Make it British interviews Tiffany London, owner of Tiffany Rose, a British-made maternity wear label
I get hundreds of brands contacting me every week to say that they are passionate about UK manufacturing and making their products in Britain. But one recently stood out, and that was Tiffany Rose maternity wear.
Having had to go to several weddings during both of my pregnancies I know how difficult it is to find decent occasionwear when you’ve got a baby on the way. So it was great to hear from Tiffany London about her collection and to discover she has developed a thriving maternity business manufacturing solely in the UK.
Here is her story:
Can you tell me a bit more about yourself and why you set up your company?
I’ve always had an interest in business. My parents ran their own successful businesses and so I grew up with it in my blood. I also love design and fabrics – one of my very first jobs in London was working for interior decorator, Nina Campbell, which I found hugely inspiring. But it was several years later when I watched my pregnant sister struggle endlessly to find something decent and suitable for summer weddings, that I had the light-bulb moment. I started Tiffany Rose in 2003, but initially it was more of a part-time hobby. At the time I was also running the marketing for a London law firm, so I was squeezing Tiffany Rose in around this. It was only a few months later that orders grew to such a level that I had no choice but to jump in with both feet.
How would you describe the products that you make?
Tiffany Rose is a British maternity label specialising in high end, quality, and stylish maternity wear. Our collection ranges from chic day wear, evening wear, party dresses, full length gowns, red carpet show-stoppers and maternity bridal wear. We dress many British pregnant celebrities and every single garment is designed and made in Britain.
In which part of Britain are you based?
Our offices and design studio are based in Surbiton, Surrey. We have a fabulous and committed team of 10 employees – one of which is my husband and co-founder, Christian Robinson, who came on board on a full time basis 18 months ago.
Why did you decide to manufacture in Britain?
To begin with, my main reason for keeping production at home was to ensure tight quality control and short lead times. Quality is absolutely crucial to us and so is the ability to respond quickly to customer demand. Over time and as our orders grew, we developed strong relationships with these manufacturers and I really began to understand the importance of this, and the positive effect it was having on our business. Our manufacturers have helped our business grow, in the same way that we have helped them to expand. Some of them were affected by the massive exodus that took place when big retailers took their production overseas, and so I had to assure them we would stay in the UK – which meant they had the confidence to expand.
Who makes your products?
We currently work with a strong team of manufacturers from London up to Northern England. Each one offers unique skill-sets and we carefully match the right design with the right manufacturer according to their expertise. These skills range from delicate bead work and hand sewing, handling fine silk chiffons to working with beautiful stretch jerseys as well as quality tailoring. We also make some very high-end garments in our design studio which has worked well when creating bespoke styles for celebrities.
Where do you source your raw materials from?
The majority of our fabrics and trims are sourced from European mills. We buy British wherever we can, and several of our popular beautiful jerseys are made in a family-run factory in Northern England.
What has been the hardest part of getting your clothes made in Britain?
The single biggest problem has been firstly finding partners who have the skills required to meet our standards, and then cope with huge increases in demand. Our business has grown significantly over the last 3 years, with sales doubling consecutively year on year during this period. This has put enormous pressure on our manufacturers to keep up with demand. I am continuously seeking out new quality manufacturers to join our portfolio so we can share the load and keep up with orders – but with absolutely no risk to quality standards. Several people have advised me to take it overseas and all my problems will be solved. But that would make me very sad and I’m glad I have persevered.
And what has been the best part?
The best part has been building trusting relationships with our British ‘force’, and reaping the benefits. Whilst we have had to accept far higher costs manufacturing in Britain compared to going overseas, we have peace of mind that we are paying for high quality workmanship. We have an immense sense of pride at Tiffany Rose that we are supporting and championing our country. It feels very rewarding and on top of everything else, gives us all a massive sense of purpose.
Last year, one of our freelance designers expressed an interest in setting up her own manufacturing business in North London. We supported her in this move and she has successfully secured premises, employed full time staff, provided training and we are her largest client.