A BUSINESSWOMAN has told how she is “on her knees” over Brexit and the experience – along with Westminster’s attitude to Scotland – has changed her from a No voter in 2014 to a campaigner for independence.

Elizabeth Carnahan runs a family firm Gracefruit in Stirlingshire, which has ten employees, including her husband Paul and two adult children, selling products for the beauty industry.

Originally from South Alabama, in the US, she has lived in Scotland since 2001 with her Scots husband and set up Gracefruit in 2005.

Exports to Europe account for around two-thirds of its business and last year the company marked its first £1 million turnover.

However, it is now being crippled by uncertainty over Brexit.

Speaking exclusively to The Sunday National, Carnahan says: “I’m definitely on my knees with Brexit.

“We’re under really serious pressure and stress, and it’s a family business, it’s how our family gets fed. The uncertainty has been quite crippling for us.”

Gracefruit sells cosmetic ingredients, buying them in bulk and breaking them down into smaller sizes.

“If you wanted to make soap, or lotion or eye shadow or something like that and you went to a cosmetic chemical company to buy these products you would have to make a very large minimum order,” she says.

“If you’re making scented soap, you’d be required to buy 25 litres of fragrance oil but you would only need maybe 10ml.

“So, we buy everything in bulk and break it down and sell it in smaller sizes. A lot of our customers are little businesses, very small, people who would normally sell things at a farmer’s market.

“We service the entire EU and have representatives who sell our products in most EU countries. They’ve taken our business model and plonked it say in the Czech Republic. And we of course export directly to customers in Europe as well and 66% of our business is European exports.

“Some of our customers have just moved to other European suppliers because the UK is not seen as a reliable trading partner anymore.

“It’s really horrific. I’ve always known what was coming – I could see what this meant as soon as the Brexit vote happened.

“We’ve lived under this horrific pressure for over three years, and I am no wiser about what my trading arrangements with Europe will be.”

She says there were a couple of issues which had changed her mind over Scottish independence, starting with the EU.

“José Manuel Barroso [former European Commission president] was saying Scotland won’t be in the EU and I believed him. I’m not a fan of the establishment, and if I’d been braver, I would have loved to give David Cameron a bloody nose.

“I didn’t pay much attention to the Better Together campaign. To me, the EU seemed not to want Scotland to be in, and there was the talk of a Spanish veto because they didn’t want to encourage Catalonia, so that was what made up my mind.

“It really was a head over heart kind of thing because my spirit said, ‘go for it’, but my business head said, ‘you’ll shut yourself down if you do’.”

Carnahan says she is not a unionist and, although she supports independence, she does not consider herself a nationalist.

What has happened since 2014, she says, has been an eye-opener: “I have experienced and seen for myself first-hand the contempt that Westminster has for Scotland and Scotland’s sovereignty and the people of Scotland.

“If Brexit were cancelled tomorrow I would continue to campaign for Scottish independence.

“My mind has completely changed – I’ve seen what they’re willing to do.

“I think they’re going to be happy to cut us free."