It has only been a few months since David Glover took over e-commerce business Scottish Lion. However, the Nova Scotia-based entrepreneur is already looking ahead.
Glover intends to launch Scottish Lion Tours in the spring of 2019, helping clients explore their Scottish roots. To Glover, who was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and moved to Canada in 2003, it is a natural progression for him, both professionally and personally.It has only been a few months since David Glover took over e-commerce business Scottish Lion. However, the Nova Scotia-based entrepreneur is already looking ahead.
Scottish Lion sells products made in Scotland to customers all over the world, though the firm’s core clientele is in North America. Glover has been privately hosting small-group Scottish tours for a while. He began by offering whisky tours, and now takes in iconic spots like the Islands of Mull, Orkney, Islay and Arran, and the Scottish Highlands.
“Next year’s launch of the tours is really all about expanding the great Scottish Lion name and network to an already successful tour operation,” he says. “Customers often mention how much they would love to visit Scotland. People are often drawn to the website because of their love for Scotland, so it seems only natural to offer the ultimate experience.”
Scottish Lion was founded nearly four decades ago as a small retail outlet, evolving into a catalogue and retail operation with stores in the U.S. and Canada. Over the last 10 years, the business has become a fully integrated eTailer. Current best-sellers are tartan ties and scarves, with Scottish Highland wear and tartan fabric by-the-yard becoming increasingly popular.
Glover first got involved with Scottish Lion in 2006 when he was Manager of Business Development for Transcontinental Printing, which printed and distributed the company’s catalogue. He helped the firm’s previous owner during a busy time by answering inquiries and speaking to customers on the phone.
“I always found it fascinating how customers would very quickly start to ask questions about a particular clan or a castle, or an area of Scotland or Ireland that perhaps their ancestors were from.
“By purchasing a product, these people were connecting with their heritage and bringing a piece of their ancestry into their homes.”
“I am astounded by how grateful people are when the item, whether it is a kilt or a scarf, a tie or a tammy, arrives in their mailbox.”
Glover took over at Scottish Lion last June and now runs the company with his wife Selena from their base near Halifax.
Understanding the marketplace, he notes, has been the key to success so far.
“I believe we have a firm grasp on what the customers want in their relationship with our company; a combination of product, information, good customer service, and a sense of humour. Most important is an understanding of why Scotland is important to them. Through our website and social media platforms, I believe that we are achieving that.”
The biggest challenge he faces is logistics.
“With the business being entirely eCommerce, customers’ delivery expectations are influenced by some of the tech giants and internet retailers.
“With almost all our products coming in from Scotland – and many custom crafted – delivery times are governed by the type of item being made or supplied, and also by various international shipping requirements. Good communication with our customers is, therefore, very important.”
Glover says the company is growing its presence in the schools, universities, and pipe band circles.
“Tartan garments are becoming more popular in larger institutions and the opportunity for clients to design and register their own business, corporate or family tartan has become very appealing.”
He is fascinated by people’s increasing interest in connecting with their Celtic roots.
“There is huge potential for everything Celtic right now, and that is being supported by a vibrant film and TV community, media, and of course, the internet, where interested parties can get access to practically anything that will help bring them closer to their family heritage.”
With Scottish Lion’s new tours, Glover – who is a past president of the Halifax Robert Burns Club, and also produced a documentary for the History Channel U.K. and National Geographic about the Battle of Bannockburn – is anxious to pass on his passion for his ancestral homeland.
“I am more excited than ever to share my knowledge of Scotland and take people on a fascinating journey through history.”