by Hester Moore
We are often told to buy British made, eat British made and now wear British made. But what does that really mean? Does it really matter? And what will my purchase mean this Christmas?
To answer these questions I first need to tell you a little about us and our business.
“Helen felt that we could do it all from our village, after all, we knew a couple of people who could sew”
In 1982 my parents started a business designing and making stationery and gifts. They ran the business from our home in Devon whilst raising me and my brothers. As the business grew so did the product range, we couldn’t make everything ourselves anymore so started manufacturing in China. We would wait weeks for a huge delivery to arrive only to discover that some were damaged, the colours were wrong or that we had simply ordered too much. Any extra profit gained in buying a ‘cheap product’ was soon lost in variables and stress.
So when we started working with faux fur in around 2002 we saw this as an opportunity to do things differently. Helen and I are trained designers and love sewing, so we believed we could make everything ourselves. Luckily our first collections were very popular, but it also meant we were struggling to produce everything ourselves. Everyone advised us to go back to China, make it cheaper to sell more. But we simply didn’t want to, Helen felt that we could do it all from our village, after all, we knew a couple of people that could sew and that’s all we needed (well that’s what we thought). We now employ over 50 local people!
So what does it really mean to buy British?
For us, it means more employment in a village where there was little before. It means less waste and a smaller environmental footprint. It means that we can make better products.
“We are not trying to sell items because we have lots of them, we are trying to sell them because we love them”
We are in the factory every day, so if a product needs tweaking we can do it, we can adjust a seam, add a button, change the lining – every detail is within our control, this, in turn, means that we don’t have overstock of an item that didn’t sell well. We are not trying to sell items because we have lots of them, we are trying to sell them because we love them and worked really hard to get them right.
We can respond to trends much faster. For example, when the Duchess of Cambridge wore a faux fur collar on Christmas day we could be in the factory the next day (yes Boxing Day) to get orders ready to despatch. When Fearne Cotton wanted to wear one of our Multi Vixens to Glastonbury we could make a bespoke one for her. When everyone wanted Pom Pom Keyrings we could make them one day and market them the next.
So to buy British means that you are buying a better product, one that has been handcrafted by the people who designed it. It gives you an opportunity to help reduce landfill and support a community.
Does it really matter?
I believe that the decisions we make matter. Buying British matters to our communities and the country’s progress. And as the UK is entering a time of great uncertainty we must look at our industries and encourage growth before they are gone forever.
Creativity matters, we must support our artists, designers and makers to create a new and exciting future, one that is brighter and more fun.
It matters that we buy clothes to last rather than to wear and discard because our future depends on a less wasteful culture.
And what will my purchase mean this Christmas?
Every time you make a purchase from us we smile. We have spent a long time designing and making each item so to know that you love it means we are doing the right thing.
It means that you have made the decision to be in control of what you consume, to be a step closer to understanding the environmental and social impact of the clothes that you wear.
It means we can continue to design items that will last for years and not weeks, to pay fair wages, to personally train people in a new skill, not to overstock, to contribute to our countries growth and to have some fun doing what we love.
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