‘Ask Kate’ Live Q&A on Facebook, including: Leather bag makers, eco-packaging and printing on knitwear

This weeks Facebook Live covered everything from whether there was any support from the Government for UK manufacturers, to beauty brands and eco-packaging. Below is the transcription of the show.

Hello everyone, welcome to the Ask Kate Live Facebook Q&A. I’m Kate Hills, I am the founder of Make It British, we do this weekly Live Facebook Q&A at one o’clock every Thursday where I answer your questions on buying British and working with UK manufacturers. 

British-made Beauty Brands

Today we are talking about British made beauty brands; we’re answering a question about eco-packaging from last week; we’ve got some interesting information about buttons made in the UK; and also helping someone who wants to find leather manufacturers in London.  So welcome to everyone that’s joined.

I’ll kick off by talking about British made beauty brands. 

Every week we put a call out on our Instagram asking people to recommend products on a certain topic and this week we covered beauty brands.  We’ve had lots of response, and we’ve started adding them to the site. So do pop over to the Make it British website and you’ll see our list of top 20 beauty brands. 

It was great to be able to find so many skincare brands that are made here. We could do with a few more make-up brands, so if anyone does know of where any make-up is made in the UK please let us know.  And if you do have a beauty brand and you’re watching this please add something in the comments below about your brand and we’ll add you to the article.

British-made Eco Packaging

Another item that I want to cover today is a question we had from Elizabeth Rees last week, who was asking where you could get eco-packaging from.  I said I’d go away and do some research on this and I realised it’s a much more complex area than I initially thought because there’s all different types of packaging. You can have board, paper, textiles, wood, so I need a little bit more information in order to answer this question thoroughly.  But I’ve already spoken to a couple of great packaging people who say they do have eco options.

One of those is Elite Labels who offer a big packaging service. They’re based in Leicester and they work with a lot of different garment brands.  They are able to offer eco-packaging, depending on the type of packaging you want. 

And also another company called Progress Packaging who make beautiful packaging, very high end for a lot of designers and they also are able to offer eco options.  But Elizabeth, if you are watching and you have got some more details of exactly what it is you’re looking for please type it in the comments or get back to me and I will give further details on this next week.

But what I am going to do this week straight after I publish this live video to our Facebook page, I’m going to put all the contacts in the comments straightaway so you’ll have the contacts there for Elite Labels and Progress Packaging.


British-made packaging
There are several UK packaging suppliers, many of which can make boxes in recycled materials


Embossing / Printing on Knitwear

The next thing I want to talk to you about today is an enquiry from a company called Ushiwear – they were looking for a manufacturer that can emboss onto knitwear.  Now so far I’ve hit a little bit of a wall with actually embossing on knitwear but I have found a very good company who can print onto knitwear with loads of very innovative techniques.  They’re called Faering, they’re based in Leicester and I certainly think that Ushiwear, if you are watching, it would be worth contacting Faering to find out if they can also work on an embossing technique for you.  And again I will put the contact details for Faering in the comments afterwards.  So Ushiwear, I hope that helps, if you’ve got some more details of the sort of embossing that you want then I will further look into this for you and try and come back to you again next week.

Lauren, have we got any questions?

We’ve got a question from Sarah, is the government offering help to produce garments in England?

Ooh, that’s a good question, is the government offering help to companies that want to produce in the UK?  Currently no, there’s no direct help. I know there’s a lot of people that are now discussing this in light of Brexit and what the government’s industrial policy may be, and hopefully this is one of the things that will be covered.

Will there be certain tax breaks for people that manufacture in the UK? Will big companies that claim that they’re very British be required to manufacture a certain percentage of their products here?  This is all being discussed at the moment at government level. I try not to get too involved in politics, but if find anything more about this I will let you know Sarah. 

So the answer is – unfortunately no, there’s no tax breaks or any special help for people that manufacture in the UK – I wish there was.

Lauren, any other questions?

That’s the only question but Maggie Quinney has given us a thumbs up.

Hello Maggie, actually I’ll give a little shout to Maggie because I’ve just been speaking to Maggie via messaging on Facebook and I understand she’s just set up a garment manufacturers in Hinckley in Leicestershire. She makes all sorts of jersey products, activewear, sportswear – so if you are looking for a jersey or sportswear manufacturer do get in touch with Maggie.  I know she’s a member of our Buy British Community so you can reach out to her on there. 

Leather Manufacturers in London

The final question was from a leather company that manufacturers leather products in the UK. They want to find another manufacturer for leather bags based in London. 

I’ve got a couple of suggestions for this. The first one is Seipel, they are part of the Alma Home business,. They’re based in East London and they have a small manufacturing unit and can make small order quantities of leather goods. 

There’s another company in East London owned by a chap called Jas Sehmbi. He makes a great bag, particularly a more casual style bag. He actually has his own collection as well and then he manufacturers for other people.  Again I’ll put Jas’ details in the notes at the bottom, he is based in East London too. You can contact Jas here.

So I hope those two manufacturers can be of help.  Leathergoods is one of the things that I get more enquiries about than anything els. If you are looking for a particular type of manufacturer and I can’t answer your question in depth here, I do offer a service to help people find manufacturers, there is a small fee for that but for that I can dedicate proper time to you and to find exactly the sort of manufacturer you’re looking for for your product.  Here’s a link for looking for a UK manufacturer which gives you some more details about how that service works.

seipel leather
Seipel are one of a handful of leather manufacturers in London

Are there any more questions Lauren?

Yes – Sarah’s asked another question as well, she’s looking to make a range of t-shirts and is looking for high quality fabrics and print factories.

If you are looking to make some t-shirts in the UK – I am working on a project at the moment about how much it costs to make a T-shirt in the UK, and how that’s broken down according to the cost of the fabric and the style of the garment.  It’s not one of the cheapest items to make in the UK, but you can certainly can get good quality T-shirts made here. 

The company that we’re working with to compile the details about making T-shirts in the UK is called Discovery Knitting. I know Simon Cook from Discovery Knitting is part of our Buy British Group and there has been some discussions already in that group about where to find fabric printing companies and people to make jerseywear.  So Sarah, it might be worth joining, if you’re not already, and if you do a search within the group for printers you’ll find there’s been a fantastic thread about fabric printers in the UK.

You should also come to our Meet the Manufacturer show if you are looking for UK manufacturers or British-made products to stock in your stores. The yearly trade show is on the 24th and the 25th of May and it’s at the Truman Brewery in London.

We’ve just opened registration over on the meetthemanufacturer.co.uk website. It’s a fantastic event for networking and finding UK manufacturers, and we’ve got lots of free talks this year on all different subjects to do with making in the UK.

Kayleigh’s also asked for the Meet the Manufacturer event, does your business have to be officially registered to get a ticket?

It is a good question Kayleigh. It’s a business-to-business show so ideally you would have a registered business, but at the very very least in order to attend you need business cards if nothing else. You need those business cards to be able to give to all the fantastic manufacturers that you’re going to find at the show.  It’s a really busy show, and we only have 180, 200 exhibitors and with 5,000 visitors those exhibitors are mobbed.  If you want them to take you seriously and think about making your orders you need something to be able to give to them so that they actually have some way of getting back to you after the show.  So if nothing else please make sure you’ve got business cards printed and then we won’t charge you to get in.  I hope that’s clear.

One last thing, lovely Edith Weekes-Hamilton has said keep up the fabulous work.

Oh hello Edith, hello, hopefully we’ll see you at the show again this year, Edith.  Fantastic, right, well thank you very much everyone for joining.  Is there anyone else that wants a shout out before we go or if not I can drink the rest of my cup of tea and get on with all the important work that we do at Make It British?

I hope you enjoyed our Facebook Live, we do this every Thursday at 1pm. Please do send us your comments, we’d love to know what you think.  In particular, it’d be great if you’ve got an idea for a top 20 you’d like us to do. So far we’ve covered – beauty, dog brands, children’s and babywear and wool. If you’ve got an idea for something you’d like to see in our top 20 please let us know  because they’re proving incredibly popular and we want to make sure that we cover every single aspect of UK-made products.

The eagled-eyed amongst you might have noticed that I promised to cover British-made buttons at the beginning and then forgot all about them! Don’t worry, I am going to cover them in depth next week!

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