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UK Aprons and Manufacturing in the UK



The UK has a long history of manufacturing, with Britain being the birthplace of the first Industrial Revolution in the late 18th Century. The UK had the monopoly of this revolution for a while before the development of machinery and techniques started to move out across Europe.

A little about us:

Whilst British manufacturing has waxed and waned since then, the UK is still in the top 10 global manufacturing nations (Make UK, 2019), and UK Aprons are proud to be even just a small part of this number. My wife, Jenny, and I founded UK Aprons in 2011 to supply aprons to the Education market.

Having worked temporarily in a school where aprons were always in short supply and those that were about, were poorly made and did not last very long. I wanted to create a range of aprons that were both practical for the school environment and value for money. After making our first poly cotton apron in the spare bedroom using the dining table for cutting out, we now specialise in manufacturing reusable wipe-clean PV


C aprons and tabards for many businesses as well as within the school setting.

Having utilised various other warehouses and units, alongside another family run UK based company, E Badges (www.e-badges.net), that gave a lot of support to us in the beginning, UK Aprons has moved again into our very own larger premises, based in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, UK, with the desire to increase output and expand our offering even more; designing, manufacturing and supplying aprons and protective wear to businesses, individuals, schools and colleges. We have also added to our business profile by offering a made to order service, printing and embroidery services to personalise your products, additional promotional items and a clothing/product labelling service.



Manufacturing in the UK; the good and the bad

The UK economy is struggling through yet another crisis with the global pandemic, alongside our exit from the EU and many businesses of all sizes and across all sectors are struggling. And whilst manufacturing can still constitute approximately 10% of the British economy (Office of National Statistics) an already unstable sector is having to deal with a great many more knocks right now.

Relying on a service chain, whether with businesses abroad, such as with overseas component suppliers or other auxiliary services, or solely with UK made suppliers and components could cause issues


if these suppliers are struggling with financial crises and new regulations.

There is a continual struggle between cost efficiency and buying from UK suppliers. Although we try to source our products from UK manufacturers, necessity dictates that we buy some component parts from abroad, again where possible we seek UK suppliers to maximise the amount of revenue for UK companies.

However, lets focus on some more positive aspects about being a British Manufacturing business; Buying from a UK manufacturer can result in a much higher standard of merchandise as the products need to reach an industry approved standard before being sold. This is not the case worldwide. Each item we make here at UK Aprons goes through rigorous quality control before it leaves our w


orkshop, fabric components and safety information is clearly and correctly stated. Buying products direct from a UK manufacturer also means a lower carbon footprint as well as shorter lead times. In normal times the beauty of using a UK manufacturer is the potential for face-to-face contact and the chance to visit the site and see the products or see the manufacturing processes in person before you buy.

Our Fabrics and Products:

Our products are priced competitively, and we are proud of the quality you would be buying. Buying cheaper items can be a false economy as poorly made products do not stand the test of time. The fabrics we have chosen have been tried and tested for each of our designs. Our PVC, poly cottons and PU coated fabrics and accessories are supplied by companies that ensure industry standards are met

Our organic fabrics that we have used for our more bespoke items is supplied by another UK based company (www.organiccotton.biz) th


at sources organic fabrics from a cooperative in Kerala, India, ensuring that all the necessary standards are met and only GOTs mills are used (to be GOT certified means that safe working practices are met, including avoiding the use of harmful, toxic chemicals and bleaches, and that the product is made with at least 95% organic fibres).

Sustainability and UK Aprons:

We are conscious of impacts on the environment, and we consider this with all aspects of our company. With how much packaging we use, and we are sure to use as much of the fabric as possible to avoid waste. We have worked with Peterborough based CIC Up the Garden Bath to help manufacture their Fabre Pots, ma


de using remnants and off cuts of fabric donated from several local companies as well as ourselves, to limit the amount that ends up in landfill.

We are currently looking for a suitable greener alternative to the PVC we currently use whilst still offering the same qualities of durability, strength and waterproofing.

Our Plans for the future:

Last year we also dipped our toe into the world of tableware and soft furnishings, creating table runners, napkins, oven gloves, as well as bunting and cushions, both for other companies as part of our white label service, and for our own Jenny Wren range, which have proven very popular and have been retailed at events and online through The Apron Supply Company. They can also be found in Peterborough department store, Beales.

On the back of this positivity, we are going t


o be increasing our range for Jenny Wren in addition to offering our manufacturing service for other companies who wish to retail their own designs and intend to source other suitable retailers that mirror our ethos of high quality and affordable.

We are so grateful to businesses and individuals who have supported us this far and look forward to what the future holds.

Thank you for reading my blog and I hope you will visit our retail site theapronsupplycompany.co.uk where you can buy items “off the shelf” or contact our manufacturing workshop who would be more than happy to discuss your requirements.

Best wishes and stay clean!

Andrew


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