The passed 3 months have certainly been uncertain times for many businesses. The rate at which measures were implemented to reduce the spread of COVID – 19 meant that shops had to close quickly, manufacturing and distribution was disrupted or even stopped and new product launches delayed.
Running an independent British business isn’t easy at the best of times and that’s why it’s so important right now to seek them out and give them your support.
British manufacturing is amongst the best in the world, with many of the products being made by hand using skills that have been handed down through generations.
I buy British made products for many different reasons. I believe that I’m buying something of quality that will last and last. I like knowing that what I’m buying hasn’t been mass produced so I feel as if I’m getting something that is pretty unique. I like knowing who’s made it or where it comes from, the story behind the brand always give me a warm fuzzy felling. Of course the low carbon footprint is a real appeal and now more than ever, I like the fact that buying British gives jobs to British people and therefore supports the economy.
Being a made in England brand myself, I naturally take an interest in other businesses that do the same. Recently I’ve been chatting to a few of them to find out what makes them tick.
catturnerlondon is a British brand of summer chic that I discovered in Red magazine. The collection of summer dresses combines comfort, versatility as well as being super stylish. What more could you ask? They’re a kind of classy, casual look which suits so many different occasions. Whether you’re looking for cute, hot summer day outfits, a working from home outfit or summer evening looks, these boutique dresses can be easily dressed up or down.
It’s important to the brand that women not only look good but feel good in the sun so they ensure that they only use premium, summer-friendly fabrics – together with sustainable fabrics like Linen and Tencel. Cat Turner London has a beautiful range of cotton summer dresses in a variety of styles, including a yellow cotton sundress with polka dots, a cotton strapless dress in an elegant black and white print and a blue and white striped kaftan dress that evokes French Riviera chic! My favourite is this Belted Summer Dress in Midnight Blue, I imagine wearing it whilst eating gelato in an Italian piazza.
The icing on the cake for me is knowing that all of Cat Turner’s ethically made dresses are carefully crafted by expert teams in London, so you’re supporting British craftsmanship when you buy from her, it’s a win win in my opinion.
I asked Cat how difficult it was for her to find a British manufacturer for her dresses.
“It wasn’t too difficult as there are quite a few events in London and resources online that help with this. The challenge is choosing the right one for you…one that has experience in making the items that you specialise in, the right ways of working, can offer you a reasonable price and is happy to work with a small brand with tiny volumes. I fully recommend you visit each potential manufacturing partner several times and ask all the right questions. When you’re ready to go ahead with someone, make sure you have some form of contract in place to make things clear and fair for the both of you.”
If you haven’t seen the range of jewellery by littlebylittlejewellery you should take a look. It’s a sustainable jewellery brand that takes design inspiration from ingredients, yes that’s that right, ingredients. It was started by two friends, Annabel Cox and Georgina Fuggle who are an ethical jewellery designer and food writer respectively. The idea was born, over coffee, dreaming of ways to do business generously and raise funds for charity whilst doing so. The jewellery followed, a happy combination of the girls’ passions.
Co-founder, Georgina said this about her love of jewellery:
“For me, jewellery captures memories and I love that! I remember my mum having her a little box of pieces and sitting with her, talking through the story of each one. And so it began, my journey with jewellery!”
Since its conception there have been four collections: The Seville, The Mustard Seed, The Wedge and The Pip. All made with sustainable gold, silver and glass, the collections each have their own distinct identity and quality. The founders always wanted to use their jewellery to empower others and are proud to work with the charity, Luminary Bakery. With each piece sold they donate sufficient funds to enable a disadvantaged woman to train at the bakery for a day and help build their career. How wonderful.
Another brand that has been on my radar recently is virgoandco who produce luxurious and sustainable cushions. Founder Katie Braham’s passion for interior design began at a young age.
“I’ve loved interiors for as long as I can remember, always begging my mum to let me redecorate the house as a child and staying up to watching programs like Changing Rooms and Grand Designs. In recent years, I became interested in sustainability, and realised the environmental impact of the textiles industry. At this point, I had studied and worked in Business and Marketing and realised that this gave me the power to do something about sustainability in textiles, by creating a business that raised awareness of the issue and provided our community with trusted alternatives to environmentally damaging home textiles.”
The business was founded with a mission of proving that home textiles can not only look good, but do good too! Quality craftsmanship and timeless designs are at the heart of the Virgo & Co. brand, ensuring that their cushions can seamlessly fit into your home and be loved for years to come.
Every fabric is carefully selected to ensure it is kind to our planet and its people, so that you can rest easy. The beautiful neutral and green pieces are all handcrafted in England by a team of experts. Not only that, but for every purchase, they donate 1% to support environmental projects such as deforestation and preventing water pollution.
We know that the more money we spend in Britain the better and it’s never been easier to find products worthy of our cash that have been made on our shores. So let’s get spreading the work and get shopping.