Tag Archives: Shetland

Great to see one of my Shetland copywriting clients on prime time TV

Ben Fogle New Livesd in the Wild UK Episode 5 on Fair Isle

 

 

 

 

 

I love a bit of travelling. Occasionally even something a bit adventurous like spending a week with a Swiss heli-logging crew or flitting around the Adamants Range in British Columbia in helicopters while researching a novel. But I must admit that my sense of adventure can’t match that of Ben Fogle, who is making a name for himself discovering new lives in the wild on Channel 5. He started with some of the world’s wildest locations, then brought the concept closer to home with interesting people and places in the UK. And that was what brought him to Fair Isle, off Shetland…

Episode 5 of the first series of New Lives in the Wild UK aired a few weeks ago and I happened to catch it. This time, Ben travelled to the remote island of Fair Isle (63 inhabitants!) just off Shetland. During his week on the windswept rocky outpost, Fogle stayed with American Tommy H. Hyndman who moved to the UK 10 years ago to start a new life on Fair Isle.

Ben Fogle meets Mati Ventrillon

At the time of writing, the episode is still available online and there’s more information about making the programme on the Fair Isle Blogspot.  What I was particularly excited about was that Ben’s show featured my client Mati Ventrillon while he was on the island. Oh what a small world it is…

Flying back from Shetland with Fair Isle in the background

Shetland connections

Anyone who follows me will know that I have family connections with Uradale croft near Scalloway on mainland Shetland. It was through Sue and Ronnie at Uradale (as seen on Countryfile and heard on Radio 4’s On your Farm) that I was introduced to Mati a couple of years ago when she needed help with her website copywriting. You see, Mati, who is actually a French-Venezuelan architect, is also passionate about all-things Fair Isle and has single-handedly revitalised the island’s knitwear industry with her Mati Ventrillon Fair Isle knitwear brand.  She also sends her cow to visit Sue and Ronnie for its annual service.

Not only does she now sell her amuradale farm blogazing clothes around the world (apparently, Ben Fogle’s wife gave him one of her sweaters as a Christmas gift), but she has featured on a banner above Oxford Street during London Fashion Week. This is a lady with a brand that is going places – amazing when you think that she is doing it from a small crofter’s cottage powered by a wind turbine on one of the UK’s remotest outposts. And she does her share of fire duty at the island’s dirt-strip airfield too!

Helping Mati promote her brand online

Mati has always had a strong vision for her brand, for promoting the tradition of knitwear on Fair Isle and for telling the story of Mati Ventrillon Fair Isle Knitwear in just the right way. So it was that, after several thorough fact-finding interviews over a sometimes-dodgy phone connection, I crafted the words that define and differentiate her business – with, I hope, the same craft skill and passion that she knits her fishermen’s sweaters and caps.

A joy to work with her

By her own admission, writing in English, and copywriting for the web in particular, isn”t Mati’s greatest strength. Although her English is actually very good, it isn’t her first language and she was wise enough to allow a skilled copywriter to capture her brand in words. It was a joy to work with her and you can see the results of our collaboration on her website. If you find yourself in a similar position, we should have a chat.

MAti Ventrillon website – copywriting by Al Hidden Copywriter

Back to Ben’s Fair Isle

But enough about copywriting for Shetland and back to Ben Fogle’s week with Tommy. During the episode we see the Fair Isle fire engine just after he has landed. That was when I started to wonder whether Mati would be featured. And indeed she was when there’s a lovely segment of the show where she is fitting Tommy with a sweater – perfect for his extreme golfing activities (but that’s another story and you’ll need to watch the programme for that).

mati-on-channel-5

If you find your way to Fair Isle, say hello to Mati and Tommy. And in the meantime, how about treating yourself or someone special to one of Mati’s lovely pieces of Fair Isle knitwear? Ben Fogle’s wife did!

 

Al Hidden is an experienced Gloucestershire based copywriter specialising in Marketing, Web/SEO, technical, PR and article copywriting. Visit his Shetland Copywriter page

Two talented designpreneurs: one Gloucestershire copywriter…

It’s been a while since I last posted. Put it down to a couple of trips away (including Shetland), interspersed with a continued heavy writing workload. It’s that old shoemakers’ kids’ shoes thing – my own promotion suffers…

Working with two inspiring designpreneurs

One of my most recent projects sits nicely alongside another of this year’s writing high spots and both are interesting because they were for women who are pioneering innovative design-led bespoke services. So I thought I would tell you about two of my recent clients, Mati Ventrillon and Britta Curley.

Rejuvenating Fair Isle knitwear

Mati, for whom I wrote a new website,  is based up on Fair Isle, a French-Venezuelan Shetland incomer who became fascinated by the craft and tradition of Fair Isle knitwear, has mastered the centuries-old skills and added her own creative twist and entrepreneurial flair.
mati ventrillon
Mati’s bespoke knitwear has already caught the attention of the UK design fraternity – amongst other honours, Mati was featured in London Design Week a couple of years ago. As well as being a fascinating example of rejuvenating a specialised regional craft form, Mati’s entrepreneurship promises great things for the Fair Isle economy in the future – and offers a tempting array of knitwear for woollen garment lovers around the world.
al hidden copywriter mati ventrillon fair isle knitwear website copywriter

A new take on table design and finishes in Cheltenham

Much closer to my Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, base, Britta Curley’s business, (Curley Burrows) specialises in designing and crafting bespoke furniture with unique surface finishes and detailing. From large carved dining tables to small, coffee tables, every one of Britta’s creations is, like Mati’s garments, a unique work of art. Britta tells me that the launch of her business at September 2014’s Tent London design exhibition was a great success – aided, I hope, by my work as her press release copywriter.
britta curley
If you are a home or business owner seeking a stunning centrepiece table, or an interior designer seeking novel furniture ideas, you really should investigate what Britta’s up to at her studio in Cheltenham.
bespoke furniture in cheltenham: curley burrows

Two design talents – support from one copywriter

As well as both being ambitious, and highly creative, designpreneurs, Britta and Mati both recognised that specialised copywriting wasn’t their key skill and the best use of their time. In Britta’s case she was busy preparing to launch her business at Tent London. For Mati it was the launch of her Mati Ventrillon Fair Isle Knitwear brand online (as well as running a croft and bringing up two young children on one of the UK’s remotest island outposts) that demanded her focus.
In both cases, I was able to take away the research and writing ‘problem’ and create the engaging copy that will tell Mati’s brand story online and introduce Britta to the UK interior design media.

Watch Britta and Mati in future

And my takeaway after working with these two inspiring women? Watch both with interest, commission a Curley Burrows table and dress up for winter with one of Mati’s stunning garments. And if you need a hand getting copywriting off your to-do list? Please remember your Cheltenham and Shetland copywriter
Al Hidden is an experienced Gloucestershire based copywriter specialising in Marketing, Web/SEO, technical and PR copywriting.

Business computing pre-Microsoft: the Hidden connection

I learned to drive in an unmissable Texas Yellow Volkswagen Variant back in the 1970s. I remember that car because (as well as being a surprisingly fast-for-the-time fuel-injected 1600) my dad bought it new in 1971 when he co-wrote a book on business computing with his former colleague Edward Lowe.

Recently, in a rare (there’s lots to keep us copywriters in Gloucestershire busy) idle moment, I did an Amazon search for the book. I was delighted to find copies of Computer Control in Process Industries on the Internet bookseller that I use to increase my writing knowledge, as well as an entry in Google Books. Copies in the UK and North America started at £0.01. I bought one for my technology-mad nephew in Germany – a nice reminder of what his late grandfather once wrote.

Computer Control in Process Industries

I’m sure I got some of my interest in writing from Dad. As a university lecturer and researcher, he was always penning something – whether it was lectures for his students, this book, or information about the wave-power energy research he did later in the 1970s. It must have rubbed off and helped to shape the interests and skills that subsequently led me into my copywriting career. It’s a shame, however, that Dad died before I set up my own freelance copywriting business. I hope he’d have been proud of what I’ve achieved since 2006.

My search for his book prompted me to take a look through my own copy. Even a quick scan of the index highlights the hugely changed world that we occupy. It’s a world where IT and the Internet determine large chunks of my work. It struck me as interesting that Dad was already writing about business computing when ARPANET, the prototype for the Internet, was just a year or so old. And as for Messrs Gates, Joy, Jobs and other shapers of the online world we now live and work in? There isn’t a mention of them, or their subsequent companies in the book. Hardly surprising, given that a teenage Bill Gates was still burning the midnight oil and developing his coding skills at CCC while dad and his co-writer penned their book at the end of the 1960s.

The computing environments described in Computer Control in Process Industries have changed beyond recognition since 1971. What’s more, the chapter titled ‘The Future’ only hints at the massive changes that have taken place over the following four decades.  What struck me most of all was how, thanks to technology that’s evolved since that yellow VW turned up on our drive, I can now locate copies of Dad’s work around the world. And thanks to Google Books, parts at least of the book’s contents should be online for ever.

Oh yes. It’s interesting when you go back and explore the roots of your career as a Gloucestershire copywriter.

is an experienced Gloucestershire based copywriter specialising in Marketing, Web/SEO, technical and PR copywriting.

Guest copywriter on organic Shetland lamb, beef and wool blog

Like copywriters everywhere, copywriters in Gloucestershire need a break every now and then. I must have enjoyed last week’s trip to Shetland, because here’s my second post on the subject in a week!

Clift Sound: Uradale organic lamb is reared on its shore

In my last post I referenced my visit to Uradale Farm, high above Scalloway, west of Lerwick. While there, I was persuaded to put my writing head on and do a guest post for the Uradale blog. After having been filled with delicious organic lamb and learning about the philosophy behind Ronnie and Sue’s venture, what could I say, but yes.

Uradale already supplies several discerning butchers elsewhere in Great Britain. If you fancy some of the tastiest, most natural meat or wool you’ll ever find, get in touch and order direct from the farm. Next-day delivery is possible across the UK: beats your local Tescasdasons any day!

Uradale cows: beef as well as organic Shetland lamb

After several intense months of writing for a variety of clients in and around Gloucestershire, and elsewhere in the UK, Shetland provided a wonderful change of scene. I may have returned to Cheltenham with a summer cold, but also with newly recharged batteries and a desire not to leave it so long before getting back up to the Shetland Isles.

In the meantime, I’ve also created a dedicated copywriters for Shetland page on my website. I’m not strictly a Shetland copywriter, but now I’ve written for Uradale, and with plans afoot to write for Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary, I can certainly offer my services as a wordsmith for other Shetland organisations. We’ll see what happens…

You can read more about Uradale organic Shetland lamb, beef and wool here…

is an experienced Gloucestershire-based copywriter specialising in Marketing, Web/SEO, technical and PR copywriting.

Pro bono charity copywriting in Shetland

I was up in Shetland recently, enjoying a week of great weather, delicious food and good company with family. As one of the busy copywriters in Gloucestershire, I really needed a break. Mrs H and I have visited Shetland before, and it’s always been a rewarding experience. This time was no exception – in more ways than one.

Trondra, Shetland

Another pro bono copywriting client

As well as getting roped in to do a guest blog entry for a local organic lamb and beef farm at Uradale, above Scalloway, I also added another animal welfare charity to my select portfolio of pro bono copywriting causes.

 

Gloucestershire copywriter and otters crossing sign in Shetland

I like to help worthwhile causes

As I’ve said before, one of the founding principles of my freelance copywriter business was to use my skills to help worthwhile causes. Sometimes, this means pro bono work; for others, it means a discounted copywriting rate. And of course, I’ve got to relate to the cause. Otherwise, it’s impossible to write with passion and conviction. Since 2007, I’ve written regularly for the North Devon Animal Ambulance (NDAA). I’ve learned that behind most animal welfare stories there’s a human benefit too. I like that.

Seal pup at Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary, Shetland

Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary, Shetland

While up in Shetland, a chance meeting with Jan Bevington, founder of the Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary, led to me offering my copywriting services for newsletter, website and brochure writing. Her response was positive, so I’m looking forward to promoting Hillswick’s otter and seal rescue work over the months ahead.

You can read more here…

is an experienced Gloucestershire based copywriter specialising in Marketing, Web/SEO, technical and PR copywriting.