Watch: Our promo video for Bradshaw & Sons

I am very proud to present the promotional video for what is likely to be one of the worlds most exclusive ladies handbags. Made in Sevenoaks, England. Enjoy.

Available to buy now at www.bradshaw-and-sons.com

James

 

 

 

 

 

Becoming a Manufacturer: Our Products on Amazon

I am pleased to announce that after a few months of development I have launched my own unique formulation leather wax. It is now available to buy on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bradshaw-Sons-Leather-Wax-Tree/dp/B075VJCHS3 (hint, hint).

I have been making leather goods for years and am about to launch my own leather luggage company later this month (details shortly). However, my first product, which is receiving a rather more subdued launch, is my own formula leather wax. What’s unique about it is that is features tea tree oil and coal tar as core ingredients (along with a mix of premium waxes and oils). These naturally antiseptic and anti-fungal ingredients help to naturally protect leather goods even in long-term storage – think; motorcycle leathers, hiking/football boots, sofas, bags & luggage.

It also waterproofs, cleans and brings out a beautiful shine without leaving any plastic-like coatings. Not bad eh?

I have been using a variation of this formula for a long time but have recently refined (and written down) the formula. I think it is great stuff… hopefully others will too.

While most leather treatments on the market are marked ‘made in Germany’ this one (as you might imagine) is proudly made in the UK.

So, if you have any leather goods that are looking a little worse for wear… remember to buy British.

Regards

James (officially a British manufacturer)

 

 

 

 

Becoming a British manufacturer: Must see video

I am well on my journey to become a British manufacturer!

Please watch this video and share, share, share – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin ect…

Your help is much appreciated.

Best Wishes

James

A Short Break from Blogging

We are taking a short break from regular blogging about our effort to buy British. This is mainly because James is putting a lot of effort into become a British manufacturer himself.

Having been inspired by the stories and dedication of the 100’s of British manufacturers we have met, James is putting a lot of energy into designing a range of leather goods that are 100% made in the UK. After a few delays in the process thus far, the results of his efforts should be ready for all to see this Summer. James hopes to launch his new venture with a Kickstarter campaign and hopes that our supporters will continue to support this new venture.

See you soon!

Emily and James

 

 

Meet the British Manufacturing Boss: Harvey Bowden – Harvey Water Softeners

Harvey and van

Harvey in the early days.

In this week’s blog we’re proud to meet pioneering British manufacturing boss Harvey Bowden of Harvey Water Softeners. In this post Harvey discusses why being a ‘Made in Britain’ accredited company is important to him and what motivated him to make his product here at a time when many would have thought him foolish. Harvey, over to you…

I could have done it cheaper overseas, and that’s plain wrong

Setting up a factory was a strange thing to be doing in Britain twenty years ago. Back then, the heart of the country’s industry was still being packed up and shipped overseas by companies searching for savings at any cost.

I could have done the same. Outsourcing my whole production line abroad would have made things cheaper, sure – I wouldn’t have needed to build a factory for one thing. I wouldn’t have needed to pay engineers, designers or production staff. I could have just imported cheaper products and then sold them on. It would have been much ‘easier’ in lots of ways, and that’s what was so wrong.

You see I didn’t just want to build a manufacturing business for me, and I certainly didn’t want to do it at the expense of my own community or country. Especially when the people I needed with the skills and expertise to help me make the best softeners were all around me here at home.

After selling US-made products during the ’70s and ’80s, I knew through experience that the best way to build products for British homes with British plumbing was to use British plumbing expertise. I was a plumber by trade, and by making our products right here I knew we’d always be able to stay in control of product quality.

Harvey Water Softener - individualI wanted to build the world’s best water softener here in Britain

I’m all for the free market, don’t get me wrong. It can help the best rise to the top. But with that power to deal freely with the world’s markets comes a responsibility, I believe, on the part of the entrepreneur to not make business decisions that negatively impact on their local areas. The place they call home, pay taxes and use public services.

That’s just me, anyway. I knew what I wanted to do; build the world’s best water softener. And I wanted to do it here in Britain.

I had the idea – the world’s first twin-tank softener that would fit underneath a kitchen sink – but it was the people around me who helped turn that idea into a reality over the next two decades and create the business we’ve got today.

We now employ almost 200 people from our local area in Woking, and we’re still growing. The fact that we are a British manufacturer has been great for business, especially over the last five years. To many of our UK customers, where their products come from and how they’re made is more important now, than ever.

Our sales abroad have increased in recent years too. In the eyes of our European customers, our ‘Made in Britain’ accreditation stands for quality, performance and satisfaction, and that’s no accident.

We’ll always make our water softeners here

British manufacturing has come a long way since I started out. Companies now can do things here that were beyond imagination just twenty years ago and the few things that we had to buy from overseas in the early days have since been ‘reshored’. This means that, as of 2014, our softeners are made entirely in Britain – with all components now made on site on in this country too. A long-held wish come true for me.

However, manufacturers still account for less than 15% of the UK economy, so there’s much work still to be done. We’ll carry on doing our part, making softeners here and helping more households to experience the many benefits of soft water; longer-lasting appliances, cheaper bills, fewer products to name but a few.

I’m proud to be making in Britain, and I hope that more companies carry on doing the same.

Harvey Bowden is the founder of Harvey Water Softeners – click on the link to find out more about their three-month water softener trials.

A wine by any other name… The official new name for English Sparking Wine

nyetimberFrance has Champagne, Italy has Prosecco and Spain has Cava… but with the meteoric rise of the reputation of English Sparking Wine there has been a struggle as to what to call it. It seems English Winemakers now how have a solution… or do they?

When you think about Champagne or Prosecco they conjure up images of sophistication, high society and celebration. However, the new official name for English Sparking Wine, as backed by the UK Vineyard Association somehow seems to miss the same mark.

The association are suggesting that UK winemakers begin using the term ‘British Fizz’ on their bottles in order to differentiate it from it’s more established French, Italian and Spanish rivals. But, not everyone is convinced by the new name… myself included.

British Fizz. It just does not seem to have the right resonance. To me it suggests more alco-pop than a refined premium product. That being said, it is easier to criticise that create and I cannot really think of anything too much better.

If you have any bright ideas please comment below.

– James

Review: Sofas by Saxon – Plaid Throw

Just before Christmas we were introduced to a proud Lancashire-based company called Sofas by Saxon. As the name suggest they make sofas but have also expanded inthrowto producing, rugs, throws and cushions… all made in beautiful Bolton. They sent us a fantastic plaid patterned throw which, as luck would have it, looks great on our living room chair.

A family business since 1982, Sofas by Saxon are likely best know for producing Chesterfield-style sofas but have, what appears to be, an endless range of living room furniture in every conceivable colour, and even undertake bespoke work. It is clear that their 75 strong manufacturing team are kept pretty busy.

The throw they sent to us as a sweetener for writing nice things about them (which we would have done anyway… but don’t tell them) is made from 100% British wool and comes in 7 colours. It is fair to say that they are all muted country tones and 5 of them are plaid. This is perfect for us as we are very traditional in our tastes and that’s why, when asked to choose one, we opted for the ‘Blackberry Crumble’ which features olive tones with a hint of purple (check it out here: https://www.sofasbysaxon.com/genuine-wool-throws-p357).

Strangely, we have quite a collection of British made throws and at £130 the latest addition is the most expensive. That being said it is the best quality by some margin and well worth the nominal extra spend. It is also slightly larger then the others too, which is an advantage when you need to fit the whole family under it on a cold winter night.

If the throw is anything to go by their sofas, I imagine, are going to be top-notch too. I am a little partial to a Chesterfield and staring at just £729 (sale price so get in quick) I would say that they are a great option for our next sofa.

It is clear that these guys are proud to be a British manufacturer and it is nice to see that they are heavily plugging the British made = quality piece throughout their literature.

So, in short, here we have a great British manufacture making quality stuff in the UK at a decent price. What more can you ask for?

Oh, and here is a video of some sofas being made… enjoy!

Editor's Rating
Quality
Value for Money
Functionality
Design
Satisfaction
Total British Family Rating72/100

 

 

New Collective of British manufacturers – Initial signs are promising

A new collective of British manufacturers have just met to discuss how they can take more control of the future of the ailing sector. The results were very positive.

Earlier this week the MD of MSE UK, Alex Henderson (a British manufacturer of medical equipment), and I organised a meeting with manufacturers to discuss how we might influence change in the sectors at this time of political upheaval.

Firstly, we were overwhelmed by the response to our invitation to attend (or our call to arms, if you will).  In attendance for the round table event we representatives from, what seemed like, every conceivable sub-sector of British manufacturing and from all over the country.

A far larger number of manufactures contacted me in response to the invitations apologising for not being able to attend but wishing to know the outcome. For those interested, here is a brief summary of the action points to come out of the meeting:

It was clear that, as a collective of manufacturers, our specific priorities differ. That being said, there was consensus that it was an over-arching cultural change in attitude towards British manufacturing that was required. This included in change in consumer buying habits, political rhetoric and in education. It was also clear that we were all keen for the net result of any activities undertaken by the group resulted in increased sales for UK manufacturers both domestically and through export.

There was further consensus that what was required was a well-funded ‘marketing organisation’ rather than a lobby group per-se. There was reference to the activities of the organisations such as the Milk Marketing Board and the Meat Marketing Board who managed to successfully change British consumer culture in the mid-20th century, the legacy of which remains to this day. It was recognised that the formation of a ‘Manufacturing Marketing Board’ would take considerable resource and infrastructure as well as requiring a long-term view but would be a worthwhile exercise.

There was some concerns raised by the group about the number of differing organisations that exist claiming to be working in the name of British manufacturing. It was agreed that there needed to be some push to combine the associated efforts of these dispersed groups. However, it was also acknowledged that the differing priorities of these organisations, the commercial nature of some and the egos of those involved may frustrate a call to arms under one banner.

Ultimately, it was considered that the formation of a formal organisation at this point was currently beyond the reach of the group. That being said we have agreed to a number of first steps in an attempt to put the group in a more powerful position to do so:

  • A Statement of Intent, or mission statement, will be drafted and agreed by those present by the end of the year. Alex Henderson will offer a first draft for consideration.
  • It was clear that, within the room, we have a powerful reach to other manufacturers and other collectives. With that in mind we will reach out to others from within our own networks in order achieve significant backing for the Statement from industry. This could be in the form a 38 degrees campaign. This will begin early in the New Year.
  • Given significant backing a collective approach to government will be made as well as to other manufacturing representative bodies.
  • James Bradshaw will organise some method for ongoing collaboration for the group which will allow for group input ‘virtually’. This could be a forum or another such online collaboration tool.

Personally, I believe that yesterday we achieved consensus on a path to move forward. We certainly had enough passion in the room to make me optimistic that such enthusiasm will be contagious as we approach others.

If you were unable to join us for the meeting but would still like to be involved please contact us directly.

James

Can battered UK manufacturers keep up with post Brexit demand?

banksyUK manufacturing is on the cusp of a revival say insiders but is an industry that has suffered 50 years of gradual depletion up to it?

The emerging renaissance in UK manufacturing has been driven by the rising cost of overseas production, particularly in China, and an increased need for flexibility in supply chains. And now that the UK has voted to leave the European Union, optimists believe demand for local manufacturing will grow. However, the manufacturing industry has been decimated since the 1970s and 1980s.

The UK fashion industry is expected to be one of the big Brexit winners. Around 100,000 people are now employed by the UK’s clothing and textile industry. This is actually the highest number since 2007, but is still dramatically less than the early 1970s, when it provided jobs for more than 1 million people. A recent report from the UK Fashion & Textile Association (UKFT) this summer revealed a 7.6% increase in the number of UK companies manufacturing textiles and clothing over the past year. This is clearly a break from a long-standing downward trend but if Brexit does trigger a sudden rise in demand can the much depleted sector keep up?

UK factories no longer have the capacity for volume manufacturing, so meeting any boom in demand will be far from easy.

 

Calling all British manufacturers – it’s time to be heard!

alex-and-james-mse

Alex Henderson MD of MSE with James

Do you own a British manufacturing company and want influence positive change in UK governmental policy affecting the sector?

As a small group of British manufacturers we invite interested and impassioned business leaders to join us for an informal roundtable discussion on the subject of how the UK manufacturing sector can influence positive government change.

Whatever your political opinions, we have a narrow window of opportunity to make our recommendations for the impending Brexit negotiations. We are sure that your hope, like ours, is that leaving the EU will ultimately positively benefit the long suffering UK manufacturing sector rather than continue to stifle it.

Our immediate ambition is to ensure that the manufacturing sectors’ voice is heard during these negotiations and then, beyond, we are well represented in future policy.

We feel that this can be achieved through the creation of a new independent lobbying body set up by industry to represent the voice of its members. On the evening of the meeting we hope to set, by mutual agreement, some positive plans for immediate action and appoint a board of directors.

Important Note: Only a small number of seats are available for this roundtable discussion. If you are not the owner or an officially recognised representative from a manufacturing organisation your application to attend will be refused. However, at a later date we will value passionate supporters and welcome you to register your interest to attend future events to james@britishfamily.co.uk

To register your interest to attend this event please visit: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/british-manufacturers-lobby-group-first-meeting-registration-9300328533

 

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