Media Release: HIE assists Bute firm with designs on international success

AN island business originally established to provide work for service personnel returning home after the Second World War is to re-energise its brand, aided by £200,000 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

Bute Fabrics, based in Rothesay on Bute, is this year celebrating its 65th birthday.

The company now specialises in designing and manufacturing hard wearing and attractive textiles for the contract upholstery industry.

Today (Wednesday 16 March), the Bute Fabrics mill will be visited by the HIE board and chief executive as part of a wider two-day visit to Argyll and the Islands.

Board members will also meet managing director, James Sprint, to hear the background to the business and its exciting plans for the future.

A modern company with a traditional heritage, Bute Fabrics currently employs 37 staff and works with leading contemporary designers from across the world.

Previous key customers include Hong Kong Airport and Bank of America, with regular clients including architects, furniture designers and interior designers.

To celebrate its milestone birthday, the company has launched 24 new contemporary colours of its most successful product, called Tweed.

James Sprint, managing director at Bute Fabrics, said: “We are delighted to be hosting the HIE board at the factory and have the opportunity to show them first hand what we do.

“Only recently we won a new contract in New York and are looking at further opportunities across Scandinavia and the Far East.”

William Roe, chair of HIE, said: “This visit to Argyll and the Islands will be a great official opportunity to see some of our most ambitious businesses in action and to hear at first hand what they are looking for from Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

“Bute Fabrics has a long history in Rothesay and is one of the key private sector employers on the island. Its plan to pursue opportunities in additional international markets is one we strongly support.”

The HIE baard will follow the tour of Bute Fabrics with a meeting with Bute Community Land Company, before meeting with a cross-section of business from across the island to discuss HIE’s activities in the area.

Day two includes a visit to the renewable energy manufacturing plant at Machrihanish, and meetings with representatives from the Kintyre Development Company and Machrihanish Airbase Community Company.


Notes to editors:

Photographs of the visit will be available from Thursday 17th March. Photographs of Bute Fabrics are also available.

About Bute Fabrics:

Recent clients of Bute Fabrics include JM Architects, who have designed the new Creative Scotland headquarters on Princes Street in Edinburgh. Making use of the natural light in the building and wanting to showcase Scottish textiles, JM Architects chose bright fabric for statement sofas in bright colours and tweeds, supplied by Bute Fabrics.

The company has also developed new ranges for 2011 for two key US customers. Knoll Textiles is adding three new colours to Cato, an archive fabric celebrating its 50th birthday this year and which Bute has been weaving for 18 years. Maharam will be introducing two colourways of a complex doublecloth fabric using heritage British wools, including Jacob’s wool.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) delivers the Scottish Government’s economic strategy by supporting the sustainable growth of ambitious businesses and communities across the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. You can visit our website at and follow us on Facebook at

HIE’s activities contribute to a comprehensive range of measures introduced across the public sector as part of the Scottish Government’s Economic Recovery Plan.

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Contact: HIE Communications
Phone: 01463 244238