Who are Prickly Thistle? We are the rebel tartan brand based in the Highlands of Scotland who have a vision to restore the weaving of tartan to its ancestral home by building a weaving mill. This will be the first weaving mill to have been built in centuries in this region.
On the 14th October 2017 we shared with the world that the Highlands of Scotland had not woven its cloth of identity, tartan, for decades. We took a stance that day and we started the Highland Tartan Uprising.
It was a stance that was not only about preserving our heritage and culture but also a voice for the future. We’d recognised that as well as bringing tartan weaving home, this industry had to innovate like never before.
So, we needed to once again value and use our native natural resources while at the same time inject a new wave of design into one of the oldest cloth designs in the world – through this we could create tartan textiles products that disrupted all stereotypes.
Our original plan to build the Black House Mill on the Black Isle remains unchanged, and this will happen just a little later than we originally planned. But to grow our business from a design studio to an operational mill is something that we have not given up on.
As a result of the support we've received from all of our original backers, we are committed to raising the essential funds we need to build the Black House Mill including via Kickstarter. Our aim is to have this building finished for a grand opening - a grand opening where all backers will be invited!
This Plan B Kickstarter campaign has been launched to allow us to start raising the funds required to do this. Through the sale of our exclusive product collection, all profits will be invested in the new mill. We have split the cost of the project to allow us to raise specific amounts for each aspect of the Black House Mill.
We've decided to build the mill in a number of steps while a pop-up mill allows us to get going with the great Highland Tartan Uprising. The first step starts with us looking to raise £40,000 for the West Wing. The West Wing will be used to customise all of our clients' finished tartan products using the cloth we have woven in the Highlands. The full building fund requirement is shown below.
As the Black House Mill will take longer than originally planned, Plan B is also about seizing the opportunity to start weaving tartan cloth in a temporary home as quick as we can, allowing us to deliver on campaign rewards and grow our business to generate further funds to build the Black House Mill.
As a direct result of our first campaign, we are thrilled to share with you that two original backers from the Highlands have joined our team. With their financial support and that of our local government agency that now supports our ambitious business, we are delighted to announce that we are now preparing a pop-up mill, which is 12 miles from the site of the Black House Mill.
When we had our first campaign to start this disruption in October 2017, we were overwhelmed by support from all over the world. The successes we gained have shown our vision has not gone unnoticed. Prior to its launch we shared the challenges and difficulties we faced in raising the finances that are required to build a new weaving mill and this is why we sought support via Kickstarter. With over 850 backers in the first campaign, we not only made new friends but we also broke down many of the financial barriers that existed in Scotland for the textiles industry.
With our pop-up mill due to be operational in March 2018, it will facilitate on site tartan design services, cloth manufacturing and bespoke finished product manufacturing all under one Highland roof. Initially we will be weaving with traditional boat shuttle looms relocated from around the UK, looms that date back to the early 20th Century. We will also have a product manufacturing workshop that will be the creative hub, where we will make the most stunning tartan products, from show stopping fashion pieces to the most sought after interior design essentials.
It will be in the pop-up mill that your tartan rewards will be made with Highland passion, but be assured, when the time comes to move into the Black House Mill we will move all our operations home.
We extend our heartfelt thanks for the overwhelming support we received from around the world during our first campaign. Each and every backer touched our hearts and have inspired us to continue with this uprising.
With this next step, we would love all to stay with us, and of course welcome all new rebels to join the cause. We believe this uprising is something worth fighting for and invite you all to be part of the crowd that changed the history of Scotland.
We will also commit to ensuring that all of our Kickstarter supporters are invited to the Black House Mill grand opening. On the day we'll have a true Highland Fling which we hope will mark an important time in history, with the most important people all being there!
In return for your support we wanted to make sure you are rewarded with limited edition one off luxury gifts and keepsakes that exude the ethos of the Highland brand we are creating.
Exclusively designed by Prickly Thistle, these are all created from available local raw materials and brought to life through highly skilled craftsmanship - all based in the Scottish Highlands.
As well as your reward, all of our build the mill founders will be entered into our Highland Register. This is a founding record of everyone far and wide that believed in the purpose of this project, and the special nature of our Highland location. It will be proudly displayed at both the pop-up mill and then at the Black House Milll when complete.
THE HIGHLAND REGISTER - DIGITAL AND PARCHMENT COPY - £25
Be part of the fabric of this story and secure your entry in to our Highland Register. You will receive a digital copy of your personal certificate via e-mail. With your entry featuring in the displayed register at the mill. We also offer the same reward with a parchment copy of your certificate presented in its own gift box. A sample of the certificate is shown below.
THE BLACK HOUSE MILL TARTAN TIE - £45
A classic and essential wardrobe accessory for all, our collection of woollen ties will be made with worsted quality cloth woven in the Highlands. These will be made with the Black House Mill tartan design, making it the perfect subtle and stylish accessory partner.
Clare's style edit for traditional neck ties is that these could be for any man or woman. Worn traditionally or loosely, make a statement. You will also be included in our Highland Register, and receive a digital copy of your certificate via e-mail.
THE BLACK HOUSE MILL PENNY - £55
Using authentic Highland black slate, we have designed a limited edition penny just for you. The penny is based on an old Scots Penny, the currency in circulation at the time the steading was first built when the annual rent for the land was One Penny Scots, hence our limited edition offer to you. The penny is engraved with the Prickly Thistle emblem and on the reverse each penny has its unique edition number. Each penny is cut to 38mm in diameter and 5mm thick.
The penny is mounted so that is can be worn as a jewellery accessory, as a key ring or simply treasured in its gift box. You will also be included in our Highland Register, and receive a digital copy of your certificate via e-mail.
THE BLACK HOUSE MILL TARTAN - FABRIC BY THE METRE - £65
This will only ever be available as fabric by the metre for this campaign. Our exclusive design has been created to celebrate the Tartan Uprising in the Highlands of Scotland. Woven in a highly durable 100% pure wool quality, this cloth will be perfect for the inner artisan in us all. Ideal for fashion and interior projects, each metre will come with a limited edition label.
You will also be included in our Highland Register, and receive a digital copy of your certificate via e-mail.
THE BLACK HOUSE MILL PIN - £90
Our bespoke and hand crafted pin made in the Highlands from authentic Highland black slate. Styled as the official Prickly Thistle Black House Pin it incorporates our emblem in a subtle manner, presented in its own presentation box. Each pin is 82mm long and 6mm deep.
This can be worn with kilts, scarves, overcoats, in fact anything you desire to style with something authentically unique and bespoke. You will also be included in our Highland Register, and receive a digital copy of your certificate via e-mail.
THE SHUTTLE WALL - £245
Your name will be engraved onto two stunning solid Scottish oak weaving boat shuttles, one of which will feature within our pop-up mill initially and then relocated to the Shuttle Wall of the Black House Mill. The second boat shuttle will be gift boxed and posted to you as a keepsake and reminder of being part of the fabric of our mill.
A boat shuttle is the tool designed to carry the yarns during the weft weaving process on traditional looms. Shuttles are thrown or passed back and forth through the shed by the loom, and with each passing the full tartan design comes to life as a finished cloth. We hope this reward will truly bring part of our mill to your world. Each shuttle also includes a small oak prop piece, allowing you to use the shuttle as either a tablet or book stand.
Each boat shuttle is hand turned on the Black Isle just a few fields away from the mill, and has a finished size of 450mm in length. The width and depth are both 48mm. They also feature our Prickly Thistle emblem, which is also engraved just above your name. With this reward, you will be included in our Highland Register, and receive a digital copy of your certificate via e-mail.
THE BLACK HOUSE MILL SCARF - £245
Clare has always loved a scarf of a seriously oversized style. We have created for this campaign an exclusive opportunity to purchase a scarf in the Black House Mill tartan. This must have fashion item will be made from 100% pure merino wool, and comes with mighty dimensions. You will have 3 metres of length by 0.75 metres of width to play with every time you wear this.
Clare wants you to have fun with the infinite ways of styling this garment. With this reward, you will be included in our Highland Register, and receive a digital copy of your certificate via e-mail.
THE BLACK HOUSE MILL TARTAN - NEW RULES SKIRT - £265
As featured on Landward and in our Outlander thank you film, we received many requests to purchase this skirt as designed and worn by Clare in both. This skirt will be made with Black House Mill tartan using a worsted medium weight quality cloth. The skirt features two leather kilt straps and buckles as side fastening, giving you the flexibility to wear on your waist or your hips. Each skirt will be made to measure using your specific measurements.
With this reward, you will be included in our Highland Register, and receive a digital copy of your certificate via e-mail.
THE HIGHLAND 14 TARTAN COLLECTION - £500
Be part of a mill founding tartan collection, which is limited to 14 designs only. Each of the 14 designs will be inspired by you and for this pledge your date of birth and a colour of choice will be incorporated into an officially registered in Scotland tartan.
You will be presented with a copy of the official registration certificate and will receive a limited edition scarf woven with the finest merino yarns. Your scarf will be cut from one of the first cloths to be woven in the new mill, the scarf dimensions will be 2 metres in length by 0.45 metres wide. You will also be included in our Highland Register, and receive a digital copy of your certificate via e-mail.
THE BLACK HOUSE MILL BUNDLE - £1,000
Our Black House Bundle will feature an exclusive collection of campaign rewards, that when bought as a bundle you save £155.
The bundle comprises of a Black House Mill tartan tie, two pennies, one metre of worsted Black House Mill tartan fabric, two pins, one seriously oversized merino scarf in the Black House Mill tartan, one ladies new rules skirt in the Black House Mill tartan and your name on two boat shuttles.You will also be included in our Highland Register, and receive a digital copy of your certificate via e-mail.
THE BLACK HOUSE MILL TARTAN - 21ST CENTURY KILT - £1,500
This is an exclusive opportunity to order your very own Black House Mill tartan kilt that has been made to measure for you in collaboration with Howie Nicholsby of 21st Century Kilts. There will only ever be 14 kilts available in the Black House Mill tartan in the iconic style of Howie.
Each kilt will be made to your requirements at the 21st Century Kilt studio, it will feature an exclusive collaboration kilt pin (shown below the pin details both brand emblem's), kilt carrier and limited edition number label.You will also be included in our Highland Register, and receive a digital copy of your certificate via e-mail.
THE BLACK HOUSE REWARDS VOUCHER - From £200
This reward allows our backers to reserve multiple items. Starting from £200, you can order a rewards voucher up to the value of the items you wish to reserve. For example, if you wish to reserve 3 Black House Pennies and 3 Black House Pins, the total value of this pledge would be;
3 x £55 = £165
3 x £90 = £270
Total = £435
You will also be included in our Highland Register, and receive a digital copy of your certificate via e-mail.
Our team is all Highland based, where we have a mutual passion for all things the Highland region represents. In particular we wish to create more quality jobs and now with our pop-up mill we will are growing the in-house team.
With the opening of our pop-up mill, we will be employing three additional team members immediately, some of whom are graduates in Scottish textiles and fashion, and have spent summer placements with us.
We all strive to do things differently from everyone else and through our journey of the past two years we have devised a solution to the need we have identified - disrupt history, build a tartan mill in the Highlands and be part of a new Highland uprising that re-writes the rules!
Clare Campbell is a specialised tartan designer and has been passionate about the Scottish tartan textile industry all her life. She is committed to protecting, preserving and promoting the industry for generations to come. Having created a number of bespoke designs and product collections for clients she is driven to re-introducing native raw materials and innovated manufacturing methods. Where could be more appropriate to do this, in her home region, The Highlands of Scotland.
Clare is also a trustee for The Scottish Tartan Authority, one of the most prominent Scottish charities created to protect, preserve and promote Tartan.
You can read more about Clare here.
We have come back to Kickstarter because our first campaign was an incredible success despite us not reaching our initial target. We received pledges from over 850 people around the world, and many have asked us to not give up on our vision as they wish to continue to support us.
This campaign has been set-up to kick start the capital funds we wish to raise over the next 12 months to build the Black House Mill on the Black Isle, Scotland.
Risks and challenges
We have now secured temporary manufacturing premises to operate the pop-up mill. This is based in Evanton, 15 miles away from where our steading building and design studio are based on the Black Isle. Our studio will be relocated to this new site in March 2018.
Temporary manufacturing can be carried out for up to 5 years at this site. We are aiming to secure the full funding required to build the Black House Mill to commence work in 2019, allowing us to relocate in early 2020.
Our key challenge is raising the required funds through crowdfunding, sales and grant support during the next 24 months that enable us to build the Black House Mill.
All tartan products listed in this campaign are guaranteed to be manufactured in the pop-up mill and delivered on time.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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