New British Knitwear manufacturer = found!
Since my last post I have been busy scheming and planning the way forward for me and my little knit business, putting plans in place to make the day to day running more smooth, and planning for future growth and expansion.
The first and most urgent priority was finding a new knitwear manufacturer, to reproduce my designs. At present the very-micro-‘manufacturer’ – a.k.a the wonderful knitwear department at Shetland College of Art, who I currently work with, are only set up as a small social enterprise, using the digital knitting machines at the college. However, as the popularity and demand for my products is growing (a good problem as my partner says!) I have consequently struggled to produce bigger orders than 20-30 pieces with them, due to – understandably – a lack of infrastructure to support and complete all the finishing required to complete larger orders.
What with that, and the extra cost/time of shipping yarn to Shetland, I decided it was time to try and source a new UK based manufacturer, as sustainability, and supporting UK manufacturing is still one of the key values of my business, so really wanted to make this happen if at all possible. So my search began. I searched the internet high and low, sent off a tonne of emails to potential candidates, and then… either I didn’t hear back, or was told unfortunately they couldn’t work with a small business such as mine, as I wouldn’t be able to make their minimum order requirements.
I was beginning to lose hope, when one of the manufacturers I had emailed helpfully replied ‘we can’t help you, but my husband works for Skinwear Ltd, and they might be just what you are looking for…’
I swiftly contacted them, with all fingers and toes crossed, and lo they do appear to be just the knitwear manufacturer I’ve been looking for. They have forty super snazzy Shima’s ‘in work’, the majority of which are ‘Wholegarment‘ Shima’s, that almost magically knit garments and accessories in one whole piece without the need for any seaming, or finishing, AND, most importantly they can work to small enough minimum orders for my little business to manage.
I paid them a visit just before Easter, and it felt nothing short of miraculous to witness a little piece of Shima heaven in action in an inconspicuous manufacturing unit just near Leicester. So I’m now working with the wonderful Skinwear Ltd in Leicester, UK. I couldn’t be more happy about producing my accessories with such a fantastic specialist UK based knitwear producer, who I know I can trust produce my accessories to the high standard I require, and provide employment for over forty skilled local people.
Photo’s from my fabulous factory visit below xx