In December 2020 The Express newspaper ran a ‘Brilliantly British’ campaign shining a light on UK-made firms.
Dozens of Make it British members were among them…
Over a period of two weeks, the Express newspaper is encouraging its readers to buy UK-made goods in a new “Brilliantly British campaign.
Many of the businesses listed in the Make it British directory featured in the articles, which ran over two weeks.
“When you buy something made locally, it supports jobs in the UK and that’s something we need more than ever at the moment,” Make it British founder Kate Hills told the Express.
“British goods are made to last and therefore offer great value for money.”
And buying at home is more than just an economic imperative, it fosters national pride and contributes to higher standards of practice” Ms Hills added.
“Locally made means a smaller carbon footprint, especially true if you buy locally-made products with UK raw materials,” she said. “Our country also has strict regulations on everything from working conditions to waterways being kept pollution-free.“
Below are some of the Make it British businesses that were featured in the Express campaign along with their quotes that were featured in the articles.
Celtic & Co produces timeless slouchy jumpers and easy comfortable dresses. Everything is made from the finest natural fibres along with handmade sheepskin boots, slippers and accessories. It won the coveted Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the International Trade category in 2018 and 2020.
“We use the skins from British sheep for our sheepskin footwear that would otherwise be considered waste and entail a cost for farmers.”Kath Whitworth, Celtic & Co.
Simon Middleton, Blackshore’s co-founder and managing director, takes pride in knowing his collection of practical, casual clothing is crafted by hand in Southwold, Suffolk, just half a mile from the harbour where the brand originated and from which it takes its name.
“Supporting British-made goods is a vital part of getting our economy back on a strong footing,” he says. “The UK garment manufacturing was off-shored to the point of destruction over the last 30 years and more. It has slowly begun to fight back. I hope the pandemic will act as a reset.”Simon Middleton, Blackshore Coastal Clothing
For 235 years John Smedley Ltd has spun “the world’s finest knitwear” from its home in Lea Mills, Derbyshire. Famous fans have included Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, The Beatles, Kate Winslet, Keira Knightley, Eddie Redmayne and numerous royals.
Today, John Smedley employs 350 staff in its two factories in Derbyshire and Yorkshire.
“Generations of local people have worked for John Smedley and we are a key employer in our region.
In 2013 we were granted a Royal Warrant by Her Majesty the Queen which proves our quality is second to none.”Ian Maclean, John Smedley
High-end retailer Paul James Knitwear uses 100 per cent natural yarns from the finest cotton and wools to produce luxuriously soft, breathable garments. Some 95 per cent of its products are knitted, sewn, steamed, washed and pressed in its Leicestershire factories, keeping prices fair for customers.
“Making a conscious effort to buy our Made in England collections allows customers to reduce their shopping carbon footprint and rest easy in the knowledge that their purchase will assist in keeping local manufacturers in business.”Bhavik Master, Paul James Knitwear
Cocoove Elegant maxi wrap dresses and versatile kimono tops are among the chic designs produced by British fashion label Cocoove.
“I create many of my own prints, which are digitally printed on to the fabrics by a London based printer.
The British countryside forms a lot of my inspiration for prints – snapshots taken on a country walk often become a print for a dress.”Ria McKelvey, Cocoove
Luxury nightwear brand PJ Pan specialises in fabulous cotton and silk nightwear for adults and children. It was launched in 2008 when its founder Pandora Stormonth Darling went on the hunt for a pair of new pyjamas in London but returned empty-handed.
“Manufacturing in Britain makes it easier to build a strong relationship with the team who make our products but, more importantly, it feels good and the right thing to do.”Pandora Stormonth Darling, PJ Pan
Peregrine has manufactured its quality knitwear, coats and jackets in the UK since 1796, originally under the name of J G Glover and Co.
Production currently operates out of Manchester and the family business is now run by its managing director Tom Glover.
“I am the eighth generation of Glover,” he says. “Every step from the very first design to the final stitch has, and will always be executed here in the UK.
Controlling everything about garment production from start to finish, we believe every product should be fully traceable and have a great story behind it.”Tom Glover, Peregrine
Established in 1987, Glencroft is a small, second-generation family business, run from the village of Clapham, by Edward Sexton and his father Richard, who is now 77 but still works in the business he founded.
“We use 100 per cent British wool – one of very few places that do – from sheep living in the fields around us.
The wool is shorn, treated, spun and knitted all in the UK. Every jumper purchased helps the local economy and keeps people in jobs right on your doorstep. We often hear from customers who’ve had our jumpers or tweed flat caps for over 20 years.”Edward Sexton, Glencroft
Esteem – No Pause
When Bury-born Jane Hallam began experiencing menopausal night sweats aged 48, her solution was to create a range of high-performance nightwear using breathable fabric sourced from Italy to alleviate her symptoms.
Leaving behind her job as a senior manager in higher education, she founded Esteem – No Pause in Manchester.
Five years on, the business sells slip dresses, pyjamas, underwear and exercise clothes. It aims to help anyone experiencing excessive perspiration.
“As a one woman enterprise manufacturing in the UK, I can meet in person with pattern cutters and manufacturers tur pa at each stage of the process. This can happen at short notice so I can make decisions on amendments on the spot. It reduces the carbon footprint and keeps alive the long established history of British manufacturing.”Jane Hallam, Esteem – No Pause
Every leather bag or accessory is created by hand from Paula Kirkwood’s Brighton workshop. The former design head at textile recycling charity TRAID has created garments for comedian Mel Giedroyc and Desert Island Discs presenter Lauren Laverne, and acted as an on-air seamstress for Twiggy.
“All my work is made by myself with a strong emphasis on timeless quality,” Paula says. “‘Buy once, buy well’ is my motto.”Paula Kirkwood, P Kirkwood
Collecting bags of wool in person from farms across the Yorkshire Dales and Lake District, Laura Rosenzweig creates blankets, scarves and walking socks. She uses any leftover bits of fleece for accessories.
“My yarn is spun in West Yorkshire, dyed in Selkirk and woven in Langholm and in Sedbergh,” she says. “I design everything myself on my American Harrisville 8-shaft floor loom in my studio near the market town of Sedbergh in Cumbria.”Laura Rosenzweig, Laura’s Loom
With Christmas approaching, bow ties are back, even if they’ll mostly be seen on Zoom. So why not turn to Helen King, the woman who styled Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor Who? “What could be more quintessentially British than Doctor Who in a bow tie?” she laughs.
Helen focused on face masks instead of her usual funky neckties at the height of the pandemic and says support from consumers is crucial for small businesses like hers right now.
“Buying a British-made item conveys a sense of pride and a respect for incomparable quality.”Helen King, Blue Eyes, Bow Ties
The firm began life as a response to the fast fashion industry and its “questionable manufacturing ethics”, says Barnes and Moore managing director Steve Moss.
“Historically the UK has had a great reputation for providing quality goods, and we wanted to build on that.
We’re finding increasing numbers of people are switching to quality, sustainable, ethically-made British goods.”Steve Moss, Barnes and Moore
This fifth-generation family-owned business has produced quality handmade footwear in England since 1908 under the ownership of the Woodford family.
Specialising in luxury sneakers, leather-soled slippers, crepe-soled desert boots and flexible, lightweight jazz shoes, it provides unisex sizes for men and women ranging from UK 3.5-13. Orders are bespoke, with wider fittings available, and all products are made in a factory in Northampton.
“The strong mantra of ‘Every Order, Made To Order’, has instilled a sustainable business model across the company with no need for discount or sale culture.”Chris Woodford, Crown Northampton
Catering for busy professionals, Both Barrels make bags and travel accessories that can go from day to night. All of their luxury holdalls and backpacks are made from cotton and wool, finished with leather trims and water resistant outers.
“The look is business but our bags are made for real life, whether it’s a working travel expedition or gym visit.”Matt Booth, Both Barrels
Crockett & Jones was founded by brothers-in-law James Crockett and Charles Jones in 1879. It grew a prestigious reputation and was asked to manufacture boots for the Army during two world wars. “We have had many moments of pride, most recently receiving our Royal Warrant from the Prince of Wales in April 2017,” says James.
“We price our shoes accurately without inflated margins for things like costly marketing budgets.The bulk of the cost is associated with premium materials and highly-skilled labour.
Our people take great pride in what they do”James Fox, Crockett & Jones
Best of British: Homeware
A second generation, family-run manufacturing company based in Devon, Putnams provides products – including pillows, bed wedges, kneeling chairs and pressure cushions – to relieve a wide range of health conditions.
“We make our products by hand in the factory.
Every pillowcase, cover and upholstered kneeling chair is cut, sewn and upholstered by hand and our lengthy product guarantees reflect this.”Bubbles Putnam, Putnams
Female designers Jill Perkins, 74, and Jan Morley, 59, launched their homeware stationery and lifestyle brand in 2010. They met 30 years ago as graphic design students after bonding over a share passion for art and design and created tableware for other businesses.
Both women come up with their ideas in the great outdoors – Jan regularly walks among the valleys and fells of Cumbria with a camera, while Jill sketches and paints in Devon, surrounded by beautiful coastlines.
These handcrafted solid wooden beds have been made in Nottinghamshire since 1983. The idea came about after two cabinet makers teamed up to restore antique furniture and found they were unable to source traditional bed designs suited to the modern-day customer’s preference for wider frames.
“The leather we use is manufactured in Scotland and we also supply mattresses that are made in Yorkshire and bedding in Lancashire”
Each bed takes an average eight weeks to make. Adrian hopes more people will invest in British products in the future.
“If so it will mean we can continue to up skill our employees and invest in their development and the future of the UK economy.”Adrian Leary
Founder Jacqui Jones is a design graduate and former glassblower with 25 years’ experience in the lighting industry who brought a lampshade factory and started her own brand.
“We are based in Lancashire and like using Lancashire-made fabrics and wallpapers to cover our lampshades, although we are not limited to them. We custom make bespoke lampshades, made to measure and can use customer’s own materials in shapes and sizes not found on the high street.”Jacqui Jones, Feature Lighting
Hettie’s country-inspired accessories come in a range of earth colours to add depth to your home. Its luxurious throws carry the trusted Woolmark industry certification logo, guaranteeing the highest possible quality, and its soft cushions are crafted using wool woven from the same British mill since 1837.
“We celebrate the simple things in life and family values.
People need to think a little bit more about the wasteful things that they do and the amount they throw away. There has never been a better time to buy British.”Sian Reekie, Hettie
Bee Good’s natural skincare range harnesses the healing properties of honey to make your skin feel nourished and smooth.
Founded by beekeeper Simon Cavill and his wife Caroline in 2014, Bee Good began as a hobby after she started making balms and hand creams using the couple’s own honey and beeswax.
Today the brand’s supply chain is rooted in the British Economy.
“We use manufactures in Yorkshire and Somerset, a Lancashire printer, raw ingredients from British sustainable sources and wildflower seeds and honey from Hampshire.
We’re supporting British bees and British companies that grow these plants specifically.”Hilary Andrews, Bee Good
Rachael Attwood Hamard stems from a long line of tailors dating back to the 1880s and is the fourth generation of coat makers in her family.
Britannical specialises in tailored children’s outerwear, right, but also sells scarves, collars, neck ties and belts too.
“We are proud to benefit from the skills of a diverse workforce in London, support the country’s historic cloth mills, as well as keep our 120 year heritage in London coat making alive”Rachael Attwood Hamard, Britannical
When Simon Wolfers dreamt up a plan to handmake toy rocking sheep and lambs in the early 1990s, it wasn’t because of his surname.
His woolly flock are made near Snowdonia National Park but are shipped all over the world to children eager to have a cuddly rocking partner. His designs, above, use natural British materials and each finished heirloom is delivered to the customer’s door fully assembled.
“Sheep and lambs feature in many nursery rhymes and children’s stories, and I wondered why no one had developed the idea into rocking toys. As I live in the heart of sheep country in North Wales, it seemed like a good idea.”Simon Wolfers, The Rocking Sheep Company
“They are not just gorgeous and fun but practical too – our traditional bow rockers can be used on carpet as well as tile, stone and wooden floors.”
Kids Love Colour
Karin Duguid, founder and designer of Kids Love Colour, laughs as she talks about her “two kid” guarantee for her clothing range.
Her eye-catching children’s line features bright colours and classic stripes, and are all made from 100 per cent certified organic cotton. Karin says: “I have built my brand in partnership with a family-run, ethical factory who manufacture the Kids Love Colour range in the heart of Leicester.
“I think it’s really important to buy British, particularly at this difficult time, and doing so will support the creative and manufacturing skills of the garment industry to create high quality, long lasting clothing”.Karin Duguid, Kids Love Colour
Caroline Stansfield is the owner, designer and seamstress of The Little Cloth Shop, which sells vintage-inspired childrenswear.
Like many other garment makers, she’s had to adapt her product range this year because of the Pandemic. This festive season she’s added adorable Christmas stockings to her range.
“Earlier in the year I would have been inundated with wedding orders, little Liberty print flower girl dresses and sailor suits for boys but unfortunately many people had to postpone their special days so I focused on face masks and accessories instead.”Caroline Stansfield, The Little Cloth Shop
Best of British: Pets Goods
Everyone needs a comfortable place to lay their head and that includes your canine. Family-owned business Berkeley Dog Beds, based in Wherwell, Hampshire, designs and makes well-crafted dog beds in all sizes including an orthopaedic set with spring technology that was two years in the making.
“Our focus is to develop a luxury British dog bed brand centred on comfort, style and quality, backed up by brilliant personal customer service.
Cutting corners or building dog beds to the lowest price point isn’t what we do.
Design, craftsmanship, practically, environmental friendliness, pet health awareness and simply having access to a knowledgeable source of sound advice really counts these days.”Martin Starbuck, Berkeley Dog Beds