Business & Entrepreneurs

Calm in a storm … the Hyndland couple opening up shop during global pandemic

By Ian Marland at

Husband and wife team Gregor and Scarlett Hollerin couldn’t wait to launch their own business.

And so Story Shop came into being during the very current and catastrophic Covid-19 pandemic.

But the couple who live in Hyndland are not fazed by the chaos caused by coronavirus – and hope their marketing skills will be of help to businesses ‘on the other side’.

Gregor and Scarlet

Gregor and Scarlet Hollerin at home. Photo: Elaine Livingstone.

Gregor said: “Yes, we have taken a bit of a risk (doing this now) but for us it was a risk not to do it now.

“We had talked for a long time about trying to build a business together.

“If we had waited another five or ten years – would we have ever done it? The chances are, no.”

He added: “One of the things we want to do as a business is stay really lean – so that we can weather these storms.

Collaborative collective

“We didn’t expect to weather one this big, so soon – but we think our size will help us.”

The couple’s home-based marketing and PR business launched on Friday 13 this month amid the maelstrom of coronavirus.

Story Shop had been in the planning for three months leading up to launch.

Gregor and Scarlett have a vision to work with a dynamic, collaborative collective of other small companies.

Gregor and Scarlet

Gregor and Scarlett say they want to work collaboratively with other small companies. Photo: Elaine Livingstone

Among their early successes was telling and managing the story of the three Edinburgh brothers who became the youngest team and first brothers to row the Atlantic earlier this year.

The Broar campaign that played big across TV and print media helped generate more than £115,000 in fundraising.

The Hollerins handled all the social media and PR for the duration of the adventure.

Since launching, the phones have been busy with clients seeking advice and planning strategies in a rapidly-changing climate.

‘Exciting challenge’

Gregor, 34, said: “Working with the Maclean brothers was an exciting challenge and ultimately great fun.

“It was definitely a great start for the new business.

“We have had people getting in touch asking about support and messaging around the coronavirus.

“Some businesses have more time now to focus on their brand.

Brothers in a boat

The Maclean brothers from Edinburgh became the youngest team to row across the Atlantic.

“Some are thinking of a rebrand or looking at some of their social channels in light of what is happening.”

One thing the pandemic has reinforced is how the media and marketing landscape has changed.

Business brands along with world events and public health messages are being consumed on mobile devices.

Gregor said: “People are spending their lives on social media at the moment more than ever.

“Now is the time for brands to use their social media channels to raise awareness – and build trust.

 

‘People are spending their lives on social media at the moment more than ever.

‘Now is the time for brands to use their social media channels to raise awareness – and build trust’

Gregor Hollerin

Home working has been enforced on tens of thousands of Scots as a result of the virus outbreak.

But for Gregor and Scarlett it is a choice they have readily made for themselves.

Previously Scarlett, 29, was marketing manager at Union Square and Silverburn and then St Enoch Centre.

Gregor, who played rugby for GHK in the West End, was a journalist before joining BIG Partnership where he was an account director and head of business development.

Gregor said: “Scarlett has a real flare for interior design so we have this amazing home office that is a joy to work in.

Gregor and Scarlet

Story Shop launched earlier this month. Photo: Elaine Livingstone

“If it was me that was trying to make a home office it would be straight out of Ikea.

“I would love to say that we switch off, but the nature of what are doing means that we have to be quite responsive and we know that this is going to be a really big push for us, to build up something.

“It’s the flexibility that we love.”