Will new Channel 4 show Mary’s Bottom Line really be the saviour of British manufacturing?
I heard months ago that the TV show in which Mary Portas takes on a factory in Middleton and does her best to save British manufacturing, was going to be called Mary’s Sweatshop. So I am now relieved to hear that it is going to be called Mary’s Bottom Line, and will finally be aired in the UK on the 15th March.
Mary’s show has certainly received lots of press coverage this weekend, including the Telegraph, The Mail and The Standard, all of which tell of how she has breathed new life into Headen & Quarmby, a factory on the outskirts of Manchester that had long since sent all of its manufacturing offshore.
But does British manufacturing really need saving? And has everyone abandoned their machines here in favour of cheaper labour in the Far East?
Whilst we don’t make as much in Britain as we used to, regular readers of this site will know that there are still plenty of designers and brands manufacturing in the UK. In fact, if you believe the Office of National Statistics figures, clothing, lingerie and accessories accounted for over a billion pounds worth goods manufactured in Britain in 2010.
I set up this site to make people aware of these often unsung heroes that have believed all along that manufacturing in the UK was the right thing to do, even when they could have achieved much better profit margins by making their products off-shore – I am therefore very pleased that a high-profile TV figure like Mary is putting British manufacturing in the forefront of people’s minds and creating so much attention around British-made products. And if the comments on some of the newspaper articles over the weekend are anything to go by, there is much support for Mary’s Buy British campaign.
However, it would be a terrible shame if after Mary’s Bottom Line has finished airing, and the first order of 100,000 pants has disappeared from the shelves, British manufacturing gets forgotten about again. Will the big retailers stocking the Kinky Knickers Mary is making in the Headen & Quarmby factory continue to back British manufacturing into 2013? I do hope so.
I also hope that all of those designers and brands that are less high profile than Ms Portas start to get the recognition they deserve for the continued support that they have given our factories all along.