The Made in Britain Cost Myth
…That to run orders through those few remaining on UK soil would be expensive and not viable. Now in 2017 we have seen production return to the UK and an increase in short run factories. Online retail success stories such as ASOS.com and BooHoo, manufacture a large percentage of their clothing in the UK proving that cost and turnaround can easily rival their overseas competitors.
Kate Hills founder of MakeItBritish and the annual MeettheManufacturer trade event recently compiled an excellent article that compared the costs of a t-shirt, one made in the Far East and the other made in the UK. The results may surprise you. While the initial cost of £4.24 for the T-shirt in the Far East was half of the UK cost coming in at £8.85 – there were other costs to consider. Shipping and duty can be as much as £1.75 on a simple T-shirt, depending on the size of the order. And if the brand is buying through an agent they will take their cut too. This taken into consideration puts the Far Eastern made T-shirt at £7.
But that’s not all. Retailers traditionally work on a profit margin of around 60% on a branded item when they sell it in their stores. A simple way to work that out is roughly double the wholesale cost plus VAT. Retailers also have to take into account that not all of the product that they buy sells at full price.
The average sell-through (the amount sold at full price) on a fashion product is around 60%. Many seasonal styles can have a lower sell-through and the pressure for buyers to get their orders right is immense. With average order times from the Far East being around 12 weeks from when a buyer places an order, often the product sitting on the shelves is not what the customer wants. With UK based manufacturers such as Fashion Enter’s factory in North London design concept to shop floor can be completed within a few weeks giving buyers the flexibility to react to customer demand.
CEO of FashionCapital & Fashion Enter Ltd, Jenny Holloway comments: “Use the UK! You cannot be any more transparent than using a UK based factory. Not only can we react and make product quickly to order, we can do it ethically and transparently – clients can come in at any time and can avoid costly sampling and production mistakes without constantly having to courier samples back and forth overseas.”
(Image right Jenny Holloway with Kate Hills at Meet the Manufacturer 2017)
Kate advises that one way of getting the best value product for your money is to buy British-made directly from the brands and not from the retailers.
JoJo Iles editor of FashionCapital adds: “It is interesting to see the costs broken down in black & white, you can see clearly that the manufacturers are working to very narrow margins compared to the retailers. For me it’s not just about supporting the British production and industry but it’s about the carbon footprint – do I really want something that is designed in the UK to be stitched half way around the world and finished in another country – it just doesn’t make environmental sense.”
Time to make it British!
FashionCapital’s CEO Jenny Holloway will be speaking at Meet the Manufacturing today – 24th & 25th May 2017 – The Old Truman Brewery, London
(Image: The Fashion Enter/FTA stand at Meet the Manufacturer)