Edinburgh cushion retailer takes comfort as sales begin to rise

Edinburgh cushion designer Lesley Pugsley has never been one to take a setback sitting down.
Lesley Pugsley, founder of Edinburgh-based soft furnishings business Baigali DesignsLesley Pugsley, founder of Edinburgh-based soft furnishings business Baigali Designs
Lesley Pugsley, founder of Edinburgh-based soft furnishings business Baigali Designs

When sales of her soft furnishings crashed during lockdown she refused to feel hard done by and instead set about rethinking her business model - focusing on its Scottish roots.

Founder of Baigali Designs, which she runs from her home in Liberton, she is confident the business can emerge from the crisis stronger after overhauling her website and marketing strategy. Lesley and husband Gary set out to create their own brand of ‘rugged elegance’ in 2017, producing a luxury range of handmade cushions and throws inspired by the colours and hues of Scotland’s unique landscapes.

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Although still a small business, commissions, online custom and trading at craft fairs around Scotland had seen sales soar in 2019. Then came the pandemic.

“By the end of April our sales were almost zero. Most of our craft fairs across Scotland - including the Edinburgh Festival - were cancelled and all our shop outlets had been closed. We were in shock like many others around the world. This had happened so quickly,” says Lesley.

As they went into survival mode, the couple started to redefine what was important to them and their customers. As a result, they are no longer sourcing fabrics from around the world, to avoid diluting their brand identity.

“It did not take us long to conclude that we needed to increase our Scottish identity by sourcing our fabrics, packaging, marketing, and website development locally.”

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Orders for Baigali original designs, which use tactile velvets and soft multi-tonal tartans and wool, are already picking up and Lesley is delighted to have some Christmas craft fairs in the diary.

Visit the new website at www.baigalidesigns.com

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