Here’s this week’s transcript of our ‘Ask Kate’ Q&A, which went out live on Facebook on Thursday 26th January. Topics covered included kettles made in Britain, dancewear, British yarn and zips
‘Ask Kate’ is your chance to pick the brains of Make it British founder Kate Hills on anything to do with buying British or UK manufacturing.
Join us every Thursday at 1pm on the Make it British Facebook Page .
We have got lots of things to talk to you about today, we’ve had quite a few questions come through and we’re going to be covering everything from kettles made in Britain to British yarn and zips.
If you are reading this and you have a question that you want to ask, either tap in your question into the comments below and we’ll see it and we’ll ask the question as we go along, or if you want to add a question and we can ask it next week please do so via, also via the comments here or in the comments on our website, on the Live Chat on our website, or via one of our social media accounts.
If you are here and you’ve joined in and you’d like us to give you a shout out then please just type your name in the comments as well and I’ll give you a mention, especially if you manufacture things in the UK.
Today we’ve had questions such as ‘can you still buy kettles made in Britain?’, ‘where can I buy dancewear and unitards that are made in the UK?’, lots of stuff about and wool, and then finally someone’s asked whether you can still buy zips that are made here. So I will be answering all of those questions as we go along.
Kettles made in Britain
So firstly onto the kettles question. I’ve had someone contacting me this week, it was either a Mr or Mrs Barker, and they asked, “Can you still buy a kettle that’s made in the UK?”.
Now the companies that you all think of for kettles, such as Philips, Swan and Morphy Richards; all of those kettle manufacturers have now unfortunately shipped their production overseas, so none of those brands now make in the UK.
However, there are several companies that do make kettles here.
The first is Simplex Kettles. They make gorgeous stove top copper kettles, in a Victorian style, and they’re all handmade in England. Absolutely beautiful, so it’s well worth checking them out.
There is also a company called Netherton Foundry, who also make stove top kettles in the UK.
And finally, Ghillie Kettles, although technically they’re not the sort of kettle you’d think of to use in your kitchen at home, they’re kettles for camping. You can find them for sale on a fantastic website called Made To Last.
But sadly I couldn’t find any electric kettles that are still made here.
If you know differently, pick up your kettle at home, have a look – does it say Made in England or Made in Britain? Let us know please because I’d love to be proved wrong but currently I don’t think there’s any electric kettles that are made in the UK.
We’ve had a few enquiries recently about where you can buy dancewear and leotards made in Britain.
Actually, this is one of the industries that there’s still a lot of products manufactured here.
So that was Milano, A Star, Katz Dancewear and First Position all sell dance and gym wear that’s made in the UK. Again if you know of any others please let us know as we’d love to add them to the list.
British Yarn and Wool
Now onto British yarn and wool.
We had several people ask us where they can buy knitting wool that’s made in the UK. So we did a little bit of research into this and found out about yarn that was spun and/or dyed in the UK. In fact, many of the yarns that we found were actually made from 100% British raw materials too.
We’ve compiled together a list of all of these British yarn producers, some of which are using British raw materials and some of which use imported materials, but they’re all spinning and dying yarn in the UK. There’s loads of them…I think we’ve added 25 and I’m sure there’s more to add.
So if you are looking for knitting yarns that are made here then please look at this article on British yarn.
FACT – the jumper that I’m wearing in the video is by FANCLUB and is made from yarn spun by Z. Hinchliffe in Yorkshire.
Okay, while we’re talking of British yarn I would also like to mention a fantastic podcast called Knit British if you are interested in all things British and yarn. It’s run by a Scottish lady called Louise Scollay, you can find it in the iTunes podcast app. This lady is even more obsessed than me about the origins and provenance of product and she has dedicated her whole podcast to just talking about locally sourced and made yarns, it’s fascinating so look her up – Knit British.
Something else you might be interested in if you are looking for British knitting yarn is a fantastic event called the Edinburgh Yarn Festival, it’s happening in the second weekend in March, held in Edinburgh obviously, and is run by a couple of ladies called Mica and Jo. They will be showcasing over 100 exhibitors who are small scale producers of yarn, much of which is British yarn.
British Zip Supplier
Another question we had through today is ‘is there anyone that still makes zips in Britain?”,
I’m pleased to say that yes, there’s one company making zips in the UK – they’re based in Leicester, and they are called Zipex.
At the end of our broadcast we also had some questions from people coming through live, here are the responses….
A lady called Catherine is asking for a start-up clothing range what sort of questions should she be asking a potential manufacturer?
That is a really good question, but I think that needs a more in-depth answer so I will get the answers together for this one for our Facebook live which will go out this Thursday 2nd February. In fact, I know that our Meet the Manufacturer we have quite a few start-ups come along and sometimes they can find it quite intimidating to talk to exhibitors there about what questions they should ask if they’re starting up a new range, so we will make sure we cover that next week. So if you are coming to our Meet the Manufacturer trade show, which is on the 24th and 25th of May, you will have the questions that you can print off and ask the exhibitors while you’re there.
On the subject of the events, someone asked when they can register to attend?
The registration for our trade show will open in a couple of weeks’ time, so please bear with us. But in the meantime, if you want to be notified about when the tickets are available, and it’s completely free to visit, sign up to our event newsletter.
A chap called Stephen asked if there is anyone in Britain who makes denim or stretch denim?
I think the London Cloth Company actually can weave denim so get in touch with Daniel at London Cloth Company. And I know normally he weaves woollen fabrics but I’m pretty sure he will do denim, so look him up. I don’t think there’s currently anyone else but again I will look into this and when we publish this video I’ll write the link to any other denim weaving companies that I find and put those into the comments.
**Stop press – we also found out after the Q&A that Bysshe make denim in the UK**
A lady called Caroline asked for knitted tights and leggings for children, she’s looking for a manufacturer to work with her designs.
One company does spring to mind that makes babywear and that’s Team Tots. They exhibit at our shows so you can come and meet them there, whether they do leggings I’m not sure, I’d have to check.
A lady called Laura-Anne wrote in and asked for UK manufacturers that will work closely with small start-up companies.
Right, we’ve got this problem solved this year at our Meet the Manufacturer event, because at our trade show this year we are going to have a hall specifically for manufacturers that will make small quantities and work with start-ups. It’s going to be called our Enterprise Hall and more details will be announced on that very very soon, so again get yourself on that event newsletter to make sure you can come along to that.
That’s it for this week’s Facebook Live.
If you have a question you want answered please leave it in the comments below and we will try and cover it in next week’s Ask Kate Q&A.
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