A SCOTTISH charcuterie business proved its resilience during lockdown and looked no further than their neighbours to help out when trade picked up.

East Coast Cured, based in Leith, has now seen their enterprising way to turn their business round earn female boss Susie Anderson a nomination in the Business Woman Scotland Awards 2020, in the category of Resilient Woman of the Year.

After Mrs Anderson and husband Steven started the food business from scratch in 2017, they saw their dream grow from humble beginning of a home grown curer in the eves of their attic, to supplying to the hospitality industry in the central belt.

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What started out as a hobby due to their love of cured meats and from culinary discoveries while travelling around Europe, the Andersons decided to take the plunge and began develop the business. Friends and family gave recipes the taste test until the Andersons had perfected the right flavours. They made the life-changing decision to launch their family business, and the majority of East Coast Cured products were ordered by the hospitality trade across Edinburgh and Scotland, with Mrs Anderson also hosting a stand at Stockbridge Market and others in the local area.

East Coast Cured's reputation was beginning to grow by word of mouth, but it was when they came to the attention of renowned chef Martin Wishart that the business stepped up a gear.

"We were approached by Martin Wishart who was changing the menu at The Honours restaurant and was keen to include a cured meats platter and he chose us as his suppliers," added Mrs Anderson. "That really took the business to a different level and we began supplying more restaurants in Edinburgh initially."

However, with hospitality forced to close, the online shop and Leith store were able to continue delivering charcuterie to customers through local delivery across Edinburgh.

More than 70 per cent of their business focused on wholesale, but they also opened a shop in Leith and began growing the online shop last year to make the most of Christmas trade but never thinking it might actually turn out to be a lifeline during lockdown.

"We had been adapting the business slightly last year and one of the things I worked on was our online shop," said Mrs Anderson. "We had also been expanding the items we sold in the shop to include Scottish cheese and even bread and milk. Then at the start of the year we began to look at what was happening with coronavirus in other countries and realised we had to make a decision about the business in order to save jobs for the long term."

The husband and wife team furloughed a couple of members of staff at a time when they thought they would need to scale back. However, as the weeks went on they saw themselves becoming increasingly busy with Steven, who had previously had a career in sales before going into the craft brewing trade, curing meats into the small hours and Susie starting at 5am to deal with orders for consumers and run the shop.

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"I think with the nature of lockdown some people didn't want to go to far away from home and wanted to shop local so it a bit of luck that we had earlier decided to stock other items. By the summer we were working flat out and I think I was nearly broken, but help wasn't far away. We ended up taking on a couple of our neighbours and that extra help has got us through and allowed us to take some time to develop the business again."

There is no doubt the couple, who have been running their own business as well as raising two young showed how quickly they can adapt in the middle of a global pandemic which was threatening people's livelihoods as well as their own business.

Mrs Anderson, who has a background in textile design and previously ran a gallery for a charity as a social enterprise, added: "I think I am someone who can adapt quickly in a crisis and am quite resilient. I was delighted to be nominated for an award and I think I have been put into the perfect category for me."

Mrs Anderson is a finalist in the Business Woman Scotland Awards 2020, in the category of Resilient Woman of the Year down to her pivoting her business offering during lockdown and response to covid19.

"The awards ceremony will be a virtual event so I might get dressed up for that in case I need to make a speech next Friday," added Mrs Anderson laughing.