Buy Better Buy Local

Passionate about making product in the UK, I have become more aware of the range of talented makers who manufacture in the British Isles and Ireland. Many sell directly to the public, but would benefit from more exposure in bringing their product to market through wider distribution.

What disappoints me as I travel around the UK, is the lack of local-made product in key tourist locations. Instead we find a melee of cheap tat that reflects the country, but brought in from the Far East. Whilst price points are important, there are many skilled craftspeople who make a range of affordable authentic goods with a story to tell. We need to see more of these on sale in public places. Collaborations are key here, as small voices can be lost in a competitive world.

I start to imagine Utopia, a time when we can all experience more spaces which encompass the best of what we can make on these islands. Last November we stayed on Skye, in a hotel where, much of the product was locally sourced. From the interior fabrics woven by Skye Weavers on pedal looms in the west of the island to the taste of Skye beers and Gin, we felt engaged in having the full Skye experience, which I can totally recommend, especially out of season.
Many premium consumers seek out these genuine experiences, but often they are hard to find. This is why my Utopia would be to travel the country and find totally authentic local product in many public locations.

John Lewis have the right concept, when they opened their Leeds store last October offering over 200 products made from within a 30mile radius. Direct feedback indicates that the concept was well received and is currently under consideration for other stores.

Retailers I ask that you review your product offering and consider the benefit of bringing in the best of local talent. Curated quality product made locally and telling a great story is what so many people seek.

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