Sheffield is alive with manufacture and we should be proud of it

Ilona Cash, fashion designer and founder of Sheffield fashion brand Ambi - which caters for women of dual sizes.
Ilona Cash, fashion designer and founder of Sheffield fashion brand Ambi - which caters for women of dual sizes.
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In the last few weeks; I’ve met AmbiDress, who design and manufacture dresses; Macalloy, who manufacture steel cables; Buffalo Systems, who manufacture outdoor wear; Atkinson Walker Saws, who manufacture saw blades; and Butterworth Bees, who make honey.

They trade locally and internationally and they all make their wares here in Sheffield.

In the last few weeks; I’ve met AmbiDress, who design and manufacture dresses; Macalloy, who manufacture steel cables; Buffalo Systems, who manufacture outdoor wear; Atkinson Walker Saws, who manufacture saw blades; and Butterworth Bees, who make honey. They trade locally and internationally and they all make their wares here in Sheffield.

I can tell you that Sheffield is alive with manufacture; it’s making and creating in so many ways, from heavy industry to artisan foods.

My wife’s company, AmbiDress, recently reached a crossroad; carry on making here or outsource. It’s an inevitable question for every growing manufacturer. She got quotes from all over India and China.

Everyone knows that cheap overseas manufacture has a huge impact on UK industries but when you see the numbers, the difference is actually scary. You ask yourself, how can UK manufacture ever compete with that?

My wife’s decision to continue manufacturing here was simple; it’s about controlling quality.. I could save money by manufacturing overseas but if the quality declines, customers will go elsewhere.

Working in, with, and for the local economy is more important to me and to my customers than driving prices as low as they can go.

This is typical of Sheffield. The city is bursting with creative entrepreneurs who are doggedly dedicated to the city. I drive past unassuming industrial units and I tell people, ‘they make plastic tokens in there, they make menthol oil in there, they make gin in there, they make steel wire in there, they make jackets in there.’

We’re a city of makers. A city, renowned across the world. There’s a lot to be proud of.