Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Made in Yorkshire


Manufacturing in Hull for the last 27 years !

Here in The Old Chapel, Salisbury Street in the Avenues area of Kingston Upon Hull, we have been manufacturing blankets since 1987!

It all started when I set up a very small business in my bedroom at home whilst I was still living with my parents. I started a business manufacturing horse clothing –  blankets, saddlecloths, travelling boots, sweatshirts and jockey silks. Designer clothing for both horse and rider. Looking back we were probably  ahead of our time as tweed was still the most popular look, we introduced pink, purple, lime green, lilac and orange!! It took a little while to catch on but eventually it did and we never looked back. We travelled around the Country to saddlery shops Nationwide selling the latest designs and colour schemes and also enjoyed exhibiting at Burghley and Badminton Events.

Manufacturing was quite easy, we had a trained workforce in Hull (thanks to M&S) and nationally we had plenty of fabric and machinery suppliers.

As China became a much stronger exporter of manufactured goods in the 1990’s we noticed the gradual demise of fabric manufacturers in the UK.  M&S had a few big factories in the UK manufacturing fabric and clothing for them but as the Chinese grew larger, stronger and more competitive factories like these closed and all manufacturing went to China , Turkey or Morocco.

Gradually fabric, haberdashery, machinery, mechanics, trained machinists all became less available, fabric was being made in China, all spare machinery was being sold to Poland, Turkey or Morocco and many machinists had re trained to do new jobs.

During 2000 onwards it seemed to be harder to find suppliers of quality fabrics so we decided to import products we could not source here, we visited China (that was an experience!!). We placed a few orders with the China factories but we soon gave up when every consignment arrived with varying quality!!

2001 saw the arrival of our son and soon after we set up Mr Mole Blankets. We were so busy running two businesses we decided to sell the business making horse clothing and to make life easier we now just run Mr Mole Blankets.

More recently we have seen a lot of the manufacturing which went abroad is slowly coming back. Companies are realising that we have a fantastic manufacturing base here in the UK offering great quality. Companies selling machinery, services to that sector and slowly a few fabric manufacturers are creeping back into the Midlands.

One of our suppliers in the Midlands during the 80’s had 6 industrial units, they supplied Nike, Adidas, Umbro and many more, in the 90’s they were down to 3 units in 2003 they had just 1 unit as most of their orders had been taken abroad but I am happy to say in 2013 they were back to 3 units as orders were starting to come back from abroad, they had dusted off their machines and they were working again with a little help from Mary Portas.

Lets hope British Manufacturing continues to grow, building on our reputation for service and quality, it’s coming back, we just need more!!! Please support us.