Debate: Curbing the China syndrome
Last week we took some time out from exploring Tent and SuperBrands to hear Cressida Granger of Mathmos, furniture designer Mark Gabbertas, Mark Brearly of Kaymet and Paul Hobson of The Senator Group discuss the merits and pitfalls of producing products in China and the true value in ‘Britishness’. Despite the panel’s varied experiences they were all agreed that British manufacturing is always the preferred choice and that the rise in costs and the unreliability of producing in China will drive a lot of brands back to UK production in the next few years.
But why is being ‘British’ so important when it comes to design? According to Paul Hobson of global furniture provider The Senator Group, it’s a massive selling point overseas with the UK still seen as the place to go for quality and innovative design. He notes however, that we are often guilty of being too British about it and not shouting from the roof tops when we really should.
The overriding note – do sweat the small stuff – it’s the details of what you do and how you do it that keep customers coming back, details like not only designing but also producing your products in the UK. With so much genuinely good design now coming out of China (alongside all the copies) we need to wake up and market British brands not just via the ‘not made in China’ tactic but on their old-fashioned values too.