Happy New Year… what now?

2014_union_jack_flag_christmas_tree_ornaments-r866d991916784e80bfdfa7e2f71a78fc_x7s2y_8byvr_324At the start of 2013 we set ourselves an unusual New Year resolution; Could a normal family buy everything they needed to live a whole year from goods manufactured in the UK alone? On the eve of the 1 year anniversary of this challenge we would like to share the highs and lows of this roller coaster year.

This year has been one that we as a family will never forget. We have met, visited and even become friends with some great manufacturers. We have seen first-hand their passion and innovation and have been inspired by their drive to keep their manufacturing in the UK. This has even encouraged James to begin turning his hobby of leather work into a manufacturing business of his own (rawleather.co.uk).

When we began the year we had no idea of the scale it would reach and the speed that the press and other media would latch on to the story. We are very grateful to all those who have helped us along our way by bringing our message to the public, giving us and the UK manufacturers a much needed voice.

A real low for the year is an experience that we know we will have shared with families up and down the country in 2013. James was made redundant from his job in marketing in the summer leaving us suddenly in a difficult financial position. Thankfully, because of the project, we found our bills actually shrinking and so we worked our way through and, thankfully James found a part time job later on in the year. On the days he does not work he now devotes to our promotional activities in the name of British manufacturing.

In contrast, one of the significant highs of the year has to be The British Family Fayre. Organised in just 3 months it’s aim was to celebrate how fantastic British manufacturing and farming is. On the day we managed to entice over 60 businesses and more than 4000 people to Westerham, Kent to celebrate with us. This was an incredibly special day and the excitement and support for British made goods and produce was something we will treasure. This has spurred us on to all sorts of exciting plans for 2014.

Something we have been asked constantly over the last few weeks is ‘Will you keep this going?’ We can categorically say that this year has really given us a way of life which works for us, and while there is no need to be as militant in 2014, the principles we have gained over the year are here for life. We will continue to buy British and blog about our findings and challenges along the way and we will continue to eat seasonally and seek out British made goods. We also hope to meet and visit more manufactures next year.

Another question we have had is ‘What will you do next?’ That is more difficult to answer in detail but The British Family Fayre will be back in Westerham on 30th August 2014, even bigger and better than before. We also hope to organise a number of complimentary events promoting and celebrating manufacturing and production in the UK. These include a pop up restaurant and the British Family awards. We have also been surprised by the success of our Britipedia site which in just a couple of months now boasts over 250 registered listings and last week received over 30,000 hits. We will continue to develop this site in an effort to make it a better resource for all. We are also proud of our involvement in the new Made in Britain campaign and the related marque (madeingb.org).

To finish we would like to thank everyone who we have met, emailed, talked to and tweeted throughout our year, as well as the huge number of people who have followed and helped us through our trials and tribulations. Without you all we absolutely would not have made it and it is because of you all that the year has been such a huge success. We cannot wait to get our teeth into 2014 to bring more fantastic manufacturers your way and so we say a very happy New Year to you all.

James & Emily



  1. Well done James and Emily in all that you have achieved, a great inspiration and so with you on the Buy British front….will aim to do better this year!….all the best for your new challenges and a very Happy New year to you too x

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  2. Rosa Garrett says

    Thank you so much for all you have done. You can feel proud!

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  3. A very worthwhile achievement. Well done!

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  4. Penny gee says

    Onward James I wish you and your family a wonderful and happy new year.

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  5. Congratulations on your momentus year, and all the best for 2014. Your message is really getting through, we were talking about you and about buying British at our New Years party.

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  6. Well done! I have always tried to “buy local” as much as possible. Choosing the Made in the USA (that’s where I live) alternative whenever possible and buying seasonal food grown as close to home as possible. Of course, I buy tea imported from Britain (who imported it from …) and have a lot of English teapots and dishes … I hope you will continue on this path and that you will have a fabulous 2014!

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  7. Michael says

    And Happy New Year!

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