Australian Made and British Made – How the Aussie’s seem to campaign for their country’s manufacturing and farming better than the Brits

A carrier bag advertisiing the Australian Made, Austrain Grown logo, togther with Bruce, an Australian made toy wombat. Photograph by author.

A carrier bag advertising the Australian Made, Australian Grown logo, together with Bruce, an Australian made toy wombat. Photograph by author. October 2015.

Wherever I travel in the world, I make the effort to buy locally made souvenirs and support local people. At the very least I make sure I buy a gift that is actually made in the country I am visiting.

On a recent visit to Australia in October 2015 I was impressed by a shop at Sydney airport selling purely Australian made gifts for travellers. The shop, called Purely Australian carries a wide range of Australian made products – fridge magnets, soft toys, wax jackets and bags, microfibre glasses cleaning cloths, sports clothes such as tracksuit tops, jumpers, wooly hats, Akubra hats, fridge magnets, and much more – all made in Australia. Purely Australian is Australia’s leading retailer of Australian clothing, offering a product range that reflects the fundamentals of nature, including Australian grown cotton and fine pure new wool. The Purely Group, which operates this shop, has operated retail outlets for the past fifteen years, with its primary focus on airport retailing throughout Australia. The Purely Australia Sydney Airport branch is located at Pier B after immigration control at Sydney International Airport and if you are in Sydney is a great place to shop. There are other shops at Sydney Airport selling Australian made products too, although Purely Australian seems to be the only selling just Australian made as opposed to some Australian made and mostly Chinese made souvenirs. At British airports and seaports you’ll be lucky to find anything that is not foreign made, which in some ways is strange given that in Great Britain secondary industry produces far more goods than does Australia.

The products on sale at Purely Australian stores mostly seem to carry the Australian Made logo. The Australian Made, Australian Grown logo is administered by Australian Made Campaign Limited (AMCL), a not-for-profit public company established in 1999 by the Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ACCI) and the network of state and territory chambers of commerce, with the cooperation of the Federal Government. AMCL is not a government body and does not receive government funding for its core operations, which are licensing companies to use the logo and promoting Australian products both in Australia and overseas. Originally the campaign and logo were conceived by the government of Australia. The criteria for using the logo are clear – essentially the product has been manufactured in Australia (not just packaged or assembled); and 50% or more of the cost of making it can be attributed to Australian materials and/or production processes; or else grown/produced in Australia, with all of the product’s significant ingredients grown in Australia and all or nearly all of the processing has been carried out in Australia. What I like about both the campaign and the shop are the simple and clear way it is carried forward. In answer to the question “Why buy Australian Made?”, the response is simple too – “It’s good for consumers, it’s good for business and it’s good for Australia.”

My question is why can’t the Brits operate stores at our airports and seaports providing British made souvenirs, in the same way that Purely Australian stores are committed to providing an all-Australian souvenir experience and why can’t the Brits have a simple and clear buy British campaign like the Australian Made one?

http://www.sydneyairport.com.au/shop/retailer-categories/retailer-listing/retailer-detail.aspx?ret=%7B7D44A704-F7D1-42E5-AE2B-AFDE6614618A%7D&ter=%7B0D3AF84A-9190-4416-8EB0-CE3AB1C849F0%7D&cat=%7B0034A969-E784-44E9-80EA-9F445378B06A%7D

http://lsaspac.com/brand/travel-essentials/purely-australian/

https://australianmade.com.au

Purely Australian

The Purely Australian store at Sydney Airport.

Koala Australia microfibre cleaning cloth. Australian Made. Photograph by author.

Koala Australia microfibre cleaning cloth from Purely Australian in Sydney Airport. Australian Made. Photograph by author.

The 1968 I'm Backing Britain campaign

A carrier bag advertising the 1968 I’m Backing Britain campaign.

A Made in England label

A Made in England label.

There are a few Buy British campaigns currently running, such as those promoting the use of the logos below:

John Lewis's Made in UK logo. 21.09.2012

John Lewis’s ‘Made in UK’ logo as of September 2012. This logo never really came to fruition and seems to have been quietly dropped. John Lewis have though committed to increase sales of UK made products by 15% by the end of 2015/16 from a 2011/12 baseline. Whilst it is great to see a major player in retail committing to a number, JLP still fails to state country of origin on their website and on some of their products, and still sells mostly foreign made goods these days. Waitrose, like other supermarkets, sells much UK made foodstuff and pleasingly have clearly committed to continue to do so.

Red Tractor logo. The top part of the logo indicates quality assurance, whilst the flag part of the logo indicates provenance. Only Red Tracor logos carrying the Union Flag are British made; other flags indicate a food is foreign produced and / or processed.

Red Tractor logo. The top part of the logo indicates food quality assurance, whilst the flag part of the logo indicates provenance. Only Red Tractor logos carrying the Union Flag are British made; other flags indicate a food is foreign produced and / or processed.

UK food self-sufficiiecy is now just 62%, down from 75% in 1991, according to the NFU

UK food self-sufficiiecy is now just 62%, down from 75% in 1991, according to the NFU.

Grown in Britain logo. Grown in Britain promotes active management to create a more sustainable future for British woodlands.

Grown in Britain logo. Grown in Britain promotes active management to create a more sustainable future for British woodlands.

Great British Furniture (GBF) logo. IT IS Great British Furniture is an initiative to promote British made furniture run by the British Furniture Manufacturers (BFM) furniture trade association. It aims to promote UK made upholstery, cabinets, bathroom furniture, kitchen furniture, office furniture, mattresses and beds. This logo was taken from the Hypnos website.

Great British Furniture (GBF) logo. IT IS Great British Furniture is an initiative to promote British made furniture run by the British Furniture Manufacturers (BFM) furniture trade association. It aims to promote UK made upholstery, cabinets, bathroom furniture, kitchen furniture, office furniture, mattresses and beds. This logo was taken from the Hypnos website.

There are physical shops in the UK, like Things British, that only sell gifts and souvenirs that are made in the UK but non at Britain’s ports and airports that I am aware of. There are some local shops only selling British, like Buford WoodcraftJail Dornoch at Inverness Airport is one of the few gift shops at a British airport that does sell quite a few British made items but still alongside much that is foreign made. There are gift shops who sell a good range of British made gifts (alongside Chinese made tat), such as some of the museum gift shops – The London Transport Museum shop, and the National Trust shops.

On the web there are sites selling only British made such as Things British (selling only British made gifts, and supporting British designer-makers), Made in These Isles (selling British made clothes, accessories, homeware, beauty products, furniture, lifestyle products, etc; all products are “produced from within the geographical region of the British Isles”), The Great British Exchange (trade only; they source new British made products and sell them to retailers), The Great British Home (selling gifts, and homeware made in the UK), From Britain with Love (Scandinavian inspired homeware, accessories and gifts made in Britain) and DreamGB (selling British made gifts and everyday products), Pickle (“All of our products are made in the UK” they tell us – throws, picnic rugs, kitchen ware, vases, children’s shoes, toys, cards, jewellery, Christmas decorations and so on), Make The Most Of (an online networking community and seller of British goods and services direct from the providers; although the site promotes British business I do not think everything they sell is British made) and others selling gifts and more like Made Closer, Handmade GB and Not on the High Street that clearly label country of origin and sell some British made gifts.  There are gift manufacturing companies too like Custom Works (trade only; they manufacture more than 50 product lines here in their factory in Bo’ness, Scotland, with everything else they sell being imported). Victoria Eggs homeware, gifts and cards are mostly made in Britain – aprons, oven mitts, tea towels, mugs which disappointingly are foreign made but are printed in the UK, cushions, screen prints, coasters, tote bags, greetings cards and gift wrap.

There are many more companies making gift items in the UK too of course. There are websites encouraging us to buy British such as Buy British, British Family, British Made for Quality, Made in Britain, Back British Farming by the NFU, and of course my site ukmade, but non supported by the British government.

The Great British Exchange (trade only; they source new British made products and sell them to retailers) product qualifying criteria. I don’t know much about this site, but seemingly only British made goods are sold by them and they consider where raw materials and packaging come from.

The Great British Exchange (trade only; they source new British made products and sell them to retailers) product qualifying criteria. I don’t know much about this site, but seemingly only British made goods are sold by them and they consider where raw materials and packaging come from. A useful matrix for all of us.

If you travel to say Japan, Australia, New Zealand, the USA, France, or Thailand, you can easily find plenty of products that are made domestically. In this article by the British Family, James explains that they had a similar experience recently in Italy and were impressed by the number of domestically produced items easily available. As James challenges us to do in this article about Italy, look around the any British high street and see if you can find anything made in Britain!

Manufacturing in the UK allows companies to control supply, guarantee quality, offer flexibility and to be ethical and environmentally sound. I  encourage you to buy products that are made in the British Isles (excluding the Republic of Ireland) and British Overseas Territories and if buying non-British made items I would encourage you to look at goods manufactured within the Commonwealth first. When buying a jumper, a piece of furniture or a bag of apples, do you check to see where it has come from? Why not make a conscious preference to buy British made? You may have to look that bit harder as lots of goods on the High Street are foreign made these days, but Britain still makes most things. I’m backing Britain. Are you?

#BritishMade

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3 thoughts on “Australian Made and British Made – How the Aussie’s seem to campaign for their country’s manufacturing and farming better than the Brits

  1. robert miller (@Miller2469Rob)

    Regrets, it’s no longer “Cool” to be seen as “Backing Britain”. Damage to the Nation’s ego at loosing an Empire post WW2, not to mention loosing a global role played it’s part. Years of industrial sabotage at the hands of Unions & the shoddy quality of our manufactured goods in the latter 1/2 of the 20th century caused permanent damage to our industrial infrastructure & injured our belief in ourselves as a people who could build decent kit. “The sick man of Europe…” & prior to the Falklands, we had a humiliating reputation for capitulating when faced with foreign threats… In EVERY context! The only people left waving the Flag were “Little Englanders” &”RACISTS” & that’s so not PC! Not to mention our APPALLING record at sport. I said DON’T MENTION IT!
    I believe that this collection of blows to National Identity is unique to the British. The Australians et al have managed to maintain a positive National Identity, they’re proud of their country, their flag & their collective achievements. It’s little wonder that the Aussies et al are more forward at promoting their produce internationally (& domestically) when it’s “Cool” to be seen waving the flag & “cool” to be a patriot.
    Sadly, I believe that it will be decades before the UK develops a new sense of National Identity & purpose, one in which we can all be proud & only when this is achieved will the masses take pride in saying “I buy British”. When I say those words, people think me a fool.
    I believe our best chance of promoting British industry in the near future is through the use of “Buzzwords”:
    “Ethically produced” & “Supporting the local community”: Speaks for itself.
    “Heritage Industry”: had mines that were closed as unprofitable in the 80-90’s been kept open on “Tickover”, teaching skills to a new generation whilst producing a small amount of Coal at the Taxpayer’s expense; these mines could now be re opened & manned. “Heritage” concerns will avoid anti competition regulation as their purpose isn’t profitability but the maintenance of skills.
    “Quality made”, a lesson our remaining manufacturers have finally learned.
    “Strategic Infrastructure”: Certain industries eg British Steel, have a STRATEGIC to the maintenance of our independence. When the last factory closes, these skills will be lost to us forever & we’ll be forever dependent upon foreign supply & the whims of their governments. In 1914 & 1939 industry was re tooled for war production In 2003 British troops went into Iraq with empty rifles because our foreign “allies” disapproved of our foreign policy & we are incapable of producing our own ammunition in quantity in emergencies.
    Unfortunately, no one seems to see the threat posed to our independence that the lack of industrial infrastructure will bring. I believe that if campaigning political parties stopped shouting “Jobs not dole” & spoke seriously of strategic infrastructure, industry would be in with a better chance.
    Ahh..but I know I’m preaching to the choir but I DO enjoy a good rant!

    Reply
    1. ukmade Post author

      Thank you for your comment. It was a good read. You’re right in that you are preaching to the converted but I was very interested in your emphasis on buzz words and maintaining our industrial and hence political independence. Many people do seem to prefer to buy say German made, which is interesting in a thought-provoking way. Thanks.

      Reply
      1. robert miller (@Miller2469Rob)

        Hmm…yes. Did I read that you were looking for a UK made Iron? The last UK made Iron I saw (& purchased) was a Morphy Richards, purchased from the Bielefeld NAFFI in 1983. It cost a little more & was obviously inferior to the German items but “Made in Gt. Britain”? ‘Nuff said! My mates mocked my choice of Iron & rightly so…I eventually had THREE replacement Irons under warranty before the NAFFI stopped stocking that item. Because I insisted on the same Iron, they gave me the best Iron in the store…just to shut me up! Yes, it was “Made in Germany” & I STILL have that Iron…
        German products ARE synonymous with quality & rightly so. However, the British manufacturers that HAVE survived have done so because they make GOOD kit…a bit more expensive, true but QUALITY! I don’t mind spending more on “UK Made” when I know it makes sense…
        Last Month I visited a HOTTER store after reading of them on your website, I bought a pair of HOTTER Leather Slippers & at £55.00 the experience made me sweat but the quality can’t be denied. I usually spend approx £10 on Slippers & they need replacing every year or two.The HOTTER Slippers look as if they’ll last me into my dotage. By choosing “UK Made” I have bought a “Quality” product that’s the “Environmental choice”, “Ethically Sourced” & “Value for Money”. Good “Buzzwords”. Now it’s up to HOTTER to offer shout about their quality product & offer a 10 year guarantee.
        I visited the HOTTER store on Black Friday, 20% off & the store was empty. Who has ever heard of HOTTER?

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