Name: Elaine Hamilton
Business: Dundream, a luxury holistic holiday home in Scotland
Industry: Other — Hospitality
Location: Kirkcolm, Scotland, United Kingdom
Reason for starting: I had sold the organic family farm in South West Scotland that I had partly owned and was managing a plot of land that I wished to build a holistic self catering retreat on. As a result of personal losses, interest in holistic health and the environment I built a luxury, eco self catering retreat. In the design I created an environment in which guests would enjoy space, natural surroundings, magnificent views and locally sourced food. The ethos of the Dundream brand is to stimulate well being, balance and harmony for guests to relax and enjoy the beautiful unspoiled countryside.
How do you define success? I would defince success as receiving positive feedback from guests and finding guests who are in alignment with the Dundream brand. If they leave Dundream satisfied and the better of their experience then it has been successful. However success is also about being able to maintain your focus and passion despite adversity as well as being happy and fulfilled in your work.
Biggest Success: Dundream now has at least 19 five star Trip Advisor reviews which are in total alignment with the Dundream brand. We have also secured positive press coverage, which is a bonus. However the feedback I have received regarding the experiences of our guests is still the most important part of the story and process and what I believe to be our greatest success to date.
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? The top challenge in the first two years of starting up have been cash flow and the financial recession. To overcome the recession specifically and to ensure I maintained Dundream’s position as a luxury brand, digital marketing, PR and media visits have been hugely helpful to ensure that Dundream was being promoted to the correct target audience. I collaborated with Strathclyde University and accessed two intakes of MBA students who used Dundream business for experience in digital marketing and consultation work. This worked well as we all gained from the shared experience. I find that students and suitably sourced professionals bring a fresh approach to the business table.
Who is your most important role model? My role model initially was another successful luxury brand of eco self catering cottages called Blue Reef Cottages. I thought that their model was something I could adapt and make work, while also putting Dumfries and Galloway back on the map as a tourist destination. I also admire women who have launched successful businesses and believe that they should be encouraged to grow and flourish. I respect integrity and honesty in entrepreneurs, which are vital characteristics to have.
Edited by The Story Exchange