A large roll of tweed and a desire to get off the corporate treadmill led Gillian Painter to launch GiliNix.
Here she talks to Make it British and tells us why her company supports British manufacturing.
Can you tell me a bit more about yourself and why you set up your company?
I have a background in sales and marketing in the home furnishings industry. When the company I was working for was sold a few years ago I had the choice of working for another large organisation or setting up a business on my own. I wanted to be ‘home based’ and to do something creative with colour and fabrics. I realised that there was a gap in the market for flattering gilets so that was the product that GiliNix started with five years ago. I started with a large roll of tweed and took it from there.
How would you describe the products that you make?
Timeless classic pieces, not high fashion, but made to the finest quality; clothes which fit a lifestyle and that my customers love wearing and will continue to wear for a long time.
In which part of Britain are you based?
In the heart of the country in Worcestershire.
Why did you decide to manufacture in Britain?
I thought it was important to support British industy. Having worked in the wallcovering and textile industries previously, and coming from a major carpet producing area, it was hard to see so many factory closures, these thriving towns were no more. Industry is important to our country, for our growth and future generations.
Who makes your products?
Two small clothing factories and a small team of seamstresses make all the garments. When I first started I enlisted a lady down the road to cut my patterns, now I work with a seamstress in Scotland.
I use local people wherever possible – I have a lady who lives three fields away who is making my glasses cases and key fobs, and the belts are also made by a man locally.
Where do you source your raw materials from?
The tweeds are woven exclusively for GiliNix in the Borders of Scotland, with a small selection of handwoven tweed from the Isle of Lewis.
What has been the hardest part of getting your collection made in Britain?
I never had any intention of producing anywhere other than the UK and therefore haven’t found anything particularly hard.
And what has been the best part?
Knowing that my collection is all designed and made in Britain