fbpx Confidence high as 50% of UK Textile Manufacturers say turnover is up

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2017 ends on a high for UK textile manufacturers

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The annual Make it British survey of fashion and textile manufacturers has revealed that 2017 has been another great year for the sector.  This comes despite economic uncertainty with issues surrounding the availability of skills for an industry that just a few years ago everyone considered to be dead.

The Make it British survey of UK fashion and textile manufacturers

The Make it British survey of UK fashion and textile manufacturers – click image to download the full survey results

Half of UK textile manufacturers saw turnover increase in 2017

Nearly 100 manufacturers from across the fashion and textile sector were surveyed, ranging from small workshops producing luxury womenswear to textile mills producing millions of metres a year. The results showed that despite economic uncertainty and issues surrounding the availability of skills, nearly half were seeing an increase in turnover on the previous year. One manufacturer reported that “this year has been an exceptional year”.
Enquiries are increasing too, with 58% of manufacturers receiving more interest than they were a year ago, as more companies look to source locally and restore their production back to the UK.

Production is up more that 25% for booming UK textile industry

Textile manufacturers reported that on average production was up by 25%, and many are now running double shifts to keep up with the demand. Yet others were reporting that production volume had stayed the same as “we are focusing on clients with higher margins and less bulk turnover”.
The increase in production and turnover is being helped in part by the exchange rate working in UK manufacturers favour. One manufacturer reported “as the pound loses its value our turnover has increased by 30%”. 30% of UK textile manufacturers are exporting more than they were in 2016, yet still a third of those surveyed said that they weren’t yet exporting – a massive opportunity going forward.

Young people coming into the industry increases as manufacturers take on apprentices

An ageing workforce is still a concern for many, with nearly 50% saying that they are worried about the age of their staff. Two thirds have an average workforce age of over 40 at their factories, but many are taking on young people through apprenticeships. Yet attracting young people into the industry is still a struggle with young people not coming into the industry quick enough – the average employer only having taken on one young person in the last year.

What does 2018 hold in store for UK textile manufacturers?

So what does the future hold for UK textile manufacturers in 2018? It’s looking pretty good – with respondents scoring 3.2 on a scale of 1 to 5 when asked how optimistic they feel about the future of their industry.
Are you a UK textile manufacturer? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Either in the comments below or contact us here.

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UK Manufacturers List 2018

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Comments

  1. Nicki May on December 21, 2017 at 11:52 am

    Hi Kate – yes I’m part of this sector, all be it a very small part, we are a company of two people. We produce beautiful high quality children’s wear, all made in our studio in Cumbria, near the Lake District. However, we haven’t found 2017 to be particularly better than previous years. I do hope your survey is correct, as next year we are taking a ‘leap of faith’ and moving to a better shop/studio – at a higher rent – but hopefully with a better ‘footfall’. We do supply an upmarket children’s wear company called Start Smart, who exhibit at prestigious shows, such as The Windsor Show in May, and we are aiming to have a greater internet presence, so hopefully 2018 will be better. Kind regards, Nicki

    • Kate Hills on December 21, 2017 at 11:57 am

      Hi Nicki
      Thanks for your comment.
      I had not heard of your company before – but maybe that is why you have not had such a great year?
      I have noticed that manufacturers who are getting themselves ‘out there’ are the ones that are really benefitting from the increased enquiries because potential customers are able to find them more easily.
      How are you currently looking for new customers? Are you on social media? Do you have a website? Can people find you on Google? Do you do any trade shows? (hint: we have one that is perfect for you > http://www.meetthemanufacturer.co.uk)
      Now that I’ve heard about you I can definitely send people your way – we have loads of enquiries for childrenswear coming through at the moment.
      Best regards,
      Kate

      • Nicki May on December 21, 2017 at 12:11 pm

        Hi Kate – yes I’m part of this sector, all be it a very small part, we are a company of two people. We produce beautiful high quality children’s wear, all made in our studio in Cumbria, near the Lake District. However, we haven’t found 2017 to be particularly better than previous years. I do hope your survey is correct, as next year we are taking a ‘leap of faith’ and moving to a better shop/studio – at a higher rent – but hopefully with a better ‘footfall’. We do supply an upmarket children’s wear company called Start Smart, who exhibit at prestigious shows, such as The Windsor Show in May, and we are aiming to have a greater internet presence, so hopefully 2018 will be better. Kind regards, Nicki

        Hi Kate – thanks for your prompt reply – yes we are on social media I have a Facebook page – Nicki B Dungarees – and a website – http://www.nickibltd.co.uk … we also exhibit at large country shows such as Badminton and Burghley Horse Trials, and The Royal Highland Show – but these are getting more expensive to do and the returns are getting less – so not particularly cost effective anymore (we’ve been exhibiting with them for over 12 years) We have done trade shows – at the NEC – we can’t afford Bubble. I would love you to send people our way in 2018 especially with our new move and launch – I would be interested in ‘meet the manufacturer’ if it were to be the right audience. Kind regards, Nicki

  2. Valerie Goode on December 21, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    We’ve also noticed an upturn in people inquiring about producing in the UK. We originally started as a made in UK ethical brand and due to the number of requests to make products for other small brands we’ve decided to offer this as a new service for 2018!

    We now offer sampling including pattern cutting, toiling and grading from our south- east London studio and small scale manufacturing up to 50pcs across wovens and jersey, competitively priced.

    Drop us an email on our contacts page to enquire

    http://kittyferreira.co.uk/

  3. John Robertshaw on December 30, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    Are there any opportunities to invest in UK textile companies, particularly exporters of cotton goods?

  4. Kitty Bruce-Gardyne on January 24, 2018 at 11:10 am

    This makes interesting reading. Can I ask what proportion of Scottish textile producers responded your survey?

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