Guest post: Still Made in Britain by Tony Boylan

tony_boylanA few months ago, we  were thrilled to be featured on Tony Boylan’s amazing website; Still Made in Britain which is devoted to promoting quality British made goods and products! We’re making March our ‘Made in Britain’ month so we’ll be sharing posts and guest posts to help you source everything locally! We asked Tony to write this guest post to highlight the importance of supporting companies who still produce and manufacture their products in the UK, and to help us stay savvy when it comes to big brands with ‘an illusion of Britishness’.   Check out his Still Made in Britain website here and follow Tony Boylan/Still Made in Britain on Twitter !  Don’t forget to vote for us as one of your favourite brands still made in the UK. Click here to vote (takes  2 seconds!)

“Frustrated by the significant loss of British manufacturing jobs I began to think about how to promote the few remaining companies still producing their goods in this country.

I began to develop a website for British made goods about 4 years ago. It started with just a few companies and not much interest but over these last 5 years the interest has grown. The website receives more than 600 visitors per day many from overseas. The number of companies on the website is also now over 600 and growing with a huge variety of products from clothing to HiFi.

As I began to search deeper, it is amazing the variety of British companies, some established for more than 100 years still producing quality goods here in UK like clothing, textiles, shoes and leather goods. And now we see a growing demand for these quality brands from all over the world and especially from emerging economies where British quality still means so much.

Years ago Marks and Spencer’s proud boast was that they made 90% of their clothing in the UK, now it is less than 10% and it is very sad that both the Olympic clothes and the clothing for the English 2016 European Championship Football team will be under the M&S brand but made in Cambodia.

We also have the problem that some companies hide behind an illusion of Britishness putting Union Jack flags on their goods and giving them classic British names. It is only when you delve deeper you find that these products are all imported from China and the Far East.

Classic examples are Hunter Wellies who hold a Royal Warrant and are beloved of the country set. Lots of Union Jacks and British references but they are now made in China since closing their Scottish factory.

Another problem is labelling, companies like Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Pringle do not even put a country of origin label on their goods, again lots of allusions to British heritage but all made in the Far East .

There is however despite all this frustration, a general groundswell for what is known as ‘Reshoring’ where British companies like Trunki, who make suitcases for children, have returned their production to the UK.

Why are they returning production to the UK? Several reasons have been put forward. Shorter lead times, increases in transportation costs, quality, increasing labour cost in the Far East, and of course the scandal of sweat shops and the deaths of clothing workers in Bangladesh. These factors and others have been a wake up call to many large high street retailers who are trying hard to protect their image and good name.”

We, as a team at Art by Natasha Jade really love locally sourced products. We spend much of our weekends at farmers markets and feel satisfied and proud that we can support local farmers and artisans and help to keep their businesses thriving! Stay tuned for post about East London’s best locally sourced produce, coming soon….!

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