Updated: Sep 10, 2020
1. Tell us a bit about you i.e are you native to Dunoon or have you moved here from elsewhere? What did you do before you set up your current business?
I am originally from Livingston, but have spent most of my life living in the Western Isles. I moved to Kirn with my partner in February 2018 to set up Wreckspeditions.
I have been working on boats since I was 13. My first real job was on a fish farm, which is where I received my power boat training. Every company I have worked for has involved boats and with each job has come more training. I have worked on fishing vessels and off shore emergency recovery vessels patrolling the oil rigs. When I relocated to London I got a job as First Mate on the Thames clippers.
2. What sparked your business idea? i.e Did you take on a family business; did you head out on a new adventure; or did circumstances force you to adapt?
My partner has an expertise in diving, dive charters and archaeology. We combined our skills and joint passion for the water to create Wreckspeditions in July 2017.
Our original plan was to go all over the UK offering dive charters. We very quickly we realised this wasn't going to work, but we could see the huge potential of the Clyde and the Holy Loch for the business, so we decided to base our operation here. We specialise in dive charters and power boat rides, taking visitors from across the globe to locations on the Clyde, so they can enjoy the amazing natural and nautical heritage of this area.
3. What was the best piece of business advice you have been given and who gave it to you?
I guess the best piece of business advice and encouragement for Wreckspeditions has come from my mum. She has always encouraged me to take risks and focus on the things that I am passionate about. My family is good at just making things work and finding a way.
4. What challenges have you faced to make use of online resources or promote your business digitally?
We needed to invest time in identifying the right platforms to use to connect to our global customer base. We now know Facebook is important, but we also know that a website is necessary if you want to be acknowledged and found on Google, so we had to invest time and money in both of these platforms.
I now have loads of brilliant reviews from customers on Facebook and I am working on getting more people to leave reviews on Trip Advisor and Google. We rank number one for Outdoor Activities on Trip Advisor for this area, with 56 reviews and we have 34 brilliant customer reviews on Google. It all helps!
We have also been working really hard on broadening the reach of our social media posts. By tagging other businesses and using hashtags in our Instagram and Twitter posts we have seen an increase in views and this has resulted in some great coverage. For example, we posted about the Bouncing Bombs in Loch Striven that we had been diving.
By tagging in Historic Scotland and Castle House Museum and by adding hashtags we have seen loads more likes. This resulted in the BBC's Social Media channels contacting us, which is going to give us even more coverage.
5. What is unique or interesting about running a business here in Dunoon? (if you have a story that highlights this, we’d love to hear it?
Every time I am out on the water is a highlight. Seeing people come here and enjoy the water is huge for me.
It has also been great to get to know a lot of other businesses locally, such as Argyll Print and Design who do our signage, flyers and t-shirts. We also have good relationships with accommodation providers who are now organising discounts for divers and we are giving discounts to their customers, so we are part of a growing community of businesses.
Personally, the best experience was a trip I did with the pupils at Sandbank Primary school last year. We took them out on Holy Loch and it was great to hear that so many of them are interested in the water, with quite a few interested in Marine Biology, which is so positive.
6. Tell us the one thing about your business that you are most proud of?
I am proud of the fact that we are making a real name for ourselves and for the Clyde as a diving destination. There has not been a power boat charter on this part of the Clyde for 10 years, so it is great to be bringing that back and to be sharing this area’s amazing maritime heritage with people again.
7. What changes do you think could help sustain and develop Dunoon as a place to do business?
I think a lot needs to be done to help people running businesses feel positive about the area again. Businesses need help, but they also need to be more proactive in making connections with each other and marketing what this area has to offer.
8. What support do you think is missing for small businesses in the Dunoon Area?
It would be great if more attention was paid to how we get more businesses involved in using the water. This needs support and collaboration to make the most of the area's piers and slip ways.
9. What are your key business goals over the next 12 months?
We have plans to start offering power boat courses. We now have the Dive Club meeting at 7pm each Wednesday (this was taking place in The Crown, but obviously meeting up is a bit tricky right now). We are really keen to get folk involved in different water sports, exploring new diving sites and building connections between the islands, so that we can offer visitors and locals more variety. This will all help us to grow as a business. At the moment we have one boat called Starfish Enterprise - I am hoping that we might need a bigger one soon!
10. Promote your business. Tell people why we should come to you?
Wreckspeditions offers one of the most adrenaline filled and interesting experiences on the Clyde. This area has amazing heritage, which includes multiple shipwrecks, light houses, castles and wildlife. We can show it all to you.
Book boat trips and diving with Wreckspeditions