Why Make British and What It Means To Us

Saturday 1st October is 'Buy British Day' and this set me thinking. It is easy to be inspired when you look at all the creativity going on in the UK at the moment but inspiration is only part of the story. There are lots of businesses who have inspired what we do at Turtle Doves since we started in 2009 and, starting at the beginning, it was a British business that planted the seed...
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Purpose & People
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When I was in my early 20s, like Ellie in the picture above, I was lucky enough to work for a fantastic business called 'Scrap Scrap' started by Jakki Moase with the help of the Princes Youth Trust. Jakki started the business not because she wanted to build an empire but because she wanted to re-use the waste fabrics she came across in a practical way. I joined the team as an office girl and learnt to sew in the evenings. It was a wonderful, environment and, although I didn't know it then, it set the bench mark for Turtle Doves.
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There are other businesses, which are examples of fabulous purposeful British manufacturing, which I'd love to share with you. The first is Elvis and Kresse who use decommissioned London fire hoses to make a gorgeous selection of  bags and accessories in the UK.
I came across them several years ago and was amazed by the beautiful products, the innovation and the donation aspect of their business (I have even treated myself to one of their belts and, like us, all their packaging is recycled too). We are still working away to become a truly zero waste company and have put a lot of effort into innovation over the last year...I think we'll get there eventually and it's businesses like Elvis and Kresse that make me refuse to give up.
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The second business I'd like to share with you is Huit Denim whose amazing purpose is to re-create 400 jobs in the Welsh town of Cardigan by re-invigorating the British-made denim market after many years of downturn...now there's a challenge.
I love to read their interesting and often maverick blogs and social media posts and know that although they make jeans, their real passion is for the community they are doing it with and the people they are making them for.
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It would be easy to be intimidated rather than inspired by businesses like these but they are people, just like us, who have a real passion for what they do. Both examples I have talked about are outward looking and keen to share the knowledge they have amassed in business which helps small business like us to make good decisions.
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Another group of people who have been a great help since we started are Make it British, started by Kate Hills 5 years ago. It is an invaluable resourse for those who want to buy and to manufacture in the UK and comes highly recommended.
It would be remiss of me not to mention the huge number of independent retailers who support us too. Each of the shops who stock our products is unique and run with passion. Many people support local businesses starting on their doorsteps and we say hooray to that, it builds community and keeps towns and villages alive.
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I'd love to hear from you if you have examples of inspiring businesses who are creating something with purpose in the UK. Social media means that ideas, support and inspiration can be shared and who knows what effect that might have.
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Please do have a browse of our website if you're new to us and don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions.
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Please comment below and have a wonderful weekend!
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Best wishes, Kate & the Team
Kate Holbrook

Comments

Kate Holbrook

What a pleasure to hear about socially responsible – in the broadest sense – companies. And the diversity of products and their origins is astonishing.
The other outstanding point is the relationship between these organisations, each one championing others’ efforts. It makes such a refreshing change.

Kate Holbrook

I really think this is the way forward as more and more businesses, and their customers, see the light. Even bigger companies can play their part – I worked for Monsoon 10 years ago and their corporate social responsibility was outstanding. I’m so proud to support you and show my friends your products – after that, the job is done as Turtle Doves needs no selling!

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