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Why British Manufacturing Matters To My Business

March 1, 2024

There is an increasing drive towards British manufacturing over the past few years. Since the early 1960’s the British textile and weaving industry has been in decline due to much cheaper inferior quality imports and many of our UK manufacturing companies moving their processes abroad. This article is about the journey behind my decision to source British made trimmings.

There is an increasing enthusiasm for and drive towards British brands, British made goods and British manufacturing over the past few years. Since the early 1960’s the British textile and weaving industry has been in decline due to inferior quality imports and many of our UK manufacturing companies moving their processes abroad, so it has become increasingly harder to find weaving companies and trimming manufacturers in the UK.

Over the past few years, in particular since we left the EU, I have been so saddened by the news of many British companies either closing their doors or moving their production abroad. The most memorable day, for all the wrong reasons, was hearing the news of the imminent closure of the last linen weaving mill in Scotland, with over 180 years of family heritage, skills and knowledge lost, and a factory floor which resembled something from a past era, with corners filled with yarn and wonderful old machinery, soon to stand silent.

I remember that final phone call vividly and I even remember where I was when the phone rang. I remember sitting on the stairs at home in early January, just listening to the voice at the other end, attempting to convey the decisions they had been forced to make, with the knowledge that it would have such a profound effect on the industry.

That was also when I knew we had to help to change the trajectory of our British manufacturing decline. And if I could make a difference, even the smallest difference, I would try my very best to do so. Keeping the design and production processes in Britain for my business, became a priority for me.

In the UK, we have a wealth of skills and knowledge in the manufacturing industry, and it is incredibly important that we do not lose these skills. I remember as a child visiting our local factories in Somerset with my mother, looking for fabrics and haberdashery. My father would sit in the car waiting patiently with his newspaper during those visits, while we walked around the factory shops, in total awe of the sight before me, feeling like a child in a sweet shop, only the ‘sweets’ were bales of fabric, piles of remnants and wonderful old machinery!.

Moorlands Collection Fan Edge Trimmings

One of these memories is visiting the heritage wool company Fox Brothers, in Wellington, one of my most favourite. They have been producing cloth entirely in England since the 18th century, but sadly the factory shop declined and closed as the company struggled. But in recent years, Deborah Meadon, one of the Dragons Den team, invested in the company and with her help, it is now one of the worlds leading producers of the finest woollen and worsted fabrics, selling to clients such as Saville Row. This is one of our very positive tales in the industry, but sadly not all have this happy ending.

The Journey To Create My New Trimmings Collection

I began the journey to source British made trimmings about two years ago. The companies I approached were designing trimmings for individual UK companies, but the trimmings were being manufactured in China or India, as I was told they were more ‘cost effective’.

Overseas manufacturing can be fraught with problems, something which I became all too familiar with in my first range of trimmings. It can have a negative effect on the products, long lead times, inconsistency of colour and quality problems, and it often leaves a business with extraordinarily little control and unable to trace the source of its production materials. And sometimes, you will even find your bespoke products and colours being sold elsewhere.

British made trimmings has therefore become an important mission for my business and something that I have been working on behind the scenes. In early 2023, I finally had a breakthrough, when I was recommended to visit a small manufacturing company in Derbyshire. From my first phone call, I knew I had found a little gem of a company. That first visit seemed a very long drive at the time, and spending time with the team was invaluable, walking around the small factory looking at the old machinery and how trimmings are made. The rest is history, as the saying goes. We focused on the new fan edge trimmings collection first, which I am so incredibly proud to have just launched. There are eight beautiful new colours in the new collection of fan edge trimmings, designed and crafted in the UK, exclusively for us. We are currently working on our second collection now, to be launched soon. Both collections are made from natural yarns, the fan edge trimmings are made from 100% cotton, and the second collection is…. Well, that is a secret under wraps until we launch! Watch this space….

So why is British Made so important and how do customers benefit when they purchase products made in Britain? Well, there are many great reasons why buying British made is important, and here are just a few of the important ones.

Buying British Made Means Product Quality.

When you buy British, you are often buying superior quality products, skilfully manufactured items that has been well and truly built to last. Although British made can be more expensive than foreign imported goods, British made goods have a higher superior quality which you simply do not find in imported products. Overall, they are much better value for money in the long term.

Buying British Made Helps Our Economy.

Buying British made is good news for the UK economy, as you are investing in skilled craftsmanship that has often been handed down through the generations, and quality products. Every purchase, whether a product or service, supports local industries and communities, and helps to create and to protect jobs in the UK. And most importantly, helps to secure the longevity of these industries for the future.

Buying British Made is Ethical.

Many imported goods are manufactured under appalling conditions. Buying British means that employees are treated far more fairly than factories in developing countries, where employment and safety standards are much lower.  We can be assured that there is a much higher standard and safer working environment.

Buying British Made Reduces Our Carbon Footprint.

With a shorter travel distance from the manufacturer, we can reduce our carbon footprint on the planet. Products manufactured on home soil have a significantly reduced carbon footprint than those imported from other countries.

Buying British Made Means Getting To Know Our British Brands.

British companies, whether large or small, have a story to tell, of their history and skills. Getting to know these stories is an opportunity to engage more deeply with people and their products or services, especially if the companies are local to you.  Products made in the UK will inevitably be more expensive than overseas imports, so it is so important to listen to and understand the stories and people behind the brands, their ethics, their ethos, and their heritage. When you invest a little more money in quality products, it is investing something in the people behind the company and in something that lasts.

Although I make just a small difference to our UK manufacturing, it is a difference none the less. And as with any new ideas and project, the journey has been a huge learning curve, but I am so much richer for the journey. One of the things I have learnt is that my passion for UK products has simply grown. My mission and passion in my business is to continue to support and promote our British manufacturing industry. 

If you would like to browse the new fan edge trimming collection, please click here.