More and more these days brands are setting up their own factories in order to take control of their own production.
Make it British member Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing is one such brand.
Founder Paul Brown tells us about his journey to setting-up his own UK clothing factory, how it has benefited his brand, and how they can help other brands with their manufacturing.
Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing was established in 2009 by Paul Brown after finding it increasingly difficult to buy shirts that lasted. His first capsule men’s shirt collection was launched in September 2010 using 100% Egyptian cotton fabrics.
After 3 years of using Italian manufacturers, Paul decided to set up a factory in Suffolk in order to take control of the process and build a more flexible production line. Now, armed with experience and production staff, Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing offer manufacturing services to other companies looking to have their designs made in the UK.
Why did you decide to set up your own factory to make your products?
We found that minimum production runs, as well as some issues with quality from our Italian manufacturer, was proving increasingly difficult to deal with. As we regularly wanted to offer new designs in all sizes the burden and control of stock became unmanageable. To be certain of what we made, and the quality of it, we needed to oversee all elements.
Making in house was the logical way forward despite the inherent difficulties in doing so. It also gave us the ability to offer manufacturing services to other companies.
What was the biggest challenge you faced in setting up the factory?
The biggest challenge was staffing the factory. The scarcity of experienced tailors and machine operators in our area meant that we had to recruit and train.
This meant that we initially had a lag in efficiency and output which in turn caused a delay in launching our first collection of British made garments.
What advantages have you benefited from by having your own on-shore manufacturing facility?
Control over production run size, quality and introduction of new designs and products is the main benefit.
Whilst setting up a factory was a daunting task it gave us total control over production scale at any time. We were then able to offer made to measure garments such as design your own chinos and jeans which was impossible to do without our own manufacturing.
Also, new products can be introduced quickly and test-marketed rather than having the risk of buying a lot of stock in anticipation of sales volumes.
There are of course no language issues and far greater flexibility, and we can also offer manufacturing services to other companies.
Who are you looking to work with and what services can you provide them?
Our ability to do small runs of simple and complex products gives us an opportunity to work with British Designers looking to get into the market and we are actively pursuing this avenue at the moment.
We are also keen to explore working with other like-minded British made manufacturers to ensure that the growth in British Made products continues.
What’s next for your brand and your factory?
In many ways at the moment we are at a crossroads. We are now able to design and produce complex garments such as trench coats and tailored suits under our own brand name which helps us offer an extended range in our own retail store.
We do sell online and have exported items to several countries and have made garments for other companies. We will be bolstering our direct to customer sales and offering our manufacturing services to a wider audience to protect against the tough retail conditions on the high street.
We will continue to introduce new products, concentrating on those with a measure of bespoke tailoring such as our made to measure chinos and jeans which makes the most use of our skills.
Expanding all avenues would require investment so we’re continuing to seek suitable investors interested in British manufacture.