Like it or not, UK people collectively voted to leave the European Union, and that means there are going to be some considerable changes on the horizon for manufacturing companies that used to produce their products abroad.
For the first time in living memory, “Made in England” brands are likely to excel while many other businesses will struggle to make ends meet due to rising production costs as they seek to move their operations back home. While Theresa May is busy hammering out all the details with her European counterparts, this article will take a look at British manufacturing and how homegrown brands are going to succeed during the next few years.
I'm the founder of British brand Shoes by Shaherazad and voted to remain in the EU. My brand is based on the strength of togetherness and so the result of the Brexit vote shocked me, and it must be said, broke my heart. It took me a long time to accept that Britain is intending to leave the EU. But leave it is, whether I like it or not. Although I will never be in agreement that this is a good thing, I firmly believe that now that the decision has been made, British people need to positively work our way through this together to protect our futures. What does Brexit mean for manufacturers?
At the moment, most manufacturers who produce their goods in Europe have no idea how Brexit will affect their businesses. Companies are already treading carefully as they know there is a reasonable chance they might have to restructure their firms when the full effects of Brexit take hold.
For manufacturers, the rate of protection from tariff and non-tariff barriers is estimated to be 20%. As we leave Europe, prices of manufactures in the UK domestic market will likely fall by that same 20% initially. While that sounds like a bad thing; it’s actually quite good according to some economic experts. The fall in the market will mean consumers get their goods at better prices, and it should also increase their competitive edge.
What is the definition of a Made in England brand?
When using the term “Made in England” in this article, the content refers to businesses that take pride in producing their goods entirely within English boundaries. They don’t employ workers in sweatshops overseas, and their offices are located in Britain. A Made in England brand would never outsource their production to other countries to save money, although they may do so to diversify in areas where Britain does not have the manufacturing capability or product development expertise. British Brands can also include "Made in Scotland" or Wales or Northern Ireland.
It's also important to distinguish between British Brands with a nationalist sentiment, and those with an empowering global sentiment. Shoes by Shaherazad is the latter. My brand products are manufactured in the UK because I want to support the country in which I live. However, I also want to support people everywhere and that is achieved by offering my products to women in all countries as well as the profits from my shoes being used to empower women worldwide, regardless of which country they live in. British products often exude quality, and so do many German products, French products and Pakistani products to name a few.
British production means I can monitor the quality of my products more closely and with ease, which has lots of benefits for my customers in production time, longevity of the heels and much more.
Why are Made in England brands important?
Companies that design and manufacture their products in the UK are going to face far fewer stumbling blocks than those that need to restructure after Brexit. Prices are almost sure to rise for products that come from overseas, but many Made in England companies are going to thrive.
The British people voted against remaining part of the European Union, which for many voters was a nationalistic move. Many people in the UK want to buy from British businesses, and that is only going to increase as Brexit takes its full effect. Or so it would seem; only time will tell whether this unfolds to be true. Those Made in England brands that were once somewhat of a novelty could find themselves at the forefront of their markets.
My brand was named as a "Top 30 British Made Shoe Brand" in 2016 by Make it British who champion British brands and British manufacturing.
I thought there was a free trade deal with Brexit?
Whilst many things are still uncertain at the moment, most politicians believe they will manage to secure some form of a free trade agreement with the EU after Brexit. However, it’s not just the import and export customs charges that companies have to consider. Free trade means entrepreneurs can get their products from A to B without paying large amounts of tax money. Still, that doesn’t change the many other factors that will mean manufacturing abroad becomes more expensive than it is at the moment. While customs officials might not send companies a massive bill for the export of their products, lots of other prices will rise. So, a free trade agreement, while potentially lucrative, is not going to fully protect those firms that currently manufacture abroad.
Could Made in England brands save the UK economy?
There is no getting away from the fact that the UK economy took a significant hit after the Brexit vote. For the first time in decades, the pound dropped to almost the same value as the dollar, and there was a considerable market slump. You also can’t ignore the fact that many manufacturers who produce their products overseas could see their businesses crumble after Brexit for a variety of different reasons. With that in mind, and when you consider that there is now a higher demand for Made in England products, it’s possible that innovative firms could help the UK economy to recover.
Why are consumers choosing Made in England brands?
A long time ago, products that contained the Made in England stamp were more expensive than alternatives, and many consumers preferred cheaper items produced abroad. There is a resurgence in the market at the moment as the Made in England stamp is now considered a mark of high quality. Consumers know that companies designing and producing their goods in the UK have to meet strict regulations and rules during the manufacturing process. That is why Made in England brands have fast become a top choice for many discerning British shoppers.
There is still a very long way to go until we see the full effect of Brexit on the UK economy and manufacturing industry. However, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that Made in England brands are better protected than most businesses out there today. With consumers moving towards products that don’t come from abroad, there are some real opportunities for homegrown innovators to thrive. The future is still unclear, but one thing is for sure - many Made in England products are flying off the shelves at the moment, and that, for many local people, is a good thing.
As a "remainer" I stand in solidarity with Europe and The World and will continue to do so; but I am also proud to be the founder of a small yet empowering British Brand.
Shoe.E.O, Shoes by Shaherazad