly are (L-R):  Nicola Sugden, Lynn Wemyss, Hannah Murray, Karen Macdonald, John Sugden

Notes to Editors

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    Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016

  • 2016 will shine a spotlight on Scotland’s achievements in innovation, architecture and design through a wide-ranging, variety of new and existing activity.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design begins on 1 January 2016 and ends on 31 December 2016 and will build on the momentum generated by the current 2015 Year of Food and Drink as well as previous years including Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
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