Made in the UK - A Mother's Musings
Released On 3rd Mar 2021
A reflection on the last 12 months
Good grief, there's so many dates coming up that as a small family company manufacturing in the UK mean a great deal to me. Not least 'Made in UK Day' - but they're all intertwined:
- March 8th – International Women’s Day
- March 9th – Made in UK Day (#madeinukday)
- March 14th – Mother’s Day
- March 24th – 12 months anniversary of OB’s lockdown/Covid experience starting
So, what comes first? Being a woman, a Mum or a businessperson?
That’s easy, being a Mum of course. It's my biggest blessing.
But frankly when you've been in business as long as I have, your business is like another child. And in all honestly, a far more needy and cantankerous child than either Chas or Mack have ever been! But of course I love it none the less.
My 2 kids have always had to give up a lot for that cuckoo sibling. Manufacturing in the UK is not easy, there are many costly challenges, but I don’t need to moan about time, stress and monetary pressures here, you want to know about the good stuff. And of course creating beautiful artisan leather and sheepskin products does bring a lot of satisfaction as well.
The next generation
As a Mother and Daughter duo running the business, both Chas and I know that being 4th & 5th generation “Barry’s” is just a custodian job, and our skills as British manufacturers will be passed down to future generations.
Will that be in the shape of a bundle called Reuben? Who knows!
In September 2020, Chas and her partner Jack (our Finance Director) gave birth a beautiful baby boy, Reuben or 'Roo' for short. So this Mother’s Day will be an even more enjoyable experience for our family.
Covid and helping the NHS in lockdown
We're very lucky. We've not been separated throughout COVID like so many others...
Once upon a time (not too long ago) being “factory workers” was not very glamorous, but recently our “mundane” role has become far more important, and has given us the opportunity to carry on working as both a family and as a team.
Pretty early in the 1st lockdown, OB were able to re-open and carry on producing when our factory was converted to manufacturing for the NHS. Whilst not all our team could be accommodated because of social distancing and the skills needed, over 50% of us were able to carry on cutting and sewing as key workers.
As the urgency for NHS supplies diminished, OB “pivoted again” (as the business experts say). This time our British sheepskin seat pads, bean bags and home comforts became needed by the folks working from and confined to their homes, so our small team was again able to carry on, albeit with flexi furlough support, but still manufacturing.
12 months on
With 'Made in the UK Day' just around the corner OB are still being relied upon.
COVID and Brexit have put a different focus on things locally made (with no huge taxes or duties) and eco, ethically & environmentally friendly products and materials. PLUS 'Made to Last' has become among these important things in many peoples lives, things that OB have been doing for over five generations.
So as March trucks on and the dates I mention above come and go, Chas and I would like to say thank you. We are very blessed as mothers (and surprise, surprise women) to be able to bring up and support our families by manufacturing 100% in Great Britain.
Follow the hashtag #madeinukday and celebrate Made in UK Day with us over on Facebook.
Category: Cindi's Journal