We’re a small family business run by husband and wife team Pat & Graeme with our son Andrew involved too. Projecting a passion for Scotland, we take pride in showcasing some of the best brands and designers that Scotland has to offer.
Our shop located within Edinburgh Airport, however, we have two shops under our sister brand - Liquorice Tree Gifts - within The Old Town, Edinburgh and Glasgow's west end.
Scottish Fine Gifts was established in 2007 and this is our story!
Working for a major airline for nearly 25 years, I naturally spent loads of time in airports. I was surprised and disappointed that the products on sale in the airport shops did not always reflect the quality of products that I had seen during my time in the country. Scotland was no different.
In 2007 I got the chance to change that when the airline outsourced the work undertaken by all 220 of my team based at Edinburgh Airport. The options were to move to the head office in London, become Cabin Crew or take the redundancy money.
I heard that the gift shop at Edinburgh Airport was closing and knew this was my chance. I scoured the country for fabulous products and presented my vision to the airport retail team and I was lucky enough to get the unit.
Fortunately, my husband Graeme was very supportive and let me spend all my redundancy money (and the rest!) on the shop fit and filling the shop with all the fabulous things I had sourced.
Marina worked for the outgoing gift shop and agreed to come and work for me as the Shop Manager and brought her bubbly personality and amazing knowledge of retail with her, from years of working with Jenner’s both in their flagship store and at the airport.
I brought my extensive shopaholic skills, customer service background and the love of Scotland. Together we created the type of shop we would like to visit.
Liquorice Tree opened at Edinburgh Airport in November 2007 bringing travelers a collection of beautiful products made by Scottish artists, designers and manufacturers. The centre piece was a table made from fallen Scottish elm with a wrought iron tree centerpiece that looked like it was made out of Liquorice- hence the name of our shop.
I’m so pleased to say Marina and I are still at the airport, but a lot has changed.
2009 Onwards and upwards
Never an airport to stand still, in 2009 Edinburgh Airport Ltd wanted to improve the customer experience and our shop was in the way of the new security hall! Fortunately, they also wanted to improve the retail experience, so we moved from our small shop before security to a new, much larger unit in the departure lounge.
This let us expand our range and we brought in loads of new products. I think Marina was delighted as she kept telling me the shop wasn’t a Tardis! (For non-Dr Who fans it’s a fictional time machine and space craft used in the British Dr Who TV show. It looks like on old police box on the outside but is much bigger on the inside; containing an apparently infinite amount of space- sorry Marina.)
So many of our customers were frustrated that they couldn’t shop with us unless they were travelling through Edinburgh Airport. In 2009 We offered our products online for the first time.
It’s a Family affair
Having helped out on a part time basis with the administrative challenges of an ever-increasing business, as well as helping us source gents’ products that guys would be happy to receive; it became apparent that Graeme could add more to the business on a full-time basis. With years of experience as a Sales Manager he came on board looking after our IT and Finance.
Loads of people told me that you should never work with family, but years later we are still married! We have two dogs Brodie & Bailey who often pop in to the shop to get fussed over.
2009 Pop up
We were excited to be asked to do a pop-up shop at Glasgow Airport when they had one of their units become available for a few months- we ended up being there of over a year. It was interesting how different the customer profile is between Edinburgh And Glasgow Airport. Far more sun seekers in Glasgow! We had a great time there and hope to go back one day.
2013 Go West
Despite our online presence some of our customers told us they wanted to pop into a bricks and mortar shop, so we decided it was time to expand. Sometimes when we were looking for new products, we found wonderful things that weren’t made in Scotland. We knew our customers wouldn’t get too annoyed with a wider range of gorgeous items. We just couldn't stop at beautiful Scottish things!
In May 2013 we opened at 431 Great Western Road in Glasgow, beside Kelvinbridge subway. This brought added complexity to the company, but we learned that if we stuck to the same principles with our buying – quality, value and things we loved, we would be okay on the high street.
At the airport customers expected to find a Scottish gift shop and were seeking out the products we were selling. On the high street we quickly discovered it was a different ball game. We had to let people know who we were and what we were about. Marketing, window displays, events social media etc. were all new to us, but the Glasgow team rose to the challenge and we have gone from strength to strength. The local community has really supported us which is great, and we are happy to still be going strong 6 years later.
2014 Ryder Cup
We were very excited to open a pop-up POD at Edinburgh airport to celebrate the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles. We worked with some top Scottish golf brands and showcased Lochcarron Ryder Cup Tartan products. Team Europe and Team USA fans alike were supporters and it was a big hit.
2016 The Old town calls
What a year! We moved into our gorgeous shop on Cockburn Street in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town. What a fantastic location. The reaction was amazing, and we are fortunate to be surrounded by loads of amazing independent businesses. Since then even more of them have opened, making Cockburn Street a real shopping destination. There are so many ‘traditional Scottish souvenir’ shops in the Old Town and we definitely didn’t want to go down that road, so we decided to offer the best of both the Airport and Glasgow shops. We have tried to strike a balance between the Scottish gifts we sell at the airport and the products we are selling in our Glasgow branch to reflect the really mixed group of customers that visit our street.
2016 It's all in the name
“No we aren’t a sweet shop, yes we do sell Liquorice”
Not sure how many times I have heard the team say this to customers.
We opened up a new shop at 29 Cockburn Street in May 2016 and though it made sense to add the word ‘Gifts’ to the shop name. So, we renamed the shops Liquorice Tree Gifts.
2016 On the move again
Yet again our partners at Edinburgh Airport wanted to expand and this involved a move to the other end of the terminal.
It felt like the right time to change the name of the airport shop. The gorgeous ‘Liquorice Tree’ that graced our big shop just wouldn’t fit and was sent to its new home in Cockburn Street. We wanted to make it clear to our customers what were about (especially as many didn’t have English as their first language). Scottish Fine Gifts does what it says on the tin! We aligned both brands with a fabulous black and white design.
Although our new location is a smaller shop it is in a very busy part of the airport. It was hard to drop some of our suppliers as we were like a mini department store in the big shop. We did feel like our offering was a bit overwhelming sometimes, so we set off condensing the offering to the best of the best that Scotland has to offer. We love our new home opposite gate 7.
2017 History revealed
We were excited to expand our retail space in the Glasgow shop and opened our downstairs shop on a permanent basis in 2017. Normally this space would be the Liquorice Tree Xmas Shop from October to December, but we felt it was a waste not using it all year round.
During the refurb I took a hammer to a big hunk of concrete sticking out of the wall as it was spoiling my plans for the run of new units. I was delighted to find an old fireplace behind it. How perfect - as we intended to use downstairs for homeware.
The fireplace had carvings on it which we thought might give us a clue about who and when the fireplace was put in. We were delighted to discover that it said A Baird 18?? Our sleuthing discovered an old copy of the Scottish Post Office Directory from 1828 -1912 which showed that Alexander Baird & Sons were artistic stationers who printed Xmas cards. This was backed up by some information on show in the Glasgow University Museum that’s just around the corner from the shop.
It just seemed so appropriate that we now have the fireplace gracing our lovely Xmas and Homeware shop. It’s very Instagram worthy.
2019 New Websites
How the world has changed. Our first website was updated over the years, but we wanted a responsive site that better reflected our new Scottish Fine Gifts brand - so here it is! We hope you enjoy. Pat x