Iconic British brands
In today’s challenging economic climate, the question of what makes a British brand is up for debate. In order to remain competitive, companies across all industries are choosing to outsource their production to different parts of the world. For this reason, identifying those that can really say they’re ‘Made in Britain’ can be a complex process. Thankfully, there remains a handful of British brands whose history and heritage, combined with their commitment to designing and manufacturing their products within the country, make them truly iconic British brands.
Established in 1856 by dressmaker Thomas Burberry, Burberry’s iconic trench coats and outerwear have become synonymous with quality British garment design. After Yorkshireman Christopher Bailey became Burberry’s chief executive in 2014, the company announced it would be investing £50m into a new factory that could bring 200 more manufacturing jobs to the UK. The new facility in Leeds will be dedicated to the production of its world-famous heritage trench coat, and aims to protect British manufacturing by remaining loyal to the company’s roots within the English textile industry. Bailey says: “I’m a great believer in British manufacturing and the crafts and skills we have here. In a world that’s changing, it is important to foster these timeless skills and quality."
MINI is one of the most productive manufacturers in the UK, and the MINI is the second-most produced car in the country. Plant Oxford, a factory in Cowley, southeast Oxford is the home of MINI production for 110 countries around the world. As well as being the birthplace and heart of MINI production, Plant Oxford is also a heritage British location in itself. The site has been used as an automotive manufacturing plant for over 100 years, and today the iconic factory employs 4,000 British workers. Since the production of new MINI started in 2001, more than 2.5 million cars have emerged from this famous production line, each manufactured to individual customer specifications. As well as Plant Oxford, two additional UK plants make up MINI production. Plant Hams Hall makes engines, Plant Swindon produces body pressings and sub-assemblies, and the cars come together at Plant Oxford with body shell production, paint and final assembly.
A leather accessories company based in Somerset, Mulberry is an iconic British brand and a fashion favourite across the globe. The family-run business was founded in 1971 by young British entrepreneur Roger Saul, who built up the first manufacturing site at the back of his parents’ house in Somerset. Today, Mulberry is the largest manufacturer of luxury leather goods in the UK, and one of the world’s most celebrated accessories brands. The label offers a distinctive and modern collection of handbags that ranges from the classic Bayswater, to the modern Alexa. It has stores throughout the UK and all over the world, while continuing to make designer leather goods at its original Somerset factory, The Rookery. In 2013, Mulberry’s second factory The Willows started production, also based in Somerset. According to Creative Director Johnny Coca, Mulberry’s customers are extremely loyal to the brand and see it as a British institution, with a deep passion for the brand and its bags.
In 1847, jewellery manufacturer Asprey moved into 167 New Bond Street to provide the elite of London with ‘articles of exclusive design and high quality.’ An immediate success amongst their wealthy clients, Asprey was granted its first Royal Warrant by Queen Victoria in 1863, marking the beginning of a long-standing relationship with the royal family which continues to this day. While the modern Asprey is a global brand, their iconic New Bond Street store is still the home of their onsite silver and jewellery workshops, where skilled craftsmen and women produce refined watches, handbags and jewellery. As the artisans who create the products work so closely to the store, they are on hand if anything needs to be repaired or altered, often providing this service while the customer waits. It is this quality and British heritage that sets Asprey apart from their competitors, and ensures it remains one of Britain’s most loved and respected brands.
At Original BTC, we’re also incredibly proud to be known as a British, family run business since we were first established in 1990 by Peter Bowles. Based in the beautiful town of Oxford, our true English heritage combined with our passion for inspirational designs, has made us who we are today. Having secured two further lighting brands, marine lighting manufacturer Davey Lighting and LED lighting manufacturer Beadlight, we supply both retail and contract markets around the world. We have a particular connection to the hotel, restaurant and aeronautical industries as well as a family history immersed in retail, manufacturing and design. Both Peter and his son Charlie who became Director in 2012, design all of our products, combining a unique blend of inspiration from Britain’s rich post industrialisation history with innovative tastes and trends.
For more information on our range of classic and contemporary lighting that is designed and manufactured exclusively in the UK, call us today on 0845 094 1858 or visit our website.