In the Victorian era, Britain was responsible for 40% of the global supply of steel. It may soon produce nearly none at all. Should Tata sell off its sites in Scunthorpe or Port Talbot, following the closure of their Redcar plant last year, Britain would become the only member of the G7 no longer making steel. British steelmaking […]
The manufacture of some British medals is to be off-shored to France according to reports this morning. This will be the first time that any top British honour has been manufactured abroad and the news has apparently provoked anger. It is understood that the CBE medal, the Distinguished Service Order, The Order of the Bath, the […]
From “A Truly British Family” – 2/3/16 – click the link and have your say. 95% of respondents so far think this is wrong!
Ever since James Bond was sent on his first big screen mission in 1962’s Dr No, the most successful franchise in movie history has been a shop window for British manufacturing. Is Spectre, the latest incarnation of Ian Flemings infamous MI5 agent, going to continue to promote brand Britannia? Bond famously has a weakness for British cars. Along side his famous Aston Martin […]
Another great article from A Truly British Family – Consumer champions of manufacturing & farming. Sharing to widen the audience and promote GB. Thanks British Family. Looking forward to seeing the new Bond film hopefully next week.
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?
There are a few Buy British campaigns currently running, such as those promoting the use of the logos below:
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 Woodcraft. Jail 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.
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?
A well written article by British Family which I want to share with you. The problem as I see it is when production is often moved abroad after a foreign takeover. For example, HP Sauce (now owned by Heinz) is now made in the Netherlands, and American owned Cadbury have moved much of their production to Poland.
It is already the case that many British brands are foreign-owned, but the picture is complicated and sometimes foreign investment keeps British jobs in Britain. It’s a two-way street too. The UK has its share of global companies and makes a tidy return from overseas investments.
Countries like India, Japan and the USA all have processes that allow them to block foreign ownership yet we in Britain don’t have anything to protect our strategic companies of national importance from takeover and future asset stripping.
There’s a tendency amongst many firms to claim British heritage in such a way that it misleadingly implies manufacture in the UK and an assumption by consumers in the UK and abroad that for example all Cadbury chocolate is made in British (because it is still thought of as a British brand).
To be a bit more optimistic, Britain still makes most things, and we do it well.
Another great article from my fellow British bloggers British Family, which I have reproduced below, about brown sauce, that quintessentially British condiment and specifically British made brown sauce. Remembering that HP and Daddies sauces are foreign made these days, there are lots of great alternative British made brown sauces to choose from.
Not Brown and Out… a saucy review