One of my passions as a designer is working with artisans. People who are specialist in their field, and have a real love for what they create. I have also been saddened to see what has happened to our manufacturing industry in the UK over the past few decades.
But, times they are a changing. You may have been aware, courtesy of such figure heads as Mary Portas that the manufacturing of clothing and accessories in the UK is making a come back!
I have always endeavoured in my career as a designer to use a British manufacturer wherever it is possible. It has been a struggle to try and find these suppliers in the first place though, as a lot of them have gained their business often purely through word of mouth.
Well that used to be the case, until last summer one lady with a similar passion and a vision, set up an organisation called 'Make It British'. The site has now grown to include a database of suppliers and retailers of British made goods. They have also now organised two very successful events allowing customers to meet with a selection of British Manufacturers, Yarn and Fabric Mills, and other useful organisations. This is event is called 'Meet the Manufacturer'.
I was fortunate to be able to attend the most recent event this week. I went armed with my samples, and a shopping list of what I needed to get made. I had the most productive, and inspiring day. I have attended many 'Rag trade' events through the years, and it is often a laborious experience navigating the sometimes clique attitudes in the industry, or having to beg, borrow or steal ideas from unwilling suppliers that maybe feel like your brand is not worth them exerting any energy on!
At 'Meet the Manufacturer', everyone I met was so encouraging and enthusiastic, and genuinely wanted to help you in any way they could. A lot of them had small and large customers (like the big high street retailers), but no less enthusiasm was given knowing that you may only initially need 5 pieces instead of the 5,000 some of their other clients book!
I was also fortunate to be able to meet up with some of my mompreneur pals for a replenishing coffee whilst we were there. All shared my positive experience of the day, and we were able to share our latest tips and advice for building our entrepreneurial empires!
So, as we grow muklet, we will be endeavouring to make more of our products Britside. Look out for the Made or Crafted in Britain labels!