Take a stroll down London’s Saville Row or ramble around Northampton and you will have no shortage of evidence that Britain leads the world when it comes to dashing bespoke attire and the finest handmade footwear to hit pavements. But that is just the tip of the toecap when it comes to superior quality design and manufacturing on British shores.
From intricate silk designs woven in Suffolk to tweed from the Highlands; textiles from Yorkshire to fine bone china from the Potteries – the nation has a thriving manufacturing base. (Despite popular myths that anything that glitters is probably imported from the Far East!) It is true to say that distinguishing the “Assembled in the UK” from the thoroughbred “Born in Britain breed” was once tricky but that will soon be a thing of the past as the first major “Meet the Manufacturer” trade fair prepares to lift the lid and showcase the brilliance of home grown brands.
The event is being staged by Kate Hills, founder and MD of Make it British and will be held this week at the Old Truman Brewery in London on the 11-12of June. Patriotic Kate is a passionate, trailblazing leader within the made in Britain movement and this is the first event of its kind designed to rally UK manufacturers and have them showcase their work.
The trade fair provides visitors with a wonderful opportunity to not only touch and feel the outstanding quality that accompanies the Made in Britain quality mark, but the ability to meet in person the great minds and souls behind our fabulous brands.
Producing in the UK brings enormous benefits in terms of accessibility to designers, multiple prototyping, quality control, fast lead times and IP protection. Kate and the exhibitors must be congratulated for bringing this to the fore.
Brave British manufacturers have answered the call and now it is our duty to respond to their appeal. So what can British businesses do to help them?
Jurga Zilinskiene, the tweed loving, computer programming CEO of Today Translations says, “Every UK based business, whether British or not, has a duty to support local industry and innovation because it the right thing to do!” And Jurga has some suggestions for simple, quirky things any firm can do to make this happen. Here are her top tips:
- Design your own tartan and have it woven in British wool at a British mill. Tweed in colourful, original designs is Jurga’s favourite fabric for her hallmark jacket collection and is equally loved by her team. Tartan was therefore the perfect choice to reflect the vibrant yet traditional personality of the company and she insisted it had to be sourced in the UK. Today Translations approached tartancarpets.com in Scotland to design their tartan incorporating the firm’s corporate grey palate and to weave this into a carpet for the company’s London Boardroom using Yorkshire wool. Design your own company tartan and don’t stop there, surround yourself with British wool curtains in your corporate colours and benefit from its beauty (and heat insulation).
- Get into 3D design and become part of the new industrial revolution. The world is entering a new industrial era; this is the 3D age where rapid design, prototyping and mass production will soon be readily available to anyone. Britain is at the cutting edge of this new industry where the mathematics and state of the art computing behind Computer Aided Design (CAD) reign. 3D (and 4D, for that matter) is not confined to aeronautics and Hollywood, so treat your corporate logo to a 3D makeover. Today Translations commissioned a world leading designer at 3d-imaging.co.uk to give their trademarked globe a Hollywood makeover by transforming it into a 3D animation for use in their corporate videos. Recently, in a partnership with GCNC Ltd, the animation has now leapt from the screen to become an intricate and beautiful model, carved in rich mahogany wood (more on that to come later on). This corporate signage is a testimony to both great British design and engineering.
- Give great British gifts that recipients will admire and cherish. Today Translations regularly meets with clients from across the globe and providing a gift that is culturally acceptable and appreciated, and shows a level of thought that is deeper and more meaningful than presenting a nicely translated business card (although that shouldn’t necessarily be neglected, either). Today Translations has just commissioned a British jewellery maker to produce a luxury set of cufflinks in gold with black enamel that incorporates a translated message of friendship that will underpin the aim of a forthcoming trade delegation.
Today, thanks to the easy accessibility to world class innovators, ideas are only limited by our human imagination and our willingness to put the effort into sourcing quality goods. This says a lot about a company. “When your company has strong ethics and values, try weaving these into the fabric of your business in both the emotional and the physical sense”, says Jurga. “The result will show everyone that you believe in quality and detail and it will also show you care about British manufacturing.