Young entrepreneurs bar and restaurant PR campaign
Wednesday, October 6th, 2010
on behalf of Hyde Out style bar
Bold business pair launch new style venue with help form pub and restaurant PR experts
A PAIR of ambitious graduates have raised more than £500,000 to launch a new style bar in one of Scotland’s most fashionable regeneration areas.
After setting up successful businesses while at university, Rory McWhirter and Rowan Milne now plan to make an impact on Edinburgh’s fiercely competitive hospitality sector with the opening of Hyde Out.
The friends have raised capital to transform a vacant unit in Edinburgh Quay, in the Fountainbridge district, and believe their youthful dynamism will be a key to success.
Already their acumen has seen them bring on board big names including Chanel, Veuve Cliquot and Timorous Beasties for the venue, which promises a host of stylish quirks under the direction of renowned style bar design experts, KBAD.
Rory, 22, said: “We know we are biting off a lot and sometimes the scale of the project can seem daunting. But we know the location is good, the design is fantastic and we have a real opportunity to do something special here.”
Although both originally from Aberdeenshire, the pair met at Heriot Watt University. Rory was studying corporate finance, while Rowan, 23, graduated in management and business law.
At university they shared an entrepreneurial streak. Rowan set up and still owns a successful hair extension business, Edinburgh Extensions. Rory had his own electronics company, Electric Shed Ltd. which allowed them to have a “decent lifestyle” during their studies.
Rowan said: “We found it wasn’t common or even much of an option for students to be starting up their own business. That didn’t stop us, though we still took our studies very seriously. “
Despite previous successes, both recognise their latest venture propels them into a different league. Stakeholders include Deutsch Bank, who own the land. They have also persuaded family members to provide backing.
Unfazed by the economic uncertainty, they are confident of achieving an estimated first year turnover of more than £600,000, and believe they can grow that by a further 15 per cent.
Rory added: “I know we are lucky to be in the position where friends and family have helped with the investment. However, that comes with an even greater responsibility.
“It’s far more daunting having to answer to your dad about finances than to a faceless bank manager. The pressure is far greater for us to do everything it takes to succeed.”
Rowan added: “We’ve both have worked since we were 17 in various positions in the hospitality industry. We’ve never been afraid of hard work and we know that entrepreneurship involves taking a few calculated risks.
“One risk we’ve taken is deciding to take on this project outside the George Street area, where you’d might not expect to find the kind of bar experience we are creating.
“The fact that we’re not playing safe with the locations sets us aside from other bars. This part of the city is crying out for an adventurous venue like ours.
“The Fountainbridge area is undergoing a major redevelopment with millions being spent on houses and student accommodation to attract people. Despite the economic climate, we believe the timing in this area is ideal.”
Shortly after graduating Rory passed the site, spotting it had ceased trading and was advertised for sale.
He added: “I knew the previous owner so I had a good idea of the look, the payout and how it had been run.
“There are a few aspects which we think are a bit marmite – you’ll either love it or hate it – but it’s a really fun and inventive approach to an otherwise rather generic industry.
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