Lorne Blyth With Team At Flavours Holidays (1)

Lorne Blyth with her team at Flavours Holidays.

Flavours Holidays, a specialist in activity holidays in Italy and Spain, is celebrating being on target for £3.5m turnover by unveiling expansion plans. The company plans to target the US market, purchase of a new larger office and create eight new jobs, thanks to support from various organisations including Business Gateway Edinburgh

The Edinburgh-based company was founded by Director, Lorne Blyth, in 1998. She identified a gap in the market for cooking holidays in Europe after graduating in languages and working as a tour guide.

With a fax machine, mobile phone and home office, at aged 25, Lorne – who has a passion for all things Italian – began taking small groups to idyllic and unspoilt regions in the country including Puglia and Tuscany.  The authentic cooking holidays with local chefs quickly grew from 64 clients in the first two years to 250 by year five. 

Over the years, Flavours Holidays has developed its activities to meet customer demand, now also offering painting, photography, language and Pilates vacations to Italy and Spain.

The company has doubled its staff from six to 12 in the past two years and plans to increase it to 20 by the end of 2020, which includes a two-year entrepreneurial placement for a graduate, who will work on all areas of the business and a one-to-one founder project.

With over 40% of the business coming from repeat clients, Lorne is focusing on targeting international markets this year, specifically the US, which will result in the creation of more new jobs there.

The new office on the Water of Leith, which is five times the size of the current office in Stockbridge, will open in March and feature a demonstration kitchen and host various events including wine tasting and cookery classes.

Support from Business Gateway Edinburgh over the last 20 years has included one-to-one ongoing growth consultancy, workshops, digital and marketing support.

Lorne said: “We are going through a really exciting time at the moment at Flavours Holidays as we gear up to move into our own new premises, take on more staff and focus on targeting the US market.

“Without the fantastic team on board and the support from organisations like Business Gateway Edinburgh, right from the start of our journey, none of this would have been possible. I would encourage anyone in business, at any stage, to tap into the free resources available, which has been testament to our success.”

Susan Harkins, Head of Business Gateway Edinburgh, said: “Business Gateway Edinburgh is designed to support startups and growth businesses with a variety of different resources including one-to-one mentorships and digital and marketing support, which we are delighted Flavours Holidays has utilised and has been a great help throughout their growth journey.

“We are very much looking forward to continuing to work with them and wish them all the best for the future.”

Business Gateway Edinburgh provides expert support and guidance to new and existing businesses, including free advice from experienced business advisors to help startups and growth businesses planning to expand or find new ways of doing business. 

Free resources include workshops and seminars covering everything from marketing and finance to HR and e-commerce.

Neina Sheldon
Article by Neina Sheldon
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