The state of the UK textiles industry is hugely important to us here at Bespoke Textiles. Our vast-volume orders are manufactured in Asia but for small, bespoke orders, we use UK based factories. Make It British's recent survey found textile production in the UK was up 20% and 50% of businesses reported an increase in turnover compared to last year. Many argue the need for these skills in Britain is redundant because of low costs associated with manufacturing in the likes of China, India and Bangladesh; however, these survey figures dispute this.
Make It British names the exchange rate accounting partly for the increase in production and turnover. One manufacturer reported: “as the pound loses its value our turnover has increased by 30%”. The opportunity for growth remains, with a third of textiles manufacturers not yet exporting goods. In addition, more than half said that they are receiving more enquiries than they were a year ago, as more companies look to source locally and restore their production back to the UK.
Find more information here.
This week our founder Katie Young Gerald, an expert in sustainable uniform/textile design, is in Hong Kong for Hong Kong Fashion Week. On Monday, she spoke about her experience of working in the fashion and textiles industry specifically with luxury brands. Katie is no stranger to Hong Kong having lived there for two years from 1997 to 1999. During this time Katie was able to expand her knowledge and connections in the Far East for sourcing, product development, manufacturing & consultancy for British brands, which she then continued to do in London from 2000 until today. Her services filled a gap for smaller British brands who needed to build a bespoke product range and establish a sustainable supply chain with ethical practices.
See below a video of Katie taking part in a Q&A at Hong Kong Fashion Week:
Katie will be available on a consultancy basis to support and assist any luxury brands with sourcing materials, finding suppliers and implementing production in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Shenzhen until 21 January 2018. She has extensive experience in creating ethical sourcing and supply chains in the Far East and in the UK for luxury British fashion brands such as English Eccentrics, Brit Lintner and La Petite Salope and hospitality brands including the IVY collection, Soho House group and Middle Temple. Get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to work with Katie.
Bespoke Textiles launched seven years ago to design and supply the world of hospitality textiles. Offering everything from uniforms, aprons and napkins to blankets in an ethical way, our ethos is based on a sustainable supply chain that saves waste and reduces consumption; using recycled resources, garments and vintage inspired sourcing wherever possible. We work with fabric manufacturers, factories and mills, both locally and internationally, who also operate in a sustainable manner.
Our dedication to sustainability comes from our Founder, Katie Young Gerald. She has always been passionate about vintage fashion and upcycling what may seem like tired, old garments. So naturally, Bespoke Textiles inherited Katie’s values on sustainability and ethical practice, and this has become embedded in the business. Throughout our uniform and textile design, we have ensured that our dedication to ethical and sustainable practices remain firm.
Most recently, we have been shortlisted for The Lloyds Bank National Business Awards 2017, for the Sustainability Award category. We believe our longstanding dedication to bringing sustainability to such a large sector like Hospitality has aided this.
We were also commissioned by Dyberg Larsen to create a raincoat made out of recycled resources. With the use of plastic water bottles and the help of textile designer, Emma Jeff, we designed an environmentally friendly raincoat, created from recycled plastic bottles which are made into pellets and then re-put into fibre to create a polyester woven fabric.
Did you know?
• There are an estimated 170 million child labourers working in the textile, clothing and fabric manufacturers industry.
• In Cambodia, average pay is 50 cents per day - regardless of age.
• £100m worth of used clothing goes into a landfill in the UK each year.
• Treating and dyeing textiles accounts for 20% of industrial water pollution.
• Two billion pairs of jeans are produced each year, with every pair taking an average of 7,000 litres to produce.
• Carbon, waste and water footprints would be reduced by 20-30% if you extend the life of your clothing by just nine months.
These reasons, plus many more, are why we’re proud to be a sustainable and ethical brand!
As you may know, we have recently had the privilege and honour of being nominated as finalists for the National Business Award for Sustainability for reducing textile waste. We wanted to talk about some of our methods because we feel strongly about embedding sustainability in our company culture, and impacting attitudes in the wider business community.
So, why Bespoke Textiles?
After 8 years in the industry we have identified the problems our clients face, which not only waste time and money, but also textiles and other precious resources.
Sourcing uniform can be a huge headache. Errors, limited options and short term solution lead to MORE WASTE! Often when managers buy uniforms, they try to buy cheap, which means they end up buying twice! Mistakes like this not only cost a lot of money, but lead to unnecessary textile waste. We are all about the tailored supply chain that saves waste, Bespoke Textiles products are made to last, so won’t need to be replaced.
Increase staff morale, performance and retention by investing in a carefully considered uniform that your staff really love and enables them to feel considered and their needs understood.
We tend to match materials to the nearest factory location for manufacturing, with a core network of family businesses over the world, and we’re proud to say that over 50% are in the UK.
Lack of consistency and choice
Most businesses cannot find what they want in the shops or off the shelf. Staff (and their bodies!) come in all shapes and sizes, and finding a uniform that fits and flatters them all can be difficult! Not only that, but standard uniform suppliers can sometimes supply dull and dated product, and fashion retailers change their styles every 6 months, so you can't often buy the same thing again. This means that uniforms need a complete overhaul much sooner than necessary.
Staff turnover is higher in hospitality than almost any other industry. Statistics estimate between 50% - 300% leave annually and often so does the uniform! This can add huge headaches for managers because it costs thousands in loss of time, money, textiles and loyalty.
What is the Sustainability Award?
All the nominees for this award demonstrate an outstanding commitment to sustainability. Focusing on policies or projects that positively impact on society and the environment as well as the economy, judges are also looking for examples of where the organisation has not only changed behaviour internally but is also helping to change behaviour among customers and suppliers. This represents values of how we create and make textiles products as well as how we treat others.
More info here
We've made the headlines! Bespoke Textiles has been nominated for the National Business Award for Sustainability. Grab yourself a copy of today’s Times to read all about it, thank you for your support and recognition!
Wondering how to get the most out of your branding and uniforms and therefore, ultimately, your staff? Over the years we've created a formula for our clients to dig deep and bring to life their brand through textiles. Read on to find out how to use the B.E.S.P.O.K.E. Model to communicate your brand with clarity!
E. Endless supply
To begin, we sit down with a client to gather inspirational elements, using all kinds of pictures and garments references. Then, we narrow the vision down into one story, one message, one brand. You soon find and unique idea starts to reveal itself. Combining a base garment with these ideas and touches provides the perfect springboard for a fresh new uniform, or other textile based product.
With food, people are becoming increasingly fascinated and educated on where it comes from and how it was produced. Where is the farm? Is it organic? If you are a restaurant that subscribes to this ethos, it’s only congruent to extend that to the rest of your business. Knowing where, how and by whom your uniforms are made is an important factor to extending these ethical values to other aspects of your business.
Whether it's colour or fit, a few little tweaks can make all the difference to what you want the garments to portray for you. After we have established the tone of your brand, we can work with the key features to translate your message and enhance your brand.
People are the heart of every carefully chosen organisation that we work with, ensuring great quality relationships. Visiting clients and factories to find out what they do and how, is vital in connecting and collaborating. The businesses we work with behave like one big tribe, a team. Uniforms are vital in this, to create a sense of belonging and unity.
We have a six step programme that ensures you whole experience is organised and structured: Discover, Source, Design, Develop, Production and Deliver. The process easily covers brand style, sources for your sustainable supply, prototype samples, quality control, paperwork prepared with the packing list to you and your shipper/courier if overseas, and more.
What you give is what you get, and being kind doesn't cost a penny. Building close relations with clients and factories, by treating them like precious jewels, creates a bond in which we all receive a seamless support system. This is something we have created and upheld with our factories. You can’t buy loyalty and authenticity in relationships, it has to be built.
Sustainable, seamless and repeatable supply chain is key to manufacturing and making your products again and again. It needs to be a long term system to get the best value return for your invested time and money, you need to make sure it’s future proof. We make sure we give you the structures needed to scale up or repeat what you need easily, when you need it, and that the costs are as calculated from the beginning.
All excerpts taken from Katie Young-Gerald’s upcoming book “The Textile Touch”. Available for order soon.
With over 25 years in the fashion and hospitality industry, Katie has so much knowledge to offer. She was recently invited to speak at a UK Housekeepers Association (UKHA) event. Here she tells her journey, in her own words.
Jackie Hay- the go-getter businesswoman is the silent jewel in retail.
Devoted mother of twins and business savvy achiever; Jackie was the executive
director, apparel and accessories at House of Fraser. Now the vice president of buying
and planning - Retail Europe for Michael Kors, we spent sometime with her
exchanging knowledge and stories of her working life.
Jacqueline has been in strategic business planning and buying sector across a range
of product categories for over 20years and comes to us with a wealth of knowledge,
expertise and strong relationships in this space. Cedric Wilmotte, President of the
Michael Kors’ EMEA business.
A working environment that is enjoyable, fair and organised is what most want-
right? Jackie values the importance of having a comfortable workspace. Her key
message for all members of her team is to realise the importance of each role-
she says there shouldn't be hierarchy at work.
“Being able to read people you need to see and can kind of work them out, how or what
they are going to play in their cards.”
Negotiation is the difficult talent that has separated her from her competitors. Instead
of hard negotiations, her style is relaxed based. A touch of calmness is more
effective, if they see you as hard then the wall comes down but if they feel like they are
having a conversation or discussion about the future then they are more likely to give a
Jackie Hay serves with the intention of getting the job done- regardless of the size.
It’s not based on can the job get done, rather WHO will get the job done WELL. Her
push to create a fair environment at work and her achievements so far is inspiring,
and why we admire her as a leader in her field.
DO you remember when we told you about our magnificent day at the UK House Keepers Association Event? Our brand director Katie Young-Gerald gave a speech sharing her 25 years of knowledge and experience in textiles!
Watch the video to experience the inspiration we felt while connecting with hospitalities heroes and gems!
Rob’s views and knowledge is a reliable and searched after, with over 20 years in hospitality! Amazingly he’s been with- Covent Garden’s club of cool- The Hospital Club for 8 years.
We’ve understood representation playing a huge role in brand identity. Where uniform designs are concerned; style, form and function are the key factors to creating the perfect uniform piece. As mentioned by Rob, hospitality is a rare industry to remain stagnant, which is why he chooses to shift tradition and create his personal blueprint in the industry.
Moving deeper than just providing a service, hospitality is and sells a lifestyle. For your audience to gain a stronger understanding of what the brand is, your brand DNA need to have through research ; and never to be rushed! When this is in place,
It was a pleasure grabbing awesome information from such an icon in hospitality, Rob Seals!