Revitalised Orkney jewellery brand, Ortak, is relocating back home to its former premises in Kirkwall, it was announced this week.
Ortak’s move, from its current workshop in the town’s Great Western Road to the much larger building on the edge of the Hatston Industrial Estate, will allow the company to move ahead with plans to expand production and its range of trade services.
The Hatston factory and visitor centre were mothballed after the original Ortak business fell into administration in March of 2013.
In May of the following year, the Ortak brand – including the intellectual property rights, and original designs and patterns of the jewellery moulds and drawings – was bought over by a group of investors who formed a new company, Ortak Ltd, backed by a £136,400 grant from development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).
Since then, the new company has steadily worked towards regaining its share of the UK jewellery market.
“We were at capacity in our current workshop and had to put plans for further growth on hold because of the space limitations,” said Ortak managing director, Michael Gardens. “When the opportunity arose to rent part of what used to be the Ortak factory and visitor centre at Hatston, we jumped at it.
“This future proofs the business,” he added. “Previously, we had four jewellery benches in our workshop. Now we have 30. Although we’re renting just part of the former Ortak premises, it’s still ten times bigger than where we’re based at the moment, so it’s going to make a massive difference to all the team and to the business. There’s also a strong sense that Ortak is coming home, given the significance of the Hatston building in the brand’s 50 year history.”
Mr Gardens said the new factory would be operational by 1 June, with plans to open the site’s shop in around three weeks. Ortak’s existing retail outlet in Kirkwall’s Albert Street will remain open.