Catherine's Checked in Long-Term

Article excerpt

Byline: By Iain Laing

A former teacher who started a business based on Northumberland's ancient tartan has been picked as one of the UK's brightest entrepreneurial stars.

Catherine Wylde was inspired by her son's homework task to create souvenirs, toys and clothing based on the design of shepherd's clothing which dates back 1,700 years.

"He was asked to write his own Northumbrian ballad and I started thinking of ideas for him and it just occurred to me to find out more about the tartan," said Catherine, of Warkworth, Northumberland.

"I found out it was still being woven in the Borders in a few mills and thought it would be good to do something to promote it.

"I am a single mother and wanted to be financially independent and set up on my own. So far I am very pleased with the way it is going."

Her design, supply and retail business has beaten nearly 600 competitors from across the country to reach the semi-finals of the HSBC Start-Up Stars Awards.

The 10-month-old Northumberland Tartan Company is among 20 businesses picked as the most likely to succeed.

"I was delighted to be selected. People here are very proud of their heritage and interested in their culture," Catherine said.

"There has been a big increase in tourism in Northumberland and there are few local souvenirs. …