Padfield England is a labour of love for founder Loren Taylor who launched the brand in 2018. Padfield has a mission to provide luxury leathergoods that are both sustainable and truly British; sourcing as many materials as they can from the UK as well as crafting their high-quality products here. Loren shares what it takes to launch a UK-made luxury leathergoods brand.
Where does the Padfield story begin?
It is a cliché… Padfield is a labour of love. I have been crafting since I was a child, however I pursued science initially and went on to read a BSc degree at St Andrews University in Scotland. Whilst there I craved a creative outlet, which led to hand-making clutch bags. Each one unique, finished with pieces of old jewellery and reclaimed textiles. I went on to sell these handsewn clutch bags in Peter Jones on Sloane Square in London, which gave me my first taste of retailing. The result of a hard earned lucky break, and incredible faith by the John Lewis buying department for which I will always be incredibly grateful.
I started Padfield in memory of my father, which I won’t go in to here but the full story is on our website if you would like to read more. And also out of frustration. A frustration that so many British brands are manufacturing abroad but very much utilising the English/British lifestyle for their marketing.
You source as much as you can from the UK, why is that important to you?
I have always felt that to be a truly British brand you should craft and make in Britain. Being a British brand should be more than an office postcode. I believe that brands from all countries should legally be required to state clearly and fully on their website, marketing, and their products the country of manufacture. Some do already, which is great.
I believe brand owners have a responsibility to customers to be clear about where and how all of their accessories are made, and the rest is then up to the customer to decide.
It would be wonderful if the UK media helped to champion authentic British craftsmanship, highlighting 100% British Made brands.
We source as many of our raw materials from within the UK as we possibly can. Sometimes it is not possible. A great example being our high-quality metal zips. There are no UK manufacturers of zips suitable for bags, so we have sourced Padfield zips from YKK Europe through their UK office.
All Padfield leather is tanned in England, Padfield boxes are handmade in England, we print our stationery in London, and of course we craft all of our leather accessories entirely in England. So we are doing as much as we can to be authentically British, and always looking at ways to be keep moving this forward.
How did you find the right manufacturers and suppliers for the brand?
Trial and error. It was, and continues to be, a time-consuming activity. Padfield is always looking for the best British artisans and material suppliers, and when we find one that aligns well with our values then we sample with them.
We are privileged to work with suppliers and makers across the UK and are currently looking to work with a Scottish weaver. Having a resource like Make it British also helps when looking for British suppliers.
Sustainability is very important to your business. What initiatives (other than sourcing locally) have you taken to make your business sustainable?
Before I registered Padfield as a business I had already decided that we would operate as sustainably as possible. I think that starting with sustainability as a foundation you naturally make better decisions.
Yes, we source our leathers and packaging from the UK and make locally, but Padfield also manufactures in response to demand. This means we don’t manufacture excess stock so there is no waste. We are lucky to have wonderful customers who are happy to wait for something that is being crafted especially for them.
This approach means as a company Padfield does not participate in ‘mark-up to markdown’ activities and we certainly do not partake in Black Friday. We believe in crafting what is needed, and pricing well from the start.
We include luxury gift packaging, complimentary monogramming and free worldwide delivery within our prices. This clear approach gives our customer’s the peace of mind that they are getting beautiful British luxury quality that is also good value all year round.
In addition, Padfield is a plastic-free company, and we have selected a carbon neutral courier. As a way to support our local environment for every Padfield tote sold we make a donation to help plant trees in UK Forests, at the moment this is in support of the National Forest.