What are the limitations of the British manufacturing industry? How can the country overcome these limitations?
British manufacturing is limited at the moment because there is not enough capacity. Travelling around the UK, visiting different businesses, it has become apparent that the big issue is attracting young people into the manufacturing industry. We need to reach out to the future generation of leaders in manufacturing and train up more young people to work in UK factories.
Manufacturing requires cheap labour. How does Make it British plan to face this challenge?
The challenge is not so much 'cheap labour' but achieving good value for money and many manufacturers in the UK pay well above the minimum wage. We have many fantastic, skilled craftsmen who use the finest materials in Britain. Buying authentic British goods helps to keep these skills alive in the UK. If we do not support those makers in Britain that still have these precious skills, we will lose them forever. Our challenge now is to inspire the next generation to rise to the challenge and make it in UK manufacturing.
What kind of challenges have you faced ever since you set up Make it British?
Putting on an event from scratch was probably the biggest challenge that I faced. I felt so passionately about the Make it British cause that I invested all my life savings in the event. But I had never run an event before. So, when I was let down by a potential business partner at the last minute I had a choice - to either pull the plug on the idea and lose the money, or gather the right team around me to get it off the ground, and quick. I chose the latter and through having many great contacts in the industry it has been a success. And I have not looked back!
What are your future plans for Make it British?
We are now running Make it British forums all over the UK and I would like to take this a step further and take Make it British overseas on a trade mission to inspire even more people to buy British-made brands and grow the UK manufacturing industry.
What are your main objectives behind organising Meet the Manufacturer?
To find more work for UK manufacturers and help to connect buyers with UK manufacturers and put UK manufacturing on the global platform.
What is the emphasis of Make it British on environment friendliness and sustainability?
Buying locally reduces the carbon footprint on products.
What effect, do you think, Brexit will have on textiles and apparel companies of Britain?
Brexit will have a positive impact. We are already seeing a huge amount of interest in British-made goods. We are seeing businesses like cotton spinning coming back to the UK, which is great news.
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