The economy needs them.
You can't manufacture without them.
They have a bad image and aren't really that cool.
But we're building one.
Since the industrial revolution, f*ctories have always had a bit of a bad reputation. Sooty and dangerous, the earliest examples of UK mass production weren't ideal. Black and white connotations of child labour, extensive hours and little safety are agreeably, best left behind in the 1800's.
Insert Charles Dickens - 'Hard Times' quote here.
Fast forward to present day and you'd safely bet that very little is made here in the UK anymore. Seemingly, all that we buy is shipped from overseas. With a reported 59% of UK goods being imported from China alone, your'e not far off.
In our digital era, the UK evidently leaves the majority of it's manufacture to those elsewhere. Instead we have less f*ctory floors and many open plan offices. So why are Banton Frameworks opening a f*ctory?
Before we open our f*ctory, we'd like to re-dress the F word.
Still wearing it's sooty, mismatched overalls from the 1800's, f*ctories really need a wardrobe change. The F-word need to move from 'Hard Times' and 'get with the times'.
It needs to slip into something a little more sexy. Something that let's everyone know that it's back on the scene. Something that says "I'm available and I'm looking for a new relationship."
We don't have any suggestons yet, but the name needs changed too. The word 'f*ctory' is as dirty as those old overalls.
What about something progressive like "Womanufaction"?
Our eyewear could be made somewhere else, like the other brands.
We could have opted for an open plan office.
But things have changed.
Digitilisation has blown manufacture wide open. Some say it's become democratised.
Leaving behind the sooty, labour intensive approach of the 1800's, our digital era offers computer controlled machines instead of anvils and lathes. Victorian notions for laboured workforces have been replaced with exciting new processes; and it's much better on the lungs. We have chosen to embrace these new processes to manufacture our eyewear, right here.
This is a big moment in time. Local, in-house production has never been so viable. We are seizing this moment.
Right here. Right now.
Let's face it, craft is exclusive.
It's for the few, not the many.
To open our factory, we cant work on a single frame basis. Making our frames one by one in the old sooty way is the 1800's way. It's in the past.
At Banton Frameworks we prefer to focus on the future. We believe that UK eyewear manufacture won't look like what it used to, especially with it's new wardrobe.
Fresh faced and ready, our f*ctory will change our industry, and we cannot wait. With more and more eyewear brands importing their frames from overseas, we intend to work more sustainably via local manufacture. By designing and manufacturing our frames here in the UK, we will create opportunities which didn't otherwise exist. In our f*ctory, we are building and honing skills which can be passed on.
The UK optical market is big.
And it's getting bigger.
The adult market alone is currently estimated at 35 million spectacle wearers.
Following the recommended NHS 'eye examination' cycle of two years, an estimated 15 million adults buy a new pair of glasses each year.
If one in three of these people bought a pair of UK made spectacles, our industry could return to its previous output of 5 million spectacle frames a year.