In the latest of our business profiles – showcasing the knowledge and skills of those working in the town – we caught up with Scaramanga on Cupar’s Prestonhall Industrial Estate. The lifestyle retailer’s unique story began in a dusty market in North-West India India in 1998 …
Carl Morenikeji – Scaramanga’s MD – has a real passion for travel and exploring distant cultures. That walk through a bazaar more than 20 years ago saw him return with an old satchel and some vintage treasures for his family and friends.
He says: “I spent six months traveling across India in ’98 and fell in love with the traditional craftsmanship. It is handed down through the generations in communities across the country … particularly in rural areas.” Carl adds: “I brought back an old leather satchel, some hand-bound journals and a few small old wooden boxes from Rajasthan. People loved everything I brought home and I felt there was an opportunity to start a business.”
In 2006, he returned to India to search for artisans practising traditional craft skills. He found them. The company was born and started life at Gateside Mills.
Roll the clocks forward 14 years – including a move to Cupar in 2010 – and Scaramanga is the result. Carl describes where they are in 2020, saying: “Today, we work with expert artisans. Combining timeless design from our in-house team with traditional skills that we source with great care – together with simple, natural materials – we are able to offer an unrivaled range of classically-inspired leather bags.”
Their collections include backpacks, handbags, laptop bags, messenger and tote bags, duffle bags and briefcases – in fact more than 30 styles of leather bags for men and women. They also sell accessories – over 50 leather products including wallets and purses, as well as travel and tech accessories.
Scaramanga has grown – and the company’s range has expanded too. Carl’s passion for exploration and discovery now covers furniture. He adds: “We sell enviable antique, repurposed and vintage furniture and interiors – hand restored by expert master-craftsmen. Each piece is unique, full of character and has a story to tell.”
A corporate marketeer, Carl gave up leading BT’s pioneering e-commerce work and turned his energy to creating Scaramanga. He has an eye for lifestyle design. The company’s store in Cupar is testament to his entrepreneurial spirit – and that spirit has seen the company diversify over the years into new and exciting markets.
“We sell our vintage furniture and interiors to bars, restaurants, boutique hotels and interior designers. We also have a small but loyal group of prop and production buyers. We help them identify bespoke items for use in films, TV dramas, entertainment shows and the theatre“.
An eye for detail
We asked what inspires Carl: “My dad started his own furniture design business back in the early 70s. I’ve always been fascinated by classic interior design. That, coupled with a love of travel.”
His travel has introduced him to so many people – many of whom now benefit from Scaramanga’s success. “We work with small-scale, family-run businesses around the world. We aim to work fairly with them, so their businesses grow, prosper and their employees earn a higher than average wage and are well-treated.”
In Cupar, the company employs eight people: “Georgia manages our overall operations and is supported by Kelly, Tracy, Graeme and – on Saturdays – Nicola. Kelly S manages our accounts. Sam and Shannon manage our website and marketing.”
We asked what Carl sees as his greatest achievement. “Setting Scaramanga up in 2006 has really allowed me to work locally in Cupar and from home – meaning spending more time with my family.”
The company supplies stores across the UK and also sells through their own website. Their Cupar store is their only dedicated outlet – and a visit is a must. Walk through the door and you’re in an Aladdin’s Cave of unique, authentic vintage furniture and their range of bags and accessories. It is like walking into a film set – and that’s no wonder. Carl explains: “An exciting part of our business is our work with movie props buyers from all over the world. Specialising in antique luggage, wooden chests and padlocks, we’ve built a world-class reputation as a props specialist for Hollywood and British films. It’s very satisfying to spot our pieces on the big screen – from Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, Dumbo, Maleficent 1 & 2 and The Hobbit to Paddington 2, Abdul and Victoria, Stan & Ollie and Tarzan. We’re about to announce our 13th blockbuster film in a few weeks!”
As with all our business profiles, we always ask what would be recommended for someone visiting Cupar for the first time – or for the first time in a long time. Carl says: “It would have to be going across to Duffus Park and watching the Howe Of Fife play rugby on a Saturday afternoon … when they get back to playing full contact.”
You’ll find Scaramanga at Units 1-3 on Prestonhall Industrial Estate, Cupar, KY15 4RD.
Pop-in, call them on 01334 657642 or visit their website via this link.
Thanks for reading.