Soap firm gets clean bill of health from Scottish minister

Gracefruit's unofficial mascot Nell the Chihuahua welcomes the firm's Living Wage accreditation
Gracefruit's unofficial mascot Nell the Chihuahua welcomes the firm's Living Wage accreditation

A fast growing business which exports raw material for soap manufacturers around Europe was proud to announce its recently acquired Living Wage accreditation.

Scottish minister for employability and training Jamie Hepburn visited Gracefruit Ltd in Longcroft this morning to meet Alabama-born founder and company director Elizabeth Carnahan, her staff and her chihuahua Nell.

Employability and Training minister Jamie Hepburn with Gracefruit's Mandy Moffat, Elizabeth Carnahan and Ashley Rogan

Employability and Training minister Jamie Hepburn with Gracefruit's Mandy Moffat, Elizabeth Carnahan and Ashley Rogan

Elizabeth started her company in 2005, getting the name from a song by Scottish pop band The Bathers, and worked from her own dining room. Now she employs 10 staff and exports materials to customers all over Europe.

She said: “We reduced our team’s working week to just 23 hours, while maintaining wage levels for salaried staff and introducing the Real Living Wage – £8.75 an hour – for our hourly workers.

“You don’t have to work 35 to 40 hours a week to maintain productivity. We want to prove it’s possible for businesses to thrive while helping staff maintain the right balance between work and life.

“We believe the best way for a business to thrive is to treat its workers fairly. Inequality is at the root of many of the problems our country and our society faces right now.

“The gap between the well-off and the poor is widening constantly. If every business in the UK paid its workers enough to have a comfortable life, we’d be in much better shape.”

Mr Hepburn welcomed both the firm’s Living Wage accreditation and the approach it was taking with its workforce’s working hours.

He said: “The approach taken here, with Elizabeth being flexible and catering to the circumstances of her employees, is an approach the Scottish Government welcomes – flexible working is very important to business becoming productive.”