Boasting the likes of Trainspotting author, Irvine Welsh and Game of Thrones heart-throb, Jason Momoa sporting his Leith focussed T-shirts, Kevin Ramsay seems to have struck on a rich seam of possibility when, a few years back, he registered domain name MadeinLeith.com.
Today, he is reaping the rewards. A top seller at the Scottish Design Exchange he continues to find new angles to promote the area’s personality and history. Leith, for so long the underling of Edinburgh has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years that only the most optimistic local could have predicted.
Now rated the 2nd coolest neighbourhood in the UK (Sunday Times) the area has established itself as a magnet for independent thinkers, artists and quirky restaurateurs. “You only have to look at the growing number of creative agencies here to see that this is an area of disrupters. Leith is home to so many people who disdain the status quo and sneer at status. Its extraordinary diversity is one of its key strengths and as a port it has long provided a door to the world. It has a rich history and a powerful personality and I wanted to bring that to life through my products.
But, it is Leith’s history that gives Kevin his constant stream of new ideas and products. “The fantastic thing about the Scottish Design Exchange (SDX) is that you always have to be on your toes to refresh and reinvigorate your stock. I keep uncovering historical gems which find their way on to Made in Leith greetings cards. Did you know that the first commercial wine bottles were produced in Leith and exported to France and Spain? That’s so brilliant. At one stage they were making 1 million bottles a year. Also, let’s be honest, where else in the world would you find a shop dedicated to Darts and Television? That is Leith.
Kevin’s first foray into selling his Made in Leith designs was at the Leith Market, held each Saturday. “I had the largest display space and was delighted by the interest shown at that early stage. When Scottish Design Exchange came calling it was a no-brainer.
"Can you move in and set-up in three days? I was asked. “It was back-breaking work but I did it. That was a real game changer for me and I have been able to massively increase revenue.”.
Before he set up Made in Leith, Kevin spent years in the design and display industry where amongst his most exciting commissions was a corporate suite at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester.
Kevin can trace his Leith roots back to 1822 when his family predecessors owned a substantial part of Leith’s shore front. Kevin has inherited no such riches. For now, he is just happy to be helping to promote is beloved Leith to a global audience. SDX is giving him and other local artists and designers that opportunity.
Thanks to Kevin and his likes, Leith is now well truly back on the international map