Being a business focussing on manufacturing product in the UK, we are often asked how has Brexit affected our business. We felt it worth answering this question given that it has been just over 6 months since the UK's referendum vote, that took place on 23rd June 2016.
The first thing we must say is that we are staunchly apolitical and won't be drawn into taking sides in what still remains an emotionally charged debate for many. We simply take a cue from our Prime Minister, Theresa May, and assume Brexit does indeed mean Brexit!
So, to start to answer the question, we dug up an article on Brexit (link to article here) written by Vivian Hendriksz and published on the FashionUnited website on 20th June, 2016 - 3 days before the referendum took place. The article discussed 6 possible effects should Brexit take place - these were:
- Devalution of the pound
- End of free trade, posing a 'serious risk to growth'
- Clothing price hike and drop in consumer confidence
- Educational institutions would miss out on funding (as well as foreign talent)
- Loss of foreign talent and skills in the industry
- Travelling abroad becoming more difficult and costly
We can safely say that number 1 has occurred; number 2 remains unknown; number 3 is likely (certainly in the case of overseas sourced clothing as an impact of the weaker pound); numbers 4 and 5 are currently unknown and number 6 has come true as flights and currency are now more expensive for us as a result of the weaker pound.
It is that weaker pound that we feel has impacted Qauntock - and positively. From a business perspective, growing sales are always welcome and our exports are up. We've also received some very interesting leads from overseas businesses. We can't say for certain if these are all related to currency devaluation as we feel we are developing something worth talking about in time to come regardless of currency fluctuations. But we are confident the pound's devaluation has helped our exports.
We have also received feedback from UK customers expressing support and congratulating us for making product in the UK.
It may also be the case that the Worldwide news coverage of Brexit has brought UK manufactured goods into a conversation overseas - we know in our very small sample this has indeed also been the case.
So, does that mean we are pro-Brexit? No, we're not saying that explicitly. We wish to see a stable and robust UK economy and welcome our growing exports, whether or not they have positively benefitted from the pound's devaluation and greater awareness of our UK manufactured clothing.