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Closing date 27th March 2017

Your chance to WIN the Georgia crossbody leather handbag from contemporary British label, C.Nicol.

WIN a C. Nicol British Handbag

The Georgia by C. Nicol retails at £287.50.

C.Nicol is a contemporary British accessories label creating luxury leather handbags.  C.Nicol are giving you the chance to WIN the fabulous Georgia bag, worth £287.50, in this competition!

Led by founder and designer, Cathleen Nicol, the collections comprise clean, classic shapes with an emphasis on using the finest materials.

Each bag is hand-cut, sewn and finished in London. The lining artwork is printed in London and changes seasonally, commissioned from British and international illustrators, graphic designers and artists.

WIN the C.Nicol Georgia bag, made in Britain

The versatile Georgia can be worn crossbody, on the shoulder or as a clutch.

The Georgia bag is made from Tan and Navy leather and comes with an elegant silver chain so it can be used across the body or as a clutch. It will add sophistication to every outfit!

For your chance to WIN the Georgia bag just answer this simple question:

What does the C in C.Nicol stand for?

  • Closing date: 27th March 2017 – Entries received after the closing date will not be included in the prize draw.

    *Competition is only open to UK residents. See our terms and conditions for full details.

To find out more about C.Nicol click here or visit them at www.cnicol.com

 

Top 50 British-made Bags

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A definitive list of the top 50 British-made bags.

Thanks to our friends on Instagram we’ve put together a list of British-made bag brands for every occasion (and size). This was intended to be a top twenty, but with this much choice and such great quality, we couldn’t leave any out!

Carpet Bags

Carpet Bags British made Bags

Carpet Bags richly coloured bags

Carpet Bags produce a wide range of beautiful and practical bags, individually made by crafts people in England.

Chapman Bags

Chapman British made Bags

Classic, strong, beautiful Chapman bags.

Originally a manufacturer of fishing and shooting bags, John Chapman makes hand crafted canvas, leather and tweed bags for travel, leisure, business and sporting activities, in Carlisle, Cumbria.

C. Nicol

C.Nicol British made bags

C.Nicol luxury leather bags

C.Nicol is a contemporary British accessories label creating luxury leather handbags.  The collections comprise clean, classic shapes with an emphasis on using the finest materials.

Elytra England

Elytra England British Bags

Elytra England handcrafted contemporary bags

Originally an entomologist, Elytra England was founded by designer/maker Justine Weyman, who handcrafts each item from her workshop in Frome, Somerset.

Emma Cornes

Emma Cornes British bags

Emma Cornes beautiful bags from British wool

Emma Cornes bags are made in England, either in Cheshire or the West Midlands, with woollen tweeds from the colours and patterns of Great Britain.

Eyato London

Eyato London British Bags

Eyato London based, distinctive handbags.

London based luxury handmade label producing high-end fashion accessories, available to order in a range of finishes (leathers, fabrics, precious metals, gems and crystals).

Grace Gordon

Grace Gordon British bags

Grace Gordon makes classic beautiful and sophisticated bags.

Grace Gordon offers a versatile and elegant range to make a foundation for the perfect luxury wardrobe.

Hanson of London

Hanson of London British Bags

Hanson of London traditional leather craftsmanship

Hanson of London is an independently owned luxury goods brand which delivers a contemporary take on traditional leather craftsmanship with a focus on elegant design and the finest natural materials.

Isabella Queen

Isabella Queen British bags

Isabella Queen luxury bags with elegant structure.

British-based luxury brand offering quality leather accessories handcrafted in London. Their bags are elegant structures with stylish flair.

Jane Hopkinson Bags

Jane Hopkinson British Bags

Jane Hopkinson offers beautiful leather bags for every occasion

Jane Hopkinson offers an extensive range of luxury leather handbags to suit your every need.

Jardine of London

Jardine of London British Luxury Bags.

Jardine of London British Luxury Bags.

Jardine of London make gorgeous classic bags loved by women across the world and a fair few celebs too!

Lellie Bags

Lellie British Bags

Lellie Bags bespoke leather bags and products are handmade in Great Britain. Their luxury leather goods are handcrafted, hand-finished and some items also include hand stitching.

Lisa Lemon Bags

Lisa Lemon British Bags

Lisa Lemon hands free bags

Lisa Lemon create stylish bags and accessories which free-up the owner to travel light, have their hands free and provide peace of mind that possessions are being taken care of.

M. Hulot

M. Hulot British bags

M. Hulot leather with a utilitarian approach.

A bag and accessories label, created for the customer that enjoys leather that actually looks like leather, and a lo-fi, utilitarian approach.

Mann and Moon

Mann & Moon British Bags

Mann and Moon a brand for discerning dogs and their owners

Mann and Moon collections are designed for dogs and their owners to enable them to seamlessly transition between country, coast and city with style when wearing our distinctive and practical accessories.

Rachel Orme

Rachel Orme bags are functional with a timeless quality

Rachel Orme is passionate about producing the finest accessories: everything is made by hand in London using the finest quality materials including Italian leathers and Liberty fabrics.

St Leonards

St Leonards British Bags

St Leonards bags made in London and St Leonards on Sea

With a unisex, pared down ethos “K” (founder of St Leonards) is slowly building her customer base. Training interns and employing local people is how she gets things done.

Steve Harkin

Steven Harkin British Bags

Steve Harkin contemporary bags with a retro twist

Steven Harkin makes and designs contemporary leather bags with a retro twist for women and men, who have a strong sense of individualism.

Susie Faulks

Susie Faulks British Brands

Susie Faulks limited edition oilcloth bags

Susie Faulks’ textiles are printed, coated and then manufactured into unique limited edition designer oilcloth bags. Fully lined with extra pockets and details they are entirely made in England totally free from all animal products.

Tea Green

Tea Green British bags

Tea Green designs contemporary bags and purses

Tea Green offers a contemporary and individual collection of handbags, purses and more. Based in Somerset, England.

Hettie

Hettie British bags

Hettie British made accessories inspired by classic traditional fabrics.

British made accessories inspired by classic traditional fabrics. Hettie is family run all Hettie products are made using Moon fabrics.

The Leather Satchel Co.

The Leather Satchel Co. British Bags

The Leather Satchel Co. bags are made by British master craftsman

The Leather Satchel Co. make bags and accessories using the Hanshaws method (heavy equestrian styled leather and classic raw edge leather-work.)

What Daisy Did

What Daisy Did Bags

What Daisy Did

What Daisy Did is an ethical and sustainable fashion label making leather and canvas bags.

VVA Handbags

VVA British bags

VVA premium handbags for functionality and individualism

A premium handbag brand that allows individuality and function in handbags that are both beautiful and timeless.

Billy Tannery

Billy Tannery British Bags

Billy Tannery

Billy Tannery is the first entirely British kid leather brand. They produce premium vegetable tanned kid leather in their own micro-tannery near Northampton.

Branco 

Branco London British Bags

Branco London

Accessories for the modern human, concentrating on longevity rather than fast paced disposable fashion.

Charlotte Elizabeth

Charlotte Elizabeth British Bags

Charlotte Elizabeth

A lady’s handbag should be the best part of their outfit,  every Charlotte Elizabeth product is sourced and stitched in Great Britain and uses the finest British leather, brassware and craftsmen.

Code

Code Leather British Bags

Code Leather

Award winning contemporary leather bags, made by hand in Leicester.

Equi-Scuto

Equi-Scuto British Bag

Equi-Scuto

Designers and creators of the finest leather equestrian boots and leather handbags for clients worldwide.

Ferian

Ferian British Bags

Ferian

Ferian bags are made in the West Midlands of England using hand-worked saddlery techniques that established the factory’s reputation in the 1800s.

Hands of Tym

Hands of Tym British Bags

Hands of Tym

Hands of Tym is a Luxury Leather goods operation focusing on ‘one by one’ humanised manufacture. Every piece unique and handmade in Banbury, Oxfordshire.

Honey and Toast London

Honey and Toast British brand

Honey and Toast

A range of leather accessories designed to meet the high expectations of both children and parents. Each piece in the Honey & Toast collection has been designed and carefully developed to be of the highest, enduring quality, in order to grow with your child.

Jade Rhone

Jade Rhone British bags

Jade Rhone

Jade Rhone is a London-based designer + maker, developing and producing handcrafted products using personally hand selected vegetable tanned leathers.

Launer London

Launer London British Bags

Launer London

Launer London has the best of British craftsmanship woven into history. This heritage, combined with a reputation for meticulous quality and refined style, has seen Launer awarded the Royal Warrant to Her Majesty The Queen for handbags and small leather goods.

The Little Clutch Bag Company

Little Clutch Bag Company British Bags

Little Clutch Bag Company

The Little Clutch Bag Company manufacture women’s clutch bags using the very best materials manufactured in the UK, all products are manufactured in England.

Modren

Modren British Bags

Modren

Modren handcrafted Harris Tweed bags from the Outer Hebrides, Scotland.

Marie Louise Maternity

Marie Louise Maternity British Bags

Marie Louise Maternity

Marie Louise Maternity is a British brand founded by senior midwife Marie Louise providing environmentally responsible pre-packed versatile baby changing bags.

Mimi 

Mimi Berry British Bags

Mimi Berry

Mimi is the contemporary London accessories brand founded by Mimi Berry. The brand grew from a simple stall in Spitalfields Market and is now an established fashion presence on the international accessories scene.

Mimi Eden Accessories

Mimi Eden Accessories British Bags

Mimi Eden Accessories

Handmade handbags and accessories made from the finest quality leathers and natural materials. Crafted by hand, made in England and inspired by nature.

Mirelle London

Mirelle London British Bags

Mirelle London

Mirelle London is a luxury accessories label  based in London, Wiltshire and Manchester.  Mirelle London bags are handmade lovingly in Manchester by expert artisans, making each bag completely unique.

Oliv Backpacks

Oliv Backbags British Bags

Oliv Backbags

Waxed canvas backpacks, handmade in Lonon.

Red Meg

Red Meg British Bags

Red Meg

Designed in the Cotswolds, Created in London, Sold and Worn Worldwide, the RedMeg range of beautiful hand made leather handbags.

Rural Kind

Rural Kind British Bag

Rural Kind

Simple, functional and durable carry goods for everyday adventuring. Waxed canvas bags, leather wallets and accessories designed and handmade in the hills of Wales.

Susannah Hunter

Susannah Hunter British Bag

Susannah Hunter

Susannah Hunter leather appliqué handbags are coveted by discerning women all over the world. Their products are designed and handmade by a small highly-skilled team in Susannah’s atelier in Bloomsbury, London.

Teal

Teal British Bags

Teal

Teal – Practical bags and accessories made in Britain using leather and canvas.

 

 

Your chance to WIN a fabulous high neck swimming costume, in a choice of four colours, from luxury swimwear brand TODIVEFOR.

TODIVEFOR luxury Swimwear

TODIVEFOR Resort Collection costume in Golden Sands

Bored of winter? Already planning your summer escape? Well, we have teamed up with luxury swimwear designers TODIVEFOR to offer you the chance to WIN one of these fabulous high neck bathing suits from their Resort Collection. The swimming costumes retails at £85.00 but one could be yours absolutely free, if you enter this competition!

TODIVEFOR swimming costume in Blue Lagoon

The costume also comes in Blue Lagoon and has a pretty back detail.

TODIVEFOR reflects a love of the ocean. Their collections are inspired by diving in Thailand, The Maldives, Borneo and Belize, to name a few. Their designs look beautiful on the beach and under the sea. TODIVEFOR may be inspired by ocean adventures in far off lands but their collections are designed and made in Britain.

TODIVEFOR costume in Paradise Island

The costume also comes in Paradise Island, a stunning shade of pink.

TODIVEFOR are offering our readers the chance to WIN one of these swimming costumes in their choice of size and colour. The sizes range from XS to XL and their are four colour options: Blue Lagoon (blue), Ocean Springs (light blue), Paradise Island (pink) and Golden Sands (yellow).

The costumes are made from fantastic quality material and fully lined so they offer great support and are flattering for all shapes. They even offer UV protection too.

For your chance to WIN just answer this simple question:

Name one of the destinations which helped inspire the TODIVEFOR collections?

  • Closing date: 20th March 2017 – Entries received after the closing date will not be included in the prize draw.

    *Competition is only open to UK residents. See our terms and conditions for full details.

For more information about TODIVEFOR click here or visit them at www.todivefor.com

20 of the best British beauty brands

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Here at Make it British HQ we love a good beauty product, and of course it has to be a British made beauty find! We have rounded up for you our top 20 British beauty brands.

Thanks to our friends on Instagram we’ve put together a list of British-made beauty brands including everything from face creams, bath oils, serums and even make-up! Enjoy.

The Rose Tree

The Rose Tree organic beauty products

The Rose Tree

The Rose Tree offers beautiful, luxury, organic products made for real women with busy lives. They look pretty wonderful on your dressing table too!

Seascape

Seascape body beauty products

Seascape

Seascape natural bath and body products all feature ingredients sourced from products on the beautiful island of Jersey in the Channel Islands.

Angela Langford Skincare

Angela Langford Skincare and beauty

Angela Langford Skincare

Five years on from launching, Angela now helps hundreds of women with their skincare choices offering them personalised solutions using the finest ingredients.

Bee Good

Bee Good natural beauty products

Bee Good

Award-winning naturally-focused skincare, made by beautiful British bees. Contains honey, beeswax and propolis. We love these tasty lip balms!

Conscious Skincare

Conscious Skincare British beauty brand

Conscious Skincare

Natural Organic Skin Care lovingly made in Wales by Conscious Skincare. Award winning. Cruelty free. Suitable for Acne, Eczema, Psoriasis and Rosacea.

Filberts of Dorset

Filbert's of Dorset natural beauty brand

Filbert’s of Dorset

Bringing beeswax goodness to your everyday living. Born from the needs of the outdoors, Filberts of Dorset makes functional beeswax products with a quirky sense of fun.

Rose May The Handmade Gift Shop

Rose May Handmade beauty products

Rose May Handmade

Rose-May is a shop that only sells items that have been handmade in the UK. They stock a wide range of collectors bears, soaps, body products and gifts. Tracey the shop owner makes the collectors bears.

Seams

Seams Hand Cream beauty products

Seams Hand Cream

SEAMS fast-drying hand cream seals moisture deep into your skin, not on top. It’s secret ‘dry’ formula melts into skin in just sixty seconds.

The Personal Barber

The Personal Barber Subscription Box

The Personal Barber

Every month you’ll receive their hand-picked choices of the best shaving products available, right to your door.

Watermans

Hair Growth Shampoo For Women‎ & Men – Watermans shampoo and conditioner helps your hair grow faster, thicker longer faster. Makes your hair look in beautiful.

Clarity Cleanse

Clarity Cleanse British made beauty oil

Clarity Cleanse

Eco-Luxe skincare for men and women from health journey specialists, Clairty Cleanse. As well as plans and juices, Clairy Cleanse offer you revolutionary skincare made with plant based oils.

Elemental Herbology

Elemental Herbology British beauty brand

Elemental Herbology

Elemental Herbology products are brimming with nutrients, indulgent to use, and deliver amazing results. And are passionate about making in England. Thumbs up all round!

Eve of St. Agnes

Eve of St. Agnes British beauty brand

Eve of St. Agnes

St. Agnes was the patron saint of purity, the perfect name then for a brand who chooses natural, pure ingredients and essential oils.

Lola’s Apothecary

Lola's Apothecary British beauty brand

Lola’s Apothecary

Lovingly handmade products from a picturesque cattle farm in Devon. These products don’t just look pretty, but have won wide acclaim from customers and press alike, for their effective skincare.

Make Skincare

Make Skincare British Beauty brand

Make Skincare

Make Skincare products are hand-blended in Somerset and packed full of natural active ingredients. They use a range of exotic oils, vitamins and plant extracts which are safe enough to eat.

Nathalie Bond Organics

Nathalie Bond British beauty brand

Nathalie Bond

Simple, botanical, natural skincare and candles, handmade with the finest certified organic ingredients and pure essential oils in the UK.

Neal’s Yard Remedies

Neal's Yard British beauty brand

Neal’s Yard

Since opening their first shop in 1981, Neal’s Yard has become a well known place to go for organic health and beauty products. Their products are made at their Eco Factory in Dorset and are hand crafted with love.

Skin & Tonic

Skin & Tonic British beauty brand

Skin & Tonic

Skin & Tonic create certified organic, sustainable skincare and use no more than 7 ingredients because they believe less really is more. Products are handmade in their Hackney workshop.

Tropic

Tropic British Beauty brand

Tropic

Tropic take care of every element of their business from their Surrey Beauty Kitchen and warehouse. They offer a range of skincare, body care and even make-up, all boasting the purest naturally derived ingredients and are free from harmful toxic chemicals.

If you are looking for more British beauty brands check out the health and beauty category in our directory.

10 of the best British-made Valentines gifts

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With the 14th February just around the corner, we have put together a list of gorgeous British-made Valentine’s gifts.

Thanks to our friends on Instagram we’ve put together a list of the best British Valentine’s gifts, to help you avoid the typical high street buys! Every single one of these products is made in Britain….and we’re adding more and more as we find them. Cupid would be proud…

Ayten Gasson

Ayten Gasson

Luxury silk lingerie and nightwear, designed and handmade in this Brighton boutique.

Bows of London

Bows of London

Bows of London produce hand-sewn, crystallised, super sparkly hair bows for cheerleaders worldwide!

Bush Boo Baby and Kids

Bush Boo Baby and Kids

Bush Boo Baby offers fun , colourful clothing and accessories with a traditional quirky twist. This apron is a lovely idea for your little Valentine!

Charlotte Elizabeth

Charlotte Elizabeth

Every lady’s handbag by Charlotte Elizabeth is sourced and stitched in Great Britain. This will earn you serious Brownie points!

Eliza Eliza

Eliza Eliza

Beautiful, sustainable organic hemp and cotton pouches, what girl doesn’t love a pouch?

Estee Moscow

Ester Moscow

Personalised gifts hand sewn by Estee Moscow. It’s a bag, its sparkly, she will love it!

Jackie Loves Clogs

Jackie Loves Clogs

Footwear designer and maker making contemporary hand crafted clogs and these lovely leather hearts.

Mimi Eden Accessories

Mimi Den Accessories

Mimi Eden produce beautifully handcrafted pieces using the finest quality leather and natural materials from their studio in Yorkshire.

The Throw Company

The Throw Company

The Throw Company produce the highest quality most realistic, life-like faux furs. All our products are Designed and Hand Made with loving care in their UK Studio.

Valentina Karellas

Valentina Karellas

A sustainable approach to urban chic. Valentina Karellas.com offers knitwear that is one-of-a kind. They use surplus yarn from large factories that would otherwise have gone to waste.

British Wool – From sheep to loom

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Find out how wool is processed from fleece to fabric and why using British wool is important, as we chat to Laura Rosenzweig, the founder of Laura’s Loom

Laura Rosenzweig, founder of Laura’s Loom.

Laura, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you first learnt to weave? I first learned to weave in the US, over 20 years ago now. Weaving was something I had always wanted to have a go at. When I had the chance to sit down at a loom for the first time I was completely hooked.

I grew up in Goole in the old West Riding of Yorkshire, England’s most inland port on the River Ouse. My granny taught me to knit and my dad was artistic but there are no professional artists or weavers in my family. I still have my first bit of cardboard weaving made at primary school and I clearly remember visiting an old decrepit weaving mill somewhere in Lancashire when I was on holiday.

My other interests and choices led me into the world of land use planning and environmental protection and this is what I focused on in my early career until I moved abroad. Moving to another country with a young family and no job, I started to weave more and more. By the time we moved again, to the UK, I had decided to focus all my energy on Laura’s Loom and started to build my business out of my hobby.

You use a lot of local wool, can you tell me more about that? Here in the Yorkshire Dales we are surrounded by sheep. They are mostly hill and mountain breeds, hardy animals with hardy fleece. All wool is good wool in my eyes, but each fleece type has certain uses – if it’s good for carpets it’s not necessarily going to be good in a scarf! It seemed wasteful to me to be always buying in yarn from abroad for my weaving when there was so much raw material right on my doorstep.

Instead of buying in yarns that weren’t quite right I decided to make my own. Looking around my home in the Dales I started to think about what breed might suit my purposes. Most farmers around here have a small flock of Bluefaced Leicesters. They are bred with the native Swaledale to produce a hybrid called the North of England Mule. The resulting cross has good meat, good wool, and is a hardy animal reliably producing two lambs each year.

I chose to work initially with Bluefaced Leicester wool because it is a fine, long-staple, semi-lustrous fleece and can be spun to a fine count. It’s not as itchy as some other wools so it is good for scarves as well as blankets. In fact, when it’s worsted spun instead of woollen spun it can be one of the smoothest fibres available anywhere.

Bluefaced Leicester Sheep

For those who don’t know, can you talk us through the whole process that you undertake from fleece to fabric? I collect my fleece from local farms after it has been sheared in late summer. It is usually rolled up in big bags called wool sacks. I then set to work on each fleece individually. I don’t grade my fleece, which involves dividing the fleece into different qualities of wool, but I skirt them which involves spreading the fleece out on a flat surface and carefully removing the daggings (aka poo), all the vegetation that might be trapped in the fleece (straw, briars, leaves, etc) and anything else you might find such as bits of string and wire. Any parts of the fleece that are heavily matted or felted are taken off as well. Then the fleece is rolled back up again and stored in a clean bag.

The fleece is then sent to the scouring plant. I use Haworths Scouring in Bradford. Here the fleece is washed and dried in a series of giant washing machines and tumble dryers. It is important to me that the fleece stays as natural as possible so I don’t use bleach or any other harsh chemicals on my fleece. This means that you might get the odd bit of straw left in but at least it’s clean straw!

The next stage is spinning. I work mostly with Lightowlers Spinners in Meltham just outside Huddersfield. Here my fleece is blended and carded ready for woollen spinning. Nothing is added other than necessary oils for the spinning machines. The size (count) of the yarn and the twist needs to be considered ahead of time – I produce fine woollen singles yarn suitable for weaving scarves and blankets. Occasionally I might have it plyed to produce a thicker loftier yarn suitable for knitting as well as weaving.

Spinning

From the spinner the yarn then heads off to the dyer if I am interested in adding colour to it. I work with Ettrick Dyers in Selkirk. I will supply colour swatches and they will test my yarn to see if those colours are achievable. BFL fleece is quite creamy in contrast to the brighter white you might find in a Shetland yarn. Creating pastels from a creamy base is difficult so it’s a good job I prefer rich deep colours!

After dyeing the yarn is ready for weaving. I weave sample fabric swatches at home on my own loom, designing with the yarn to see how it works best. I like simple designs and subtle colours. Once I have worked out what I want I will discuss this with the weaving company who will weave up several hundred metres of cloth for me. I work mostly with Drove Weaving in the Scottish Borders. If I don’t give them the right instructions I won’t get the fabric I want so I have had to learn the language of powerloom weaving which is quite different from the language of handweaving I learned 20 years ago!

After weaving there is one more process to get to the final fabric and that is cloth finishing. All of my fabrics are sent to Schofields Dyers and Finishers in Galashiels. Here the cloth is washed (known as fulling for woollen cloths) to both tighten and soften the quality of the woven fabric. It is then dried on a tentering machine where it is stretched to shape and fringes will be twisted into place if required. Then the individual blankets and scarves are cut and folded and are ready to come back to me for quality control, labelling and packaging.

With the amount of fleece I collect I am able to produce one ‘collection’ of throws and scarves each year. Any remaining yarn is knitted into socks at J. Alex Swift in Leicestershire, or is sold on for others to weave with it.

Tell us a bit about the people you work with during the process, the farmers, spinners, dyers, weavers and knitters. How do you find the right people to work with? I found my people through word of mouth – a farmer who introduced me to other farmers; a weaver who introduced me to a spinner who introduced me to a scourer and suggested a dyer; a weaver who introduced me to a cloth finisher and took me up there to meet them. It was a steep learning curve in the beginning – you might give a scourer 100kg of raw greasy fleece but you only get 50% back if you’re lucky because the rest is actually not wool at all, it is dirt, grease and moisture!

There’s a lot to learn and the only way to learn it is by asking questions and learning the correct terms so there’s no room for mis-understanding. A handweaver can make changes on the loom on the fly, but you can’t do that so easily on a powerloom. It’s a fascinating world out there, taking a craft skill and turning it into an industrial process, even on the small scale that I do it and I am constantly in awe of the people who work in these industries. Their knowledge is a treasure-trove.

Laura has been working with a local couple in Dentdale who raise Alpacas.

You do everything locally, from sourcing your fleece through to weaving, what value do you feel keeping it local adds to your brand? People increasingly like to know where their food and clothes come from and who made them, what processes have they gone through to be made. Being able to point out the sheep on the hillside from where I get my wool is of great interest to the customers who visit my workshop. Telling people about the area where I live and how I am using a local resource is important to me. It helps the farmers, the community and me and it gives my customers, many of whom are visitors to the area, a taste of the place to take home with them.

For customers from further afield, they like to know that my product is an honest one and that I am trying to do something to give back to my community. What I do is a tiny drop in the ocean and most people won’t hear the splash but it matters to me. It is particularly gratifying that all of the farmers I work with value the work that I do. They all share in my success and are fascinated to see and learn about what happens to their wool when it leaves the farm.

They are no longer burning or burying the fleece now that they are getting more value for the hard work that goes into looking after their sheep.

Your passion for wool and weaving is so clear. Can you tell us what Made in Britain means to you and why it is important for your brand? I have tried to keep things as local as possible but have had to learn that sometimes you need to go further afield to get specialist skills as they’re not all on the doorstep. But keeping it British is not a problem at all – we have all the skills I need for my business right here and if we don’t use them they will quickly be gone.

Many of the companies I work with struggle to find and keep young people. The pay is not great, the work can be dirty and noisy, there are times when jobs are flooding in and there are not enough hands to do them all, and then the work falls off a cliff edge because of global market swings and people are out of work or on short hours.

British industry relies on work coming in from elsewhere but it also needs a strong and healthy home-grown market. We make great things here in Britain and I believe British-made goods have a level of quality that is renowned worldwide.

And we couldn’t agree more!

To find out more about Laura’s Loom click here or visit www.laurasloom.com

Here’s this week’s transcript of our ‘Ask Kate’ Q&A, which went out live on Facebook on Thursday 2nd February.

‘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 .

**Sorry for the video quality this week – but at least it was the right way round this time. Still learning how to work this Facebook Live thing!**

We had some interesting questions last week and some things which I couldn’t answer at the time so I going to cover them  today.  We’re also going to be covering questions you can ask a manufacturer if you’re going to visit them for a first time, we’ll be putting a special call out to those people that are based in North London that might want to join a new group, we’ve got an update on denim manufacturers following on from last week, and we’re going to introduce you to some of the new members of Make It British.  What was the other thing Lauren, we’ve got one other thing at the end?

Here’s a very subtle clue, it’s dog related, so it’s something for all the dog lovers out there.

**Cue Lauren coming in with Poppy the dog**

You’ll have to wait to find out what that’s all about at the end…

Questions to ask a UK manufacturer

So the first thing I want to cover today is something that someone asked last week about what questions can you ask if you want to start working with a UK manufacturer. Now I actually sat down and had a big think about this and I’ve typed up 12 questions because I think there’s quite a few things that you can ask.  You can find the full list of questions to ask a UK manufacturer here. I’ve also done you a handy print-off PDF that you can print out so when you’re on the phone to that manufacturer or going to visit them you can tick them off as you go along.

But one thing I want to stress here really is that I think it is really important to go and visit a manufacturer, that’s the real advantage of working with them if they’re in the UK.  I would say use those questions to ring some manufacturers up, ring as many as you can possibly find, ask them some of the key questions such as what are your minimum order quantities and who else do you work with, so you can gauge an idea of whether they are the right manufacturer for you potentially.

Pick out two or three that you like the sound of on the phone and that meet your criteria, and then go and see them, that’s really important, and you can ask these questions to them face-to-face.


Getting buyer feedback on new prototypes

While we’re on the subject of product development, someone else contacted us via the live chat on our website this week to say that they’ve launched a new company and have developed a prototype, and they want to find out how they can get feedback on their prototype.

Should they come to a trade show and ask the exhibitors? Should they send it to buyers? 

Now I used to be a buyer and I would say that most buyers are very busy and they may not have the time to give you feedback. So I would say that one of the best things to do before you approach these buyers is to get feedback from the sort of people that are your target customers. Create a focus group. For instance, if you’re creating a product for children go to a parents’ group and ask the parents there for feedback on your product.  

I also think that social feedback is a great way of sort of justifying whether a product is right for your market. Get out there with an Instagram account or a Facebook account or even post something in our Buy British Facebook community and ask members for their feedback; it’s a great way of getting feedback from people who aren’t necessarily your friends or your family because they are going to say they like it whether you think they’re being honest or not.

And finally I also think that crowd funding is good too. So many people now are launching brands or new products on some sort of crowd funding platform such as Kickstarter. It really is a really good way of justifying whether there is a market for the product that you’re developing.

One thing I would say is don’t go to a trade fair with your product and expect an exhibitor at the trade show, who might be a potential manufacturer for you, to answer questions there and then about your product. They don’t usually have the time to do that. At our show we have 5,000 visitors and the exhibitors there really just want to take business cards and catch up with you afterwards and taking a product along may not be the best way of getting constructive feedback.


Muswell Hill Creatives Group

Just want to give a shout out to something interesting that came through in our Buy British Community from a lady called Rachael who runs the Muswell Hill Creatives. Rachael is looking for any creative people that are working with their own business and making things in the North London area to join the Muswell Hill Creatives Group – a fantastic group of makers in the North London area. (There should be this sort of thing all over the country).

If you live in North London, you make things and you are interested in joining the Muswell Hill Creatives you can find out more on their website here.


New Make it British Members

We have all sorts of businesses that make in the UK on the Make It British website and I just to give you an idea of the variety of different companies that you can find there. So far in the last couple of weeks we’ve been joined by: Barnes and Moore Leatherworks who make beautiful leather products, Geoff Stocker who makes fantastic men’s accessories in silk, furniture company Forest Sofa, Elgar Shirts making traditional British nightshirts, Rutland Plastics who do injection moulded plastics, more furniture from the English Bed Company, and Fazane Fox who has an apparel production business – so if you’re looking to develop clothing in the UK get in touch with Fazane.


Update on British-woven denim

Elizabeth Rees has just popped in to remind me of the denim question we had last week – “is there anyone making denim in the UK?”. I mentioned the London Cloth Company, and I knew there was another company and I’ve remembered who it is, I’ve done some research and they’re called the Bysshe Partnership. They have woven some fantastic indigo died cloths in Lancashire. Not true denim cloth, but they’re really beautiful fabrics. So check them out.


British-made dog brands

Right, now we’re going to tell you all why we’ve got Poppy the dog in today. Lauren do you want to come and tell us why Poppy’s here?

Poppy’s with us today because we have added a compilation of the best British dog accessory brands on the Make it British website- and you can find everything from collars, bandanas, jumpers, snuffle mats, treats. Everything you need for your dog.

All made in the UK.

There’s nearly 50 dog brands added already and you can find the list of the best British made dog accessories brands here.


I think we’re kind of coming to the end of today’s Ask Kate Q&. Don’t forget –  if you want to also keep up with what we’re doing at Make It British please do join our newsletter or join us on the Make it British Facebook page every Thursday at 1pm for our Facebook live Q&A.

Please leave your questions that you want answered in the comments below or talk to us via the chat box in the corner of this website.

Thank you very much for joining me and don’t forget – let’s Make It British, thank you, bye.

They are man’s best friend and we love to accessorise our pooches! We’ve pulled together a list of the best British dog accessories brands

Thanks to our friends on Instagram we’ve put together a list of the best British dog accessories brands out there, and once again we have been overwhelmed with great recommendations so there are far more than ten to choose from! Every single one of these products is made in Britain….and we’re adding more and more as we find them.

Berkeley Dog Beds

Luxury Dog Beds by Berkeley are some of the best! Smart and cosy so the bed looks great in your home and your dog will love it.

Berkeley Dog Beds

Broughton & Co

Fashionable and trend-led leather goods that are built to last and stand the test of time.

Broughton and Co.

Dogatella

Fabulous matching leather accessories for the style conscious dog and owner!

Dogatella

Hector Hartley 

Hector Hartley creates stylish dog bed duvets that are ultra-soft and comfy for your dog to nestle into combined with durable designer fabrics.

Hector Hartley

Pet Mirrors

Pet Mirrors create pet themed acrylic mirrors of various shapes, sizes and colours. They are perfect for brightening up your home or the work place.

Pet Mirrors

The Hettie Company

A family run company making British accessories from British woven wool.

The Hettie Company

Mann + Moon

For the discerning dogs and their owners who want distinctive, stylish and functional accessories for walks and socialising with their best friends.

Mann and Moon

Woof and Meow

Dog accessories from the heart of Scotland, a brand born from a love of design and animals!

Woof and Meow

Beautiful Joe’s 

Beautiful Joe’s ‘Perfectly Behaved’ Liver Treats are hand-made from British free range, ox liver and dogs go crazy for them.

Beautiful Joe’s Dog Treats

Boots and Bones

Unique handmade dog accessories for your four-legged friend, designed and made in Britain.

Boots and Bones dog accessories

Boots and Bones

Hanson of London

Beautiful leather accessories made with traditional saddlery techniques.

Hanson of London dog accessories

Hanson of London

Jolie Dog

Handmade dog coats, tank tops, vests, collars, bags and more from Jolie Dog.

Jolie Dog accessories

Jolie Dog

Made for Mutts

Accessories are made for hounds, pooches, mans best friend, puppy, dog, tail wagger, pedigree, mongrel, canine…not just mutts!

Made for Mutts dog accessories

Made for Mutts

Melissa Simpson 

Beautiful leather dog accessories from Melissa, who is an expert in the production of leathergoods.

Melissa Simpson London dog accessories

Melissa Simpson London

Misheleneous

Hand made gifts for home and hound beautifully modelled by Heidi here…

Misheleneous dog accessories

Misheleneous

 

Redhound for Dogs

Dog coats, jackets and accessories from the brand based in a barn on a beautiful working farm in the heart of the Kent Countryside.

Redhound for Dogs accessories

Redhound for Dogs

Ruffle Snuffle

Ruffle Snuffle rugs made by experienced animal behaviourist Sarah White.

Ruffle Snuffle dog accessories

Ruffle Snuffle

Slumbering Hound

Providing handmade, high quality, bespoke dog cushions, blankets and accessories to make your hound happy.

Slumbering Hound dog accessories

Slumbering Hound

Smart Dog’s Boutique

Beautiful collars, leads, bandanas and coats, to suit all sizes from the smallest Chihuahua to the largest Great Dane.

Smart dogs boutique dog accessories

Smart dogs boutique

Spoilt Little Puppy

Spoilt Little Puppy have created a selection of luxury accessories & necessities for Hounds & their Humans with products they love created by companies in the UK .

Spoilt Little Puppy dog accessories

Spoilt Little Puppy

Storeys and Tails

Hand crafted dog products made in England

Storeys and Tails dog accessories

Storeys and Tails

The Cosy Canine Company

The Cosy Canine Company is a happy hub of handmade dog crate covers, bags and accessories.

The Cosy Canine Company dog accessories

The Cosy Canine Company

Tipp & Tag

The highest quality dog collars and accessories using genuine leather and English brass fittings all made in the UK.

Tipp and Tag dog accessories

Tipp and Tag

Watts in the Box

Brand run by Vicki, an animal technician, her chief knitter and her team of dogs to bring you hand knitted dog jumpers.

Watts in the Box dog accessories

Watts in the Box

Wellybix

Healthy dog treats hand-made with LOVE in picturesque Teesdale, full of natural, wholesome goodness and packed with garden herbs.

Wellybix dog accessories

Wellybix

Alice Foxx

Luxury fashion brand for dogs, made in the U.K.

Alice Foxx

B & V Trading

Quality dog accessories that are both affordable and durable.

B and V Trading

East End Best Friend

Fine handmade canine goods.

East End Best Friend

 

Friday Fox England

A small family business which makes beautiful Witney wool horse blankets and dog coats from its base high on the Lancashire moors.

Friday Fox England

Milgi Coats

Beautiful UK made coats  specially created for greyhounds, lurchers and whippets.

Milgi Coats

Minkeys Tweed

Designs handmade from pure Scottish and Yorkshire tweed.

Minkeys Tweed

Teddy Maximus

The Luxury Pet Brand for Style & Heritage. Designed & Made in England by Fine Craftsman…

Teddy Maximus 

If you know of any other British dog accessories that are made in the UK then please let us know and we will add them to the list. Just add them in the comments below.

12 Questions to ask a UK manufacturer

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So you want to get something made in the UK? Even if you have the experience of developing a product before you might not have visited a factory. 

questions to ask a factory

Choosing a manufacturer is one of the most important decisions you can make in the development of a product, so it’s not something to enter into without a bit of due care and attention.

I always say that it is worth speaking to as many manufacturers as you can over the phone first, and then go and visit two or three to get a feel for the sort of operation they run.

Some of these questions you may want to ask over the phone initially, in order to narrow down your choice, but others, such as those about price, are best approached in a face to face situation.

Here are my top ten tips for questions to ask when you visit a factory for the first time:

What is your minimum order quantity?

This can vary depending on the product, but is one of the key questions to ask a manufacturer from the start. There’s no point going to see a supplier who won’t set up a production line for less than a 2,000 piece order, if you only want to order 20 pieces.

Manufacturers usually have minimum orders to make their production efficient and to avoid the costly stop-starting of machines. Some may bend on their minimums, but this will more than likely command a higher production price in order to make it worth their while.

At this stage it is probably also worth finding out what their price breaks are too. Often, if you just order a few more it will help lower the cost price. So consider whether you are spreading your order across too many low quantity options and if you could consolidate some styles and order more of the key items within the range.

Who else do you manufacture for? This is one of the first questions that I would ask. It gives you an idea of the level that the manufacturer is operating at and the type of businesses that they are used to dealing with. If they start complaining about their other customers though – run a mile. That could be you in 6 months time!

It would also be wise to contact one or two of their previous clients to get a reference…or speak to me and I’ll let you know what feedback I’ve heard.

What are you lead-times?

The time it takes from when you confirm an order and deliver all your raw materials to the factory, to when the order is ready to be shipped. This can vary from product to product. Different times of the year can effect lead-times too.

It is important to know this information and to take it into consideration when you are placing an order. Just because your 500 pieces will only take the factory a week to manufacture does not mean that they will be ready a week after you place the order.

A good factory will plan production weeks and even months in advance in order to keep their workforce busy and not have any down-time. You need to allow for this in your own critical path planning.

I would also allow an extra couple of weeks as contingency too.

questions to ask a manufacturerWhat is the cost for prototyping and sampling?

I don’t know many manufacturers that don’t charge a premium for the time spent making a sample.

Generally the rate is at least double what the production costs will be. Some factories will charge an hourly rate for development time and others will charge a flat fee.

Ask the question early on so that you can factor the development charges into your budget.

What are your payment terms?

UK manufacturers need good cashflow, just like any other business, so they’ll be keen for you to pay within a fixed time frame. Some manufacturers may ask you to pay a deposit upfront, especially if they haven’t worked with you before. And many will require payment before they ship the goods.

I’d always recommend going to see the final production before it is shipped so that you know what you are paying for is what you expected. After all, being able to do this at this stage is one of the advantages of working with a UK manufacturer.

questions to as a UK manufacturerHow many x can you produce a week? If you need to order 5000 pieces of something and the factory can only produce 50 a week, it is going to take them a very long time to make your order. Consider how much you can grow with a factory as your orders get bigger, or whether you might outgrow them too fast.

Will you sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement)?

The jury is out as to whether an NDA is worth the paper it is written on, in my opinion. I’ve been to factories where they say they have an NDA with a well known designer, and then proceed to show you their next season collection!

I think the main thing here is trust. When you meet this manufacturer do they show you all the exclusive work they are doing for other clients, or do they keep it under wraps?

What audits or industry certifications does your factory comply to? 

An audit is an assessment that is carried out to ascertain a factory’s quality systems and workplace environment. It costs a manufacturer money to have an audit carried out, so some smaller manufacturers may not have had one.  But it’s worth asking the question, and if they haven’t had any audits then it is worth finding out the reason why.

Can I see the factory floor or workroom?

It is so important to see where the magic happens. This is the true indicator of how the manufacturer runs their business.

Is it neat and tidy? Are there organised compartments for things? Do the staff look happy? or harassed? What are they currently working on and what does the quality look like?

questions to ask a UK manufacturerWhat sort of quality control do you have in place?

Whilst you go round the factory this is your chance to find out what quality controls they have in place.

At what stages of the production is the quality checked? Do they have a gold seal sample to refer to as they go along? Is there some sort of final inspection process that takes place before the product is shipped out? What is the lighting like in this area? and does it look well-staffed?

Quality inspection is particularly important in factories making products for children and babies, where something like a broken needle being left in a garment could be a life-threatening situation.

What types of machinery do you have?

Different equipment has different capabilities and it is worth finding out what the factory can do with the machinery it has. There may be something that they are capable of that you haven’t considered but which could drastically improve the production of your product. It may also give you ideas for future development work.

I actually think this is one of the great benefits of visiting a manufacturer – because it gives you product development ideas you might never have dreamed of before.

Who would be managing my account?

You know the score. You go to a business and they put the best sales person in charge of the customer on-boarding. You’re really impressed and decide to give them your order. They then put the junior in charge of your account and everything starts to go a bit skew-whiff!

If you are impressed by the owner when he shows you around then insist that it is him that you communicate with going forward.

I hope that you have found the above helpful. If you think we’ve missed anything out then I would love to hear from you in the comments below.

We’ve also made this into a handy PDF copy for you to print out – just fill in your details below and we’ll email it to you.

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 .

Simplex Kettles are made in England

Simplex Kettles are made in England

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. 

Netherton Foundry Kettles made in Shropshire

Netherton Foundry Kettles made in Shropshire

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.


British-made Dancewear

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. 

For a start, there’s a company called First Position who make a lot of their products here, and also Katz Dancewear.

Katz Dancewear is made in Northampton

Katz Dancewear is made in Northampton

There’s also a lot of gymnastics leotards that are made here – including Milano leotards, all made in Preston, and a company called A Star based in Devon. 

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.

Eden Cottage Yarns

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.


Live questions

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.

Like our Facebook Page to be notified when we go live!

Closing Date 28th February 2017

Your chance to WIN three packs of either Women’s or Men’s underwear from British underwear specialists Unibu.

Ladies hipsters three pair pack

Unibu offer unique British underwear,  made to exacting standards, entirely in the United Kingdom. Building on years of experience, Shirley Crisp created Unibu to offer great fit and quality, and natural materials for a variety of shapes and sizes. Unibu is made in Britain down to the last thread. That means everything they design, dream, produce, manufacture, sew, stitch and send on its way was found in Britain and manufactured in British factories.

Unibu are offering one lucky reader the chance to WIN not one but THREE packs of either women’s or men’s underwear in their choice of style and size.

Men’s pants by Unibu come in packs of two.

Women’s underwear comes in packs of three, so that will be nine knickers! Whilst men’s underwear comes in packs of two, meaning the lucky winner receives six pants. And with sizes ranging from S to XXL everyone can have  the comfiest undies with a perfect fit!

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is answer this simple question:

Building on year’s of experience, who created Unibu?

  • Closing date: 28th February 2017 – Entries received after the closing date will not be included in the prize draw.

    *Competition is only open to UK residents. See our terms and conditions for full details.

To find out more about Unibu click here or visit them at www.unibu.co.uk

WIN a cashmere hat from We Are Rushworth

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Your chance to win a cashmere beanie hat in a choice of 5 colours from We Are Rushworth in the first of our Instagram competitions

Closing date 1st February 7pm

Simply go to this post on our Instagram page and follow the instructions to enter the competition. You will need an Instagram account to take part

Closing date: 1st February 2017 at 7pm– Entries received after the closing date will not be included in the prize draw.

*Competition is only open to UK residents. See our terms and conditions for full details.

20 of the best British yarn producers

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Where can you buy British yarn? Loads of places! Read on to find out who’s making yarn here. From local farms and hand-dyers, to large mills and commercial spinners, there’s a wealth of British yarn makers producing some amazing quality yarn

British yarn producersFollowing on from a request via the website asking where they could buy British-made hand knitting yarn we put a call out on Instagram for people to recommend companies that make British yarn. We had a fantastic response…it appears that the British yarn scene is thriving.

Our aim was to put together a top of British yarn producers, but there were so many fantastic ones to choose from that we went well over 20. And we’re adding to it all the time! If you know of any others then please mention them in the comments below and we’ll add them to this post.

One thing that we’d like to point out is the distinction between British wool and British-spun yarn. This article covers British spun yarn i.e. the criteria was that the yarn was spun in Britain but might be from fibres that aren’t from the UK. However, the vast majority here, especially from the smaller companies, use local fibres from British sheep or Alpaca. If in doubt, always ask the yarn supplier to give more details about the provenance of their yarn.

I also want to take this opportunity to give a special mention to Louise Scollay. A few years ago Louise set out to knit with only British yarn made from locally sourced fibres. Her passion for UK-made knitting wool led her to set up a great podcast called Knit British – well worth a listen.

Laura’s Loom Laura’s Loom produce fine weaving and knitting yarns in various weights and colours from iconic British sheep breeds including Bluefaced Leicester, Hebridean and Wensleydale.

Lauras loom Yarn

Town End Alpacas

Town End Alpacas produce British alpaca wools  and other UK alpaca blend knitting yarns from their farm in the Lake District.  They buy local fleece where possible and sort and blend the fibres on the farm.

Town End Alpacas

Town End Alpacas

Ardalanish Mill The Ardalanish Mill on the Isle of Mull not only spins its own yarn but also weaves it into beautiful fabrics.

Ardalanish Mill

Black Isle Yarns Natural and sustainable yarns from Scotland.

Black Isle Yarns

Blacker Yarns Blacker Yarns produce a range of beautiful breed specific yarns made exclusively from British sheep, all spun in Cornwall. They are also one of the exhibitors at our Meet the Manufacturer event.

Blacker Yarns

Cambrian Wool 100% Welsh wool spun from the fleece of the of the Welsh Mule.

Cambrian Wool

Cornish Organic Wool 100% organic wool – produced, spun and hand dyed organically with Soil Association certification.

Cornish Organic Wool

Countess Ablaze Yarn-dyer based in Manchester with some stunning coloured wool.

Countess Ablaze

Daughter of a Shepherd 100% British wool from shepherds and producers within the United Kingdom.

Daughter of a Shepherd

Eden Cottage Yarns Beautiful hand-dyed yarns.

Eden Cottage Yarns

Fat Bubba from Mel Porter 100% Merino Fat Bubba wool is hand spun in the UK and is available to buy the via Melanie Porter website.

Fat Bubba from Mel Porter

Garthenor Certified organic knitting yarns from traditional British sheep.

Garthenor

IsleYarns Pure wool from the Isle of Purbeck.

http://isleyarns.co.uk/

Isle Yarns

J.C. Rennie & Co Established in 1798, J.C. Rennie make beautiful woollen yarns for knitters and weavers. They’ll be exhibiting at our Meet the Manufacturer event in May.

J. C. Rennie & Co.

Jamieson & Smith Jamieson & Smith Shetland Wool Brokers purchase Shetland wool from over 700 of Shetland’s crofters and farmers, and transform it into high-quality Shetland yarn.

Jamieson Smith

Jamiesons of Shetland Shetland wool and yarn suppliers.

Jamiesons of Shetland

John Arbon Worsted spun luxury yarns and custom yarns for hand dyers and designers.

Jon Arbon

Kettle Yarn Co. Hand-dyed British yarn from ethical mills.

Kettle Yarn Co.

Knockando Woolmill Historic working district woolmill situated in Knockando, in the Spey valley, Scotland.

Knockando Woolmill

Laxtons Laxtons are specialist manufacturers of worsted and fancy yarns, not for hand knitting a high volume manufacturing. You’ll find them at our Meet the Manufacturer event.

Laxtons

Lily Warne Wool British wool from a Devon farm.

Lily Warne

New Lanark Wool and Textiles New Lanark Wool & Textiles is a small-scale producer of high quality Chunky, Aran, Double Knitting and Organic woollen yarn.

New Lanark Wool and Textiles

R.E. Dickie

Specialising in British and Rare Breeds Wool, manufactured on their premises in Halifax.

R.E . Dickie

The Knitting Goddess The Knitting Goddess is an independent dyer of British knitting yarns, producing hand dyed yarns from British wool.

The Knitting Goddess

Toft Alpaca The Toft Alpaca shop sells British alpaca and luxury 100% wool yarn.

Toft Alpaca

Uist Wool Undyed yarns from the Outer Hebrides.

Uist Wool

West Yorkshire Spinners West Yorkshire Spinner’s yarn is reared, sheared and spun in Britain.

West Yorkshire Spinners

If you’re looking to buy from these British yarn producers you may want visit the Edinburgh Yarn Festival which is happening in March. With over 100 exhibitors, many of which produce 100% British wool, it promises to be a great event for knitters. Find more details about the event here.

There is also an online shop selling exclusively British yarn – find them at www.brityarn.co.uk

Closing Date 21st February 2017

Your chance to WIN a beautiful 100% leather washbag in your choice of three colours, from expert manufacturers Abreption.

Leather washbags from Abreption, in your choice of three colours

Abreption are offering one lucky winner the chance to WIN one of their classic leather washbags in your choice of three colours.

One of the best kept secrets in premium English Luggage manufacturing, established in 1996, Abreption have grown into a ‘go to’ factory purely by word of mouth, repeat business, recommendations and referrals. Based in the heart of the English countryside in Grantham, Lincolnshire, the factory manufactures and supplies a huge number of well known, blue chip, premium brands both at home and abroad.

Abreption make all of their wonderful bags in their factory in Grantham using the finest quality leathers. Each item is made and finished by hand, with many being completely hand stitched. As a result all of their products are as individual as the makers and the people that use them.

To be in with a chance of winning one of these classic leather washbags just answer this simple question:

Where in the English countryside so do Abreption make their bags?

Competition now closed

For more information about Abreption just click here or visit them at www.abreption.co.uk

The week just gone saw the launch of our first ever ‘Ask Kate’ Q&A Live on Facebook. Don’t worry if you missed it as every week we’ll be publishing it here. This week we’re covering Made in Britain labelling, shirt making and British-made babywear

‘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.

We’ve been gathering together questions that you’ve been asking either via this website (see chat box in bottom right hand corner) or to our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts.

Topics for our first Q&A included Made in Britain labelling, shirt manufacturing, and where to buy British-made babywear. We also announced a special new feature that we are adding to our upcoming Meet the Manufacturer event.

Click on the video above to see a recording of the Q&A or read the full transcript here:

Made in Britain labelling

The first question we’ve been asked a lot this week from several different people is about what justifies calling a product Made in Britain?

In the first example I had a lady contact me and she makes coats in the Far East and is adding on fur collars in the UK. She wanted to know whether by adding the fur collars in the UK she could label the coats as made in Britain.

There was someone else that enquired, who was buying accessories that were being made overseas, hats, bags, scarves etc, and then she was putting some finishing touches on them in the UK, polishing up the bags here, packing them here, and then sending them to her customers.She wanted to know whether she could label her accessories as Made in Britain as well.

And finally, we had a chap called Graham contact us who manufactures guitars. He buys some parts for the guitars overseas, and some of the parts he makes here himself. He assembles all those parts into guitars here in Britain. He want to know if he could say that his guitars were Made in Britain.

Let’s start by taking the first two examples.

The rule that I usually use is the one set by The Trading Descriptions Act of 1968. The act covers country of origin labelling. It says the country of origin is determined by the place in which the last substantial change to the product took place.

The question to ask yourself is ‘has the product changed its end use in that country?’. If that is the country in which it changed its end use then that is the place where you would say it was made.

So in the example with the coats – the coat was made in China, it was then imported into the UK as a coat and it had a fur collar applied to it here; so it’s gone from being a coat to a coat with a fur collar. Some value has been added by putting the fur collar on, but technically it’s still a coat and it still has the same end use. So in that instance I don’t think you can call the product Made in Britain, you would have to call that product Made in China.

In the instance with the accessories, that is slightly different because she’s finishing them here. She is adding some details here like the coat lady, but she’s also packing them and labelling them here, does that constitute calling it Made in Britain? No, it can’t either, because those accessories are still the same product, the bag was a bag, became a bag in China and over here it became a decorated bag so in that instance you couldn’t call the product Made in Britain.

In the third example with our chap Graham with his guitars, he’s buying some of the parts from China, he could even be buying all the parts in China, he’s putting them all together here and he’s making his guitars. So in that instance the parts that he’s buying from China you couldn’t play a tune on, the guitar here you can, it’s a different end use and in that instance yes he can call his guitars Made in Britain.

I’d like to give the made in Britain guitars a shout out too – the business is called Fibonacci Guitars, so if you are looking for guitars made in Britain head over to Fibonacci Guitars and find them there.

Shirt Manufacturing in the UK

I’ve had quite a few enquiries this week about shirt making – one of which was quite specific – “Can you get a shirt made in Britain for under £15?”.

In order to answer this question I got in touch with some UK shirt manufacturers that I know to see what they had to say.

I knew the lovely chaps at Tower Garments in North London make casual shirts for several well-known brands, so I asked them what the cost price is for making a shirt.

Now this is a bit of a how-long-is-a-piece-of-string question. The reason for that is obviously it can vary from shirt to shirt; is it a casual shirt? is it a formal shirt? what details are there on the shirt? does it have checks on it that the manufacturer has to match up? how many are you ordering?

How many you are ordering is probably one of the biggest questions that a manufacturer might ask and might base the price on. If you’re only buying a small amount and that’s running through the factory it doesn’t really give the machinist a chance to sort of get in their flow, but if they’re making several hundred it’s much more efficient for the factory to produce and they will give you a much better price.

Many factories in the UK will only give you a CMT price. Within the garment textile industry CMT stands for Cut Make and Trim – which means the factory will only cut and make the garment for you – you would have to source the fabric and the trimmings yourself. The factory told me that a CMT price would be in the region of £18 to £30 for a shirt to be manufactured.

Now that obviously doesn’t fit into this chap’s under £15 price, especially when you take into account that making a shirt can take between 1.5 and 1.75m of fabric depending on the width of the cloth and whether there are any checks or patterns to match up.

However, what I always say is that you have to factor in the true cost of making a shirt overseas, because you can’t really compare like for like until you’ve factored in your shipping costs, your duty costs, any communication issues that you might have with the factory, AND the fact that you’re not seeing the product until it turns up on your doorstep. At which point, if you’ve made 500 shirts (at least, if you are making them overseas) and when that product turns up it’s not as you expected, then it you could have wasted your money.

The good thing is that if you are making a product in a factory in the UK you can go and visit them and see the product as it goes through – that is one of the best advantages of making here. Money doesn’t buy that convenience, and the guarantee that you’ll get a good quality product.

Where can I buy babywear made in Britain?

The next thing I wanted to cover was a question about buying British made products.

In our Facebook Buy British community we’ve had lots of people asking where they can find certain products that are made in Britain. One of the hot topics this week is about babywear – Is there any babywear made in the UK?

So we put a little callout on our Instagram page, and asked people to recommend babywear that is made in Britain.

We then compiled the results into a Top 20 list of the best British babywear brands. There are some fantastic companies on there so do take a look.

Exciting new feature at our Meet the Manufacturer trade show

Finally I said I would have a little something to say to you at the end about a special feature that we’re introducing at our Meet the Manufacturer trade show.

This would be relevant to you if you’re a business that is manufacturing in the UK or wants to make in the UK.

Our trade show, which I set up three years ago, is a business-to-business event. For the first three years it’s been about helping people to find UK manufacturers to make their products. This year we’re adding an extra hall at the show because we’ve had so many people that visit saying “I not only want to develop products made in the UK, I’d actually like to buy from some of these brands that are making in Britain too”.

So we’ve listened to your feedback and we are inviting a select amount of British-made brands to join us in this exciting new Make it British brand hall at Meet the Manufacturer this year on the 24th and 25th of May.

If you are a business would like to join us at our event please do get in touch, or fill out the form to apply to exhibit on the Meet the Manufacturer website.

Thank you for listening to our first ‘Ask Kate, Live Q&A’.

Please do share this with anyone that you think will find it useful. And if you have a question about buying British or UK manufacturing the please do send it to us either via the live chat on this website, via one of our social media channels, or by good old fashioned email using the contact form on this site.

And don’t forget to tune in to our live Q&A every Thursday at 1pm on our Facebook page.

Closing Date 16th February 2017

Your chance to WIN this gorgeous solid sterling silver bangle from artist jewellers Magnus & Bella.

This elegant bangle was cast from a real oak twig.

Magnus & Bella are Artist Jewellers and Designer Makers, trained in traditional craft skills but with a talent for contemporary design and materials. They specialise in the beautiful, the bespoke and the unusual. Their creations are collectors items all over the world and every piece tells a story.

Magnus & Bella are based in Birmingham’s historic Jewellery Quarter. As well as making all their own work Magnus & Bella support local artisan craftspeople, keeping alive the traditional making skills that gave this small district it’s world renown.

The bangle makes a perfect gift, or something you can keep forever.

Magnus & Bella are offering our readers the chance of winning one of these beautiful and unique bangles. The bangle is made from solid sterling silver and was cast from a real oak twig found on a walk in an English park. The bangle retails at £120.

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is answer this simple question:

Who do Magnus & Bella support in order to keep alive traditional hand and bench skills?

Competition now closed

To find out more about Magnus & Bella click here or visit them at www.magnusandbella.co.uk

Your chance to WIN a silk pocket square from Geoff Stocker, designed in collaboration with Grey Fox, in the next of our Instagram competitions.

⭐️️G I V E A W A Y ⭐️️ ⠀ We’ve teamed up with @geoffstocker to give you the chance to win yourself (or a friend) one of these stunning silk pocket squares. Designed in collaboration with @greyfoxblog and presented in a beautiful gift box, this pocket square is printed onto 100% silk, with hand-rolled edges. This is the perfect Valentine’s gift for any dapper gent – or to keep for yourself if you win. ?? ⠀ ⭐️️To enter:⠀ ⠀ ??1. Follow @geoffstocker and @makeitbritish (we check!)⠀ ??2. Tag at least 2 friends in the comments below⠀ ⠀ ⭐️️Comp closes and winner drawn at random at 9pm on Friday 10th February⠀ ⠀ ??UK winners only??⠀ Good luck ?⠀ .⠀ madeinengland silk pocketsquare luxury dappergent valentinesgift greyfox geoffstocker makeitbritishmember accessoryoftheday giveaway competition win giveaways

A photo posted by Made in Britain ?? Kate Hills (@makeitbritish) on

Simply go to this post on our Instagram page and follow the instructions to enter the competition.

You will need an Instagram account to take part. Closing date: 10th February 2017 at 9pm– Entries received after the closing date will not be included in the prize draw.

*Competition is only open to UK residents. See our terms and conditions for full details.

Closing Date 12th January 2017

Your chance to WIN the gorgeous Loxley scarf from Wallace Sewell.

loxley

The Loxley Scarf by Wallace Sewell is made form silk and cashmere.

Wallace Sewell is a highly individual woven textile design studio established in 1990 by Harriet Wallace-Jones and Emma Sewell, creating innovative woven fabrics exploiting industrial techniques. They work closely with the textile industry in Great Britain to produce pieces ranging from scarves to furnishing products, which sell worldwide.

Emma and Harriet have a studio in London where they design by hand, weaving samples on their Looms. They source all of their yarns from UK companies even dying some specific colours. Once they have their final designs they write up the specifications and instruct the Mill. Wallace Sewell has a devotion to quality and they are very proud to be manufacturing their products exclusively in the UK. They have worked very closely with Mitchell Interflex (Mill) over the past 12 years and W.T.Johnson and sons (finishers) on and off for nearly 20 years. Both Mitchell Interflex and W.T.Johnson have a rich history passed down through generations.

Wallace Sewell have kindly offered one of our readers the chance to WIN the beautiful Loxley scarf which is made from silk and cashmere in beautiful colours which will compliment any wardrobe, male or female.

To be in with a chance of winning just answer this simple question:

In what year did Harriet Wallace-Jones and Emma Sewell establish Wallace Sewell?

Competition now closed

To find out more about Wallace Sewell click here or visit them at www.wallacesewell.com

Closing date 12th January 2017

Your chance to WIN your very own satchel from The Leather Satchel Company

che-bro-12-5-front-640x480

You could be in with a chance of winning a classic satchel from The Leather Satchel

The lovely people at The Leather Satchel Company are offering one of our readers the chance to WIN one of their classic brown leather satchels in our latest competition.

Master Craftsman Keith Hanshaw recently took part in one of our Meet the Maker interviews and talked to us about the family business which was established in Liverpool in 1966. The Leather Satchel Company use heavy equestrian styled leather and classic raw edge leather-work to make their instantly recognisable bags. Their satchels are handcrafted in the U.K. by artisan leather-workers and are as beautiful as they are practical.

To be in with a chance of winning your very own satchel in a classic brown leather, just answer this simple question:

In which city was The Leather Satchel Company established?

Competition now closed

To find out more about The Leather Satchel Company click here or visit them at www.leathersatchel.com

Closing Date 10th January 2017

Your chance to WIN the Classic Tweed Outershirt plus all the accessories you need for winter from premium outwear brand Mountain White Co.

winter-set-complete

 

Mountain White Co. are offering one of our lucky readers the chance to WIN a complete set of winter accessories, including their Classic Tweed Outershirt,  perfect for a cold January at home or a winter holiday abroad.

Mountain White Co. is a fast growing designer and manufacturer of premium outerwear garments and accessories in the UK. Their range is inspired by adventure and based on their love for hard wearing long lasting products. They work with some of the UK’s most famous fabric manufacturers including Harris Tweed and Ventile to produce products perfect for all kinds of adventure from the everyday to the extreme.

Mountain White Co. have put together this fabulous prize which consists of  a pair of mountain socks made from British wool, a pair of alpaca socks which are fabulously soft and comfy, a merino wool beanie hat in navy blue and an original moleskin travel journal. All of this together with their Classic Tweed Outershirt, made from Genuine 100% Classic Harris Tweed outer, fully lined with 100% cotton, breathable, weatherproof, warm and hardwearing. This amazing prize has a total value of over £450 but could be yours if you answer this simple questions:

Which Tweed manufacturers do Mountain White Co. work with?

Competition now closed

 

To find out more about Mountain White Co. click here or visit them at Mountain White Co.

Our winner Tracey was delighted with her prize:

 I just wanted to drop you a line to say a huge thank you for our prize win that arrived today. Both my husband and eldest son are now arguing as to who will have what out of the box.

 

Closing Date 10th January 2017

Your chance to win a handmade KHAMAMA BLUE 1874 luxury iPhone case  featuring a precious art of blue butterfly wing marquetry.

khamama-blue-1874-luxury-iphone

KHAMAMA is offering one of our lucky readers the chance to win a handmade KHAMAMA BLUE 1874 luxury iPhone case (for either iPhone 6/6Plus/6S/6SPlus/7/7Plus). This iPhone case features a precious art of blue butterfly wing marquetry, called “Haute Art de Papillon” on its backside. The marquetry of this artefact uses magnificent, iridescent blue butterfly wings, both sustainably and ethically sourced from South America.

KHAMAMA is a new green luxury accessories brand currently offering iPhone cases and launching a first collection of clutches in February 2017. Their designs are  handmade in Cheshire, England.

Depending on the perspective, the Haute Art de Papillon of this iPhone case shimmers from deep-water hue to sparkling electric blue. Due to the natural variation of this material, each KHAMAMA BLUE 1874 is unique. The black frame for this iPhone case is crafted out of solid blocks of aviation-grade aluminium and the Haute Art de Papillon on the backside is protected by a strong ultra-light glass cover.

To be in with a chance of winning a unique KHAMAMA Blue 1874 iPhone cases, all you need to do is answer this simple question:

What is the precious art of butterfly wing marquetry called?

Competition now closed

To find out more about KHAMAMA click here or visit them at KHAMAMA

We interview Keith Hanshaw, Managing Director and Master Craftsman at The Leather Satchel Co.

Keith Hanshaw Leather Satchel Co

Keith Hanshaw, Master Craftman at work.

Hi Keith, can you introduce us to The Leather Satchel Company?

We are a UK maker of leather goods who specialise in heavy-hide raw-edge leatherwork, focusing on satchels, bags and other small leather goods.

Our family established the business in Liverpool in 1966 when there was a good market for satchels, during the 1990’s we where the last remaining satchel maker in the UK.

Do you only make for your own brand or do you supply to other brands too?

We primarily make satchels and bags for ourselves, but we do also make for private labels. Most of our private label work is for products that aren’t actually satchels and bags but use the same kind of leather-working skills, such as dog harnesses, collars, belts and various carry items.

The classic Leather Satchel

The classic Leather Satchel

You often use equestrian leather for your bags, why do you choose this particular type of leather and where is it sourced from?

In the past, when we generally used local tanneries, we always worked with natural leathers that we’d then dye and finish ourselves. This leather was thick and heavy and was used for saddles, belts and of course satchels amongst other things.

In the 60’s and 70’s every town had it’s own leather workshop that worked with leathers produced in local tanneries from cow’s reared on local farms or dairies. Those workshops have all but now disappeared, you can count them on your fingers. That localisation meant you had restricted access to different types of leather, so you worked with what you had available, and therefore your skills were developed and honed towards working the leathers available… today we still prefer to work with leathers that have that same heavy equestrian weight and feel.

The leather we use is a lot more durable than the thin fashion leathers you see most bags made from, so the items we make seem to last a lot longer. That’s one of the reasons we offer a 5-year craftsmanship guarantee and lifetime repair policy on our own brand items.

There’s little left of the UK’s leather industry, so much so there’s only two Bridal leather makers left in the UK, and the costs of those hides generally mean we only work with it upon request, for bespoke work, etc. The majority of our leather either comes from Holland, Germany or Northern Italy.

Leather Satchel Co factory

The Leather Satchel Co. Craftsmanship at work

In 2008 you moved your workshop from Smithdown Road to Knowsley, what motivated the move?

The building in Smithdown was spread over 4 floors, so it wasn’t really ideally suited to being a maker-space, but it kept us all fit. The local tannery at Garston had been demolished around a year earlier, so any hopes of that being brought back to life had vanished. Knowsley sits on the junction of the M62/M57, has Liverpool as a local port, two international airports with Liverpool John Lennon Airport and Manchester plus excellent high-speed rail links to London provided by Virgin Pendolino Trains.

We get such incredible support from the local business network, including the Chamber of Commerce and the Borough Council, that we’re planning on staying here for the next 50 years!

We now feel the move to Knowsley (which we consider the gateway to the Northern Powerhouse) is one of the smartest moves we made, and that was all my cousin Chris’s idea, he was the driving force behind the move.

bags-galore

Keith wants to open an academy so that his four master craftsmen can train young people in the skills they use.

Can you tell us a bit about the apprenticeship programme you now run?

There’s no school or college in the UK that people can attend to learn the skills we use in our business.

If we need to expand our team, we can’t simply advertise in the local paper for a saddle-stitcher or pattern cutter. The skills in our industry barely exist, and most of those people that still have them have retired or are very near retirement.

We have four master-craftsmen in our company, and I’m the youngest at 45.

We need to pass these skills on to people, to inspire people to take leatherwork as a career option. We’d love to be able to take on more apprentices but we’re just not big enough to do that at this time.

Our long term dream would be to set up an academy teaching people the skills we have and to inspire a whole generation of new leatherworkers to master their craft and eventually start their own innovative and creative leather businesses.

What is the best thing about manufacturing in the UK?

The challenge.

It’s really tough to be a UK manufacturer and brand, especially at the price point we occupy, because the there’s no margin. The majority of consumers are only prepared to spend so much money, so you have to hone your craft and get very efficient at making your product.

You’re always competing with brands that use UK branding, making themselves appear ‘Made in Britain’, but sometimes they only have a head office here and everything is overseas.

One of the many choices of leather in the collection.

One of The Leather Satchel Co.’s vast array of style options.

To find out more about The Leather Satchel Co. click here or visit them at www.leathersatchel.com

Womenswear designer Jo Norton takes part in our brand snapchat, sharing her thoughts on leotards, Brexit and manufacturing in the U.K.

Mille Saisons Autumn/Winter Lookbook

Mille Saisons Autumn/Winter Lookbook

Jo, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what led you to launching a womenswear brand?

I studied fashion at Kingston University and originally had no plans for my own label but life changes and so do plans! I had some health problems and being able to work my hours around that definitely made me consider my own business.

What inspires you when you are designing your collections?

Once I began designing the first Mille Saisons’ collection, I found movement and ballet to be key influences in my inspiration which is when I decided to take up ballet again as an adult. Mille Saisons is based on designing clothing for living and movement, and several pieces have made it to a ballet class for a test run!

Mille Saisons A/W lookbook

Mille Saisons A/W lookbook

What have been the greatest challenges you have experienced and overcome in launching your own brand and running your own business?

Having confidence in myself and the brand has been difficult, especially starting out. Only having myself as a sounding board can be tough. Balancing my sleep and work with my sleep disorder has been one of my biggest personal challenges. However, I love what I do, which makes it easier to get up and get working.

You proudly use British manufacturers and source most of your materials from the UK too. Can you give a few tips to others that might be thinking of doing the same?

I always try to find UK suppliers – whether it’s boxes, fabric or factories, but I have other concerns such as the amount of water used in the dyeing process. I’m very interested in the manufacturer’s eco credentials, commitment to fair wages and fabric choice. I buy buttons, threads, labels and tissue paper from British companies because in the quantities I use it is more economical to do so. I’ve found it’s important with manufacturers to research them as much as possible. I also tend to get a sample made before I visit to see how well my spec pack is followed and how good communication is before I decide to use them.

Bows in rows

Bows in rows from Mille Saisons

Long term, what are your hopes for Mille Saisons? How would you like your brand to grow?

Just having my own label is already quite exciting. However, the Chloe playsuit is named after my little cousin who lives in Spain so I made her the playsuit in her size for a Christmas present. I think she was actually the first person to wear the collection. So a mini Mille Saisons collection for children wouldn’t be unimaginable. I’d also really love to do something with ballet wear, maybe something aimed at adult beginners. Leotards can be more intimidating when you are a bit older!

How do you feel about the UK’s decision to leave the EU, and do you believe this will be a positive thing for British brands?

On the one hand I think trading with Europe and imports may be more difficult due to the impact of the falling pound, but on the other hand we could see a growth in British suppliers and factories. The weaker pound is already attracting more retail sales from abroad. If leaving the EU means that fashion skills education grows and we’ll see an increase in skilled machinists then that would be great. I’d also like to see more support for small UK businesses.

Mille Saisons AW lookbook

Mille Saisons Autumn Winter 2016


Quickfire Questions

British personality (alive or dead) that you would most like to meet?

Any of the Royal Ballet ballerinas. I have woman crushes on Lauren Cuthbertson, Olivia Grace Cowley and Yuhui Choe.

harveys

Most-loved place in the UK?

Lewes where my studio is based. It’s a weird, lovely blend of liberal and traditional. There’s a castle, more pubs than you can visit in one night and some beautiful independent shops. The local brewery Harveys delivers with a horse and trap on Tuesdays and I’m going to visit my favourite chocolate shop, Bonne Bouche later today.

British drink that you most enjoy?

I should probably say Harveys, right? But I’m not a beer person so it has to be Babycham. I have Babycham glasses and it is impossible not to smile at the little deer logo.

Alexis Dove Lion Pendant

Alexis Dove Lion Pendant

Favourite British-made brand?

I’m probably biased because they are based in the studio next to me, but I love Alexis Dove jewellery. I wear my lion pendant everyday because I am a creature of habit!

Most inspiring British maker or manufacturer?

Charlotte Elizabeth (handbag designer) is hugely inspiring as a brand. Her honesty and openness about her health is really refreshing and I’m working on trying to be that open too.

I’d also say my factory who do not work for profit and run loads of educational courses especially to get students learning about manufacturing and to create the next generation of skilled workers in British clothing manufacturing.

For more information about Mille Saisons click here or visit www.millesaisons.co.uk

Closing Date 8th December

Your chance to WIN this beautiful handmade Origami wallet from independent leather designers Bond & Knight.

Union Flag Origami Wallet by Bond & Knight

Union Flag Origami Wallet by Bond & Knight

Bond & Knight are offering one of our lucky readers the chance to win a handmade leather Origami wallet. The wallet is made from a single piece of folded leather, meaning no seams or stitches, which gives it a sleek design and finish.  The custom printed leather centre features a Union Jack design and soft, natural suede.

Bond & Knight are independent British leather designers specialising in handmade, bespoke leathergoods. Every wallet they produce is completely individual. Bond & Knight wallets are made using a vintage 1940’s inspired design. Every hide that they use is handpicked and they source only the highest grade, naturally tanned leather, distinguishable by the beautiful natural grain.

To be in with a chance of winning one of these fabulous wallets all you need to do is answer this simple question:

How many pieces of leather are used to make an Origami Wallet?

Competition now closed

To find out more about Bond  Knight click here or visit www.bondandknight.com