Meet the Manufacturer: Toby Gaddum of Tempus Clothing

On a recent trip to Staffordshire I caught up with Toby Gaddum, owner of the Gaddum Group and Tempus clothing, and self-titled ‘Gobby Git’ of UK manufacturing.

Toby Gaddum, Tempus Clothing
Toby Gaddum, owner of Tempus Clothing

Toby, whose family have been trading silk since 1826 and who is a member of the Worshipful Company of Weavers, has had the foresight to realise that clothing manufacture is returning to the UK. He has put considerable investment of his own money into setting up a brand new, purpose built clothing factory in Leek, which he envisages will hold over 100 machinists very soon. I chatted to him to find out why he believes that making clothing in the UK is viable again.

Cutting cloth at Tempus Clothing
Cutting cloth at Tempus Clothing

What can a UK clothing manufacturer offer that an overseas manufacturer does not, and how is Tempus Clothing capitalising on this?

It is the speed of response that offers an advantage over manufacturers abroad – Tempus Clothing is able to produce bulk production for retail/wholesale sales from initial sketch to fully made garment in 6 weeks. Furthermore we have access to a fabric dyeing facility with a laboratory and fabric printing (both rotary and digital) which are within 100 metres of our factory. This particular infrastructure is unique in the UK and allows us to be even more flexible in terms of developments and production. We also have our own sample room, which is separate to the production, thereby enabling a fast turnaround on new developments.
Furthermore, we have embroidery, screen printing and heat transfer machines under the same roof, which means we are not reliant on outsourcing this to other companies.

Sewing ladies at Tempus Clothing
Sewing ladies at Tempus Clothing

What do you think are the biggest issues facing UK clothing manufacturers today?

The main issue is the local (UK) infrastructure of component parts – be it labels, buttons, zips or accessories, to make up the garment. Because there is not a lot of choice in the market place you become reliant on a few suppliers normally importing product from overseas factories. If there is a break or delay in that chain then there will undoubtedly be a knock on effect which in turn could cause delays in production.
The other concern is the supply of sewing machines and the availability of second hand ones in the market place. It is very difficult to source and find some specialist machines. So many were either shipped overseas in the ‘90’s or were scrapped or simply left to decay outside buildings. Further to that we are lacking the skills on mechanics, and of course sewing machinists. Our youngest machinist in the factory is 50!

Embroidery machines at Tempus Clothing
Embroidery machines at Tempus Clothing

How are you planning to address this issue of machinists who aren’t getting any younger?

I’m putting together a training school at the factory. We will be running apprenticeship courses to train newcomers, both in sewing machining and sewing mechanic skills. The students will spend one year in the apprenticeship school and then a year in the factory. When they are qualified I hope to be able to offer a job to those who have passed the course and have gained their qualifications. When the apprentices move out of the factory after a year another 10 will be taken on in the school. I hope to make Tempus Clothing the biggest garment factory in England.

If you would like to contact Toby you can do so here

21 thoughts on “Meet the Manufacturer: Toby Gaddum of Tempus Clothing”

  1. What a fantastic can do attitude. Is there more information about what clothing ranges they plan to produce in the future, and for whom, or if they plan to sell directly.

  2. Great news, but in order to support British companies like this we need to know where can we buy these products .

    1. Hi George
      If you need Tony’s contact details then I’m happy yo send them to you. Just drop us a message via the contact form

  3. Best of luck with this venture. With the rubbish that’s available in the shops at the moment, both expensive and cheap, it shouldn’t be too difficult to compete!

  4. This is a great news, just when I am also looking for a uk clothing manufacturer, will get in touch soon.I do hope all your plans work.

  5. Angela Secker

    Well done Toby for bringing it home ! We will do our very best to support you ! Best Wishes and Congratulations from a fellow ( Stone ) Staffordian

  6. Brilliant news about Tempus. When and where can we get our hands on this British made clothing? Just off to Google the info.

  7. Fantastic news! Yet another move to preserve precious skills and to develop and expand an interest in British manufacturing. More people in work, a contribution to our faltering economy and on the horizon, with a groundswell response to Toby’s enthusiasm, a positive future for the British Isles. Here’s hoping that Toby can find another UK entrepreneur prepared to produce and supply labels, buttons and zips etc. I wish him the very best of British Luck 🙂

  8. Hi Tony
    Great to hear about another British manufacturer!
    I wish you all the success for the future. We are weavers and converters of badges labels ties etc. and if we can be of service please contact me directly. Your clothes could have your unique identity.
    Thanks and good luck Peter

    1. AnneMarie Smellie

      Hi Peter, I have just seen your comment about Toby Gaddum and the fact that you make labels etc. Just wondered if you manufactured buttons aswell as I am thinking of starting up a new sports clothing line and would love to stay British…
      Best wishes,

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