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Kate Hills is on a one-woman mission to save UK manufacturing. In this podcast she shines the light on British brands and manufacturers, and goes behind the scenes of their businesses. With tips, hints and tricks to help you manufacture in the UK and buy British. Never has there been a more critical time to get behind 'made in Britain'.
 
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I've interviewed some fantastic guests over the past 3 series of the Make it British podcast. To celebrate the milestone which is 200 episodes, I'm bringing you a summary from 21 of the Make it British members that I have interviewed over the last few years. All of them have built great UK-made businesses and have some great advice to impart! Disco…
 
Starting any business can be tough - especially one that involves making products! Whether you are just about start a brand, or you've already launched and it's not quite going to plan, here are 11 tips that will help ensure success. Discover: Why you should start with why [01:43] One of the first things you need to think about if you want to ensur…
 
Probably one of the questions that I get asked more than any other is 'how long will it take me to launch a new product if I make it in the UK?' The short answer is - 'how long is a piece of string!' The long answer is more complex, and involves taking into account several different variables. All of which I cover in this episode. More Make it Brit…
 
London-based designer Maria Grachvogel is renowned for her clever use of cutting to flatter the female figure. In this interview, Maria talks about why she has chosen to use more UK manufacturers for her collection, and how changing her business model has helped her to build closer relationships with her clients. She also discusses the importance o…
 
How do you follow up with a manufacturer (and have a better chance of a response)? In this episode I give you some great tips on how to make sure that you get a response back from a manufacturer ever time. This episode will be particularly useful for anyone who wants to follow up with someone that they met at an event or trade show. Discover: How t…
 
One of our epidode's from the very first series that is well worth a revisit is this one with Andy Ogden at English Fine Cottons. Greater Manchester was once known as cottonopolis because it was the home to the world’s cotton yarn and fabric production during the industrial revolution. At the turn of the Twentieth Century, there were 9,000 people e…
 
Unfortunately, mistakes can and do, happen in manufacturing, but there are ways to avoid them. In this episode, we look at the main reasons that manufacturing a product usually goes wrong, how to resolve the situation if it does and how to make sure that it doesn’t happen again. Discover: What are the common problems that can happen when you're man…
 
In this episode, I chat to Ian Maclean, managing director of John Smedley – the oldest operating factory in the world. John Smedley is one of the finest knitwear manufacturers in the world. The company was established 235 years ago, at the start of the Industrial Revolution, and they still operate out of the same factory in Matlock in Derbyshire. I…
 
I think visiting a factory is essential for anyone that is developing a new product. One of the benefits of making in the UK is that factory visiting is far easier than if you are making your products overseas. In this episode, I run through my 7 reasons why you should be visiting a factory – and hopefully, if you’re not doing so already, I will ha…
 
Julie Deane CBE, set up the Cambridge Satchel Company in 2008 with £600 and went on to make it a global, multi-million-pound business. But behind the success story, there was a lot of hard work, including having to set up her own factory in Leicestershire almost overnight. In this interview, she tells the story behind the brand and talks about how …
 
Some people think manufacturers should do any initial work for no charge in order to pitch for your business. But that’s often not the case. In this episode, I explain why many UK manufacturers charge for sampling – and how that can be a good thing. Discover: The incorrect assumptions people may have about why UK manufacturers don't sample for free…
 
Labour Behind the Label is a workers rights organisation that fights for living wages for garment workers. They have produced a report about the unethical working practices of factories in Leicester making for Boohoo. The industry has often called into question how Boohoo can sell dresses for £4 and still make them ethically in the UK, and this rep…
 
In this episode, I look back over the first 100 episodes of this show to find out what makes British-made businesses great. There are many common themes running through the last 100 episodes and that I’ve heard again and again from those I’ve interviewed. Here are the 10 things that make British-made businesses great: UK manufacturers are partners …
 
Today I’m chatting to Lindsey James, who is the founder of womenswear brand Violet Flamingo. Lindsey was making and selling bespoke clothing for her clients from her studio before covid hit. Finding herself with no way to reach customers during lockdown, she started to do regular Facebook live calls from her studio, talking to her customers just as…
 
Just a quick one today, to say that I'm taking a break from recording new episodes after next week. In the meantime, I have selected 10 of the best episodes from the archive for your enjoyment, which will be episodes no.s 188 - 197 I'll be back on 20th August (not 13th as I said on the audio!) with a brand new solo episode no.198 More Make it Briti…
 
Rita Britton is somewhat of a fashion legend. For 50 years she ran an independent fashion store in Barnsley, Yorkshire called Polyanna, which was an International hub for luxury fashion stocked with Rita's unique style. When Polyanna closed in 2014, Rita focused on developing her own brand, Nomad, made in the UK with fabrics sourced from Yorkshire …
 
If you want to develop a range of products but have little manufacturing experience you might be thinking of employing the services of a production consultant.In this episode, we’re going to look out what services a production consultant might offer, and why you might not want to use one if you want to manufacture in the UK.I’ve also got advice on …
 
Brant Richards is one of the founders of HebTroCo. 5 years ago, he and his business partner Ed had an idea in the pub - to start making trousers in Hebden Bridge, a town in Yorkshire that was once renowned for its trouser making.They launched the business on Kickstarter, knowing nothing about making trousers, and within five hours of switching on t…
 
Do you want a manufacturer in the UK? On today's episode I discuss the reasons why searching in Google for a manufacturer to make your products could be a very costly mistake to make. Discover: What can happen if you select a manufacturer using a Google search 1:29 Examples of what you really find on page one of Google when you type in 'UK clothing…
 
Johnstons of Elgin is the largest textile manufacturer in the UK. The 223-year-old company employs over 1,000 people and was the first to bring cashmere weaving to Scotland. Simon Cotton, the chief executive of Johnstons, describes himself as working for the most exciting company in the UK. Listen to find out how he plans to make the company last l…
 
This episode is a lesson to anyone that wants to make in the UK but is struggling to make their pricing work.YES, it is possible to have a thriving and sustainable brand that is made in the UK and be profitable. You just need to change the way you look at things. Discover: Why trying to find a cheaper manufacturer is not the solution 02:05 Why pric…
 
Rebecca Mills has a background in buying and retail for some big-name brands, yet when it came to running her own business she found it very different. In this episode, she talks about how different it is running her own brand and some of the common mistakes that it is easy to make when you love designing products! Discover: The challenges of devel…
 
I get contacted all the time by people looking for ‘more affordable’ UK manufacturers. They’re not making any money in their business and they believe it’s all the manufacturer’s fault because their prices are too high. But when I dig a little deeper, often I find that there are other parts of the business that need to be addressed first in order f…
 
Debbie McKeegan has over 30 years experience in textile printing - specifically digital printing. She is the founder of TexIntel, a platform that provides fantastic knowledge and advice to the digital print industry and also the host of the Texintel podcast. In this episode Debbie answers all your burning questions about digital printing. So if you…
 
There are really four different scenarios in which it's probably better to manufacture overseas than in the UK.In this episode, I run through what those four different cases are. Discover: How the amount of time that it takes to make something can play a big part in deciding whether it should be made here 01:41 Which skills we have very little of i…
 
James Stewart is an experienced lean practitioner who has worked with Burberry and Fashion Enter to help streamline their manufacturing process. ‘Lean’ is a method for producing products in smaller batches, closer to the customer, rather than making zillions of products overseas that no one wants to buy. Anyone that manufactures sustainably and loc…
 
If your products aren’t selling - don’t get disheartened! There can be many reasons why products don’t sell, but there are also lots of things you can do to make sure they have the best chance of success. So before you think about slashing your prices, take a listen to this episode. Discover: The things you can do before you start to develop a prod…
 
In an industry that is dominated by big brands, how can you stand out from the crowd and launch something new? In this episode, I chat to Hannah Lovegrove, co-founder of Lovegrove essentials, about what it takes to launch an organics skincare brand that is made in the UK. Hannah started her award-winning business in 2015 with her daughter Hayley. S…
 
What are some of the pros and cons of selling your products on an online marketplace?And how do you know which ones you should be on? Along with the well-established online marketplaces such as Etsy and Not on the High Street, there are lots of new ones springing up. Many of these specialise in certain niches, including a few newcomers who sell onl…
 
Rich and Linda make stunning, digitally printed swimwear under the label Usual Objections. They manufacture all of their products from a micro-factory in their family home in Hackney, which they also share with 2 children and a blind pug! In this episode, they tell me about what made them decide to manufacture everything themselves, having tried do…
 
When it comes to working out your selling prices, one of the biggest mistakes people make is getting their margin and mark-up all mixed up! It’s easily done as the two words are pretty similar. But it can be a costly mistake to make if you get it wrong. In this episode, I explain what the difference is between a margin and a mark-up, and what perce…
 
On today’s episode, we’re being joined by make-up artist Phyllis Cohen, who is also the founder of a business called Face Lace. Phyllis started her career as a make-up artist in the ‘80s during the New Romantic era when her illustrative make-up appeared in magazines such as i-D. She’s also worked her make-up magic on everyone from David Bowie and L…
 
There are a lot of different costs involved in launching a brand. But in this episode, I break it down into four main segments: prototyping; stock; marketing and admin. I also advise on what the typical amount is that new businesses spend in getting their brand off the ground, and smart ways that you can reduce those costs. Discover: The new ‘Made …
 
Rowena Howie’s Revival Retro store in central London is a destination shop for fans of her flattering dresses and stylish accessories. In this episode we chat about how Rowena has pivoted her business to online whilst the shop has been closed; how the government could help independent retailers; and how she puts the customer at the heart of everyth…
 
Choosing a manufacturer is one of the most important decisions you can make in the development of your products, so it’s important to find the right one. When you are assessing whether a manufacturer is a good fit for you there are certain questions that you should ask them. Some of these questions you may want to ask over the phone initially, in o…
 
Today I’m chatting to UK garment manufacturer Jenny Holloway who I first featured on this show on episode 21 back in January 2019. Jenny runs Fashion Enter, a social enterprise that makes 1,000s of garments every week in their North London factory. Fashion Enter also runs a training academy teaching people the essential skills needed to work in fas…
 
When you go to visit any manufacturer for the first time it’s your opportunity to find out exactly how they operate. The more factories you visit the more you come to learn what makes a good fit for you and your business. But there are several key aspects to a well-run factory that you can look out for that should help to inform your decision as to…
 
Data and digital are drastically changing how we all shop and the way that products are made. In this conversation recorded at Make it British Live! Online, a panel of digital experts from within the fashion industry discuss the importance of data for businesses both large and small, and how it can initiate much more personalised conversations with…
 
A range plan is an essential tool for any product business. Without it you are setting yourself up for failure. Yet many of the small businesses that I speak to that are developing products say they don’t have a range plan. Or they don’t even know what it is! So in this episode, I explain what a range plan is and why it’s a valuable tool for our bu…
 
John Elliott MBE founded Ebac nearly 50 years ago. The company has also sold 1.5 million dehumidifiers over the years and is the only manufacturer of washing machines in the UK. John is very passionate about UK manufacturing and his thoughts on the UK Government, the supermarkets and Which? make for entertaining listening. Discover: How John left s…
 
If you want to launch a clothing label should you get your first samples made by a seamstress or should you go straight to working with a factory? In this episode, I cover the pros and cons of both so that you can make the decision for yourself as to which you think is best for your business. Discover: How a seamstress can translate your ideas into…
 
How Rachel Bowditch discovered a gap in the market and turned it into a thriving business with loyal fans. Alice Bow became an overnight sensation when it was reported that the Duchess of Cambridge was a big fan. Rachel discusses how she rapidly grew her business overnight by bringing her manufacturing in house. She also has some great tips about h…
 
Does the phrase critical path fill you with dread? Or make you jump for joy? When it comes to manufacturing a product a critical path is...critical! In this episode, I cover exactly what a critical path is and when and why you need one. You’ll also find out how to create one, and most importantly, keep it updated. Discover: What is a critical path?…
 
How can you find deadstock materials for your brand? In this episode, Dessy from Fashion Insiders & Co and I discuss some of the challenges of starting a fashion brand, including one of the biggest challenges of all, which is how to find raw materials in small quantities. Dessy has recently launched a platform call My Factori which hosts online pop…
 
If you're struggling to find a UK manufacturer there's usually one of five reasons why you can't find one. In this episode, I explain what those five situations are. And give you suggestions for how to have more success in finding your ideal manufacturing partner. Discover: Why more people are looking for UK manufacturers now 00:45 Questions I ask …
 
Lee Akpareva is a fashion designer, tailor and technology consultant. He's also creative director of Never Fade, a fashion store and creative space on Old Compton Street in London. We chat about collaborations within the fashion industry, helping new designers get a head start, and how blockchain and technology are impacting the fashion industry an…
 
Should you use Made in UK or Made in Britain? And what's the difference? A few people have asked why we chose to call the awareness campaign Made in UK Day and not Made in Britain Day. United Kingdon, Great Britain, The British Isles...it can be very confusing trying to get your head around all the different ways you can describe the countries of E…
 
What does it mean to be a UK leather bag business in 2021? Today I’m chatting with Gillian Tusting from English heritage leathergoods brand Tusting. Gillian shares the story of how the family business, founded in 1875, evolved from a small tannery to a thriving part of the UK's leathergoods industry. She describes the craftsmanship that goes into t…
 
If you manufacture a product in the UK, selling your product for too low a price could be detrimental to your brand. And putting your prices up could actually increase your sales! If you prices are too low, especially if you make in the UK, your customers may think there is something wrong. This applies not just for brands, but for UK manufacturers…
 
Welcome to series 3 of the Make it British podcast! On the 10th anniversary of the founding of Make it British I take a look back at some of my milestones over the last decade. How have perceptions of UK manufacturing changed in that time? To celebrate 10 years of Make it British we have launched Made in UK Day on 9 March 2021. Find out more at mad…
 
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