• fiona3233

Happy Birthday and congratulations to REDS member Isle20

Rhoda Meek, the lively and enterprising REDS member and female founder behind Isle20 - the island business directory and shopping platform which she started as a response to the Covid crisis last year - is celebrating the first anniversary of the platform by welcoming her first member of staff.

Rhoda at home with her dog Gunna.

On the 22nd of March, Melanie Mouat from Unst in Shetland will be joining Rhoda as a Social Media and Vendor Manager, almost a year to the day since isle20 first appeared.

Rhoda, who founded isle20.com from her home in the Isle of Tiree said, "Melanie originally moved home to Unst to set up Mella Handmade Soaps and so she is uniquely placed to understand the challenges faced by small island businesses. I'm absolutely delighted that she is joining us!"

3500 products in one place, all available with the REDS Card

In the 12 months since Rhoda published the first tweet announcing "I made a thing", the Isle20 directory and shipping site has gone from strength to strength. There are 530 island businesses listed on the site, 150 vendors selling their products on the platform, and 3500 products for sale.

Isle20 was one of the first REDS members to sign up to participate in the REDS Card scheme, meaning shoppers can purchase any of the 3500 products listed on the site with a REDS card.

With such fantastic growth in the diversity of businesses selling via the marketplace of Isle20, as well as all the other participating REDS member businesses, the REDS Card is quickly becoming a gift card for all of rural Scotland.

£75,000 of direct revenue for small businesses across the Scottish islands

Originally backed by the Scottish Islands Federation who helped with the initial hosting costs, Isle20 has attracted funding from Firstport, the SJ Noble Trust and HIE. In the last 10 months, Isle20 has generated £75,000 of direct revenue for small businesses across the islands.

"It's been incredible to watch isle20.com grow over the last year, and I'm delighted by the impact it has had. The Covid crisis - and the isle20 project - have highlighted the need for a more holistic approach to growing island economies. We're facing climate change, a housing crisis, depopulation and a loss of dialect, language and culture - from Unst to Tiree and beyond. Tourism is only part of the answer. The more that we can do at a grassroots level - working together across islands - the more power we have to effect change. The goal is not just for our communities to survive, but to thrive." - Rhoda.

With that in mind, Rhoda has created Isle Develop CIC, a social enterprise that includes isle20. Profits from its projects will be ploughed back into supporting small businesses and community-led projects.

If you are a REDS member remember to share your good news stories with us at connect@reds.scot so we can spread the word within the REDS community and further a field.

Find out more about joining the REDS Card scheme here, it is completely free for REDS members and is a great way for new customers to discover your business.

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