Made in the UK: Made to Last for Sustainable Homewares
If you had to describe Made to Last in one sentence, what would it be?
Sustainable and great value British products, straight from the maker.
How long has the company been going and where are you based?
We have been trading since January 1st 2015 so coming up for the 2-year anniversary. The company is based in Cambridge, although we do not have a retail premises here, we trade solely online at the moment.
What makes Made to Last unique?
All products sold have a clear guarantee shown on the product page alongside the price. Customers can therefore better judge the true cost and value of a product. Our business developed because we are concerned about current levels of consumerism, and decided that a potential solution to this issue is to move away from a situation where it has become normal to buy products, use them for a short period, throw away and then buy again new. We are keen to encourage people to shift to a longer-term view by introducing them to good quality products that will last well so that they can use them for a much longer time period.
As well as that, all products are manufactured in the British Isles and sold in Britain (some raw materials may come from other countries) – this helps to strengthen local industries and craftspeople and at the same time means that additional costs are not fed into our products to cover international transport and taxes.
Can you describe the selection process for new products?
The key questions we go through are:
1) Is the product well made and will the manufacturer be happy to put a clear guarantee on the product?
2) Is the product manufactured in the British Isles?
3) Is the product well designed and appealing aesthetically?
4) Does the product have a clear practical use?
Are there any new launches or products on the horizon?
Yes. You will find new products going onto the website each week. We are a marketplace so are keen to develop our ranges to provide as much choice as possible.
How do you find your suppliers?
We began by researching British manufacturers from trade association websites and sites focused on Buying British. We then carry out some more detailed research into them to make sure that they are a good fit and then sometimes we also visit them to view their products. In the future we would like to do this for all suppliers.
Do you offer any services that your competitors don’t offer?
We aim to offer the same customer service levels to each of our customers as we would to a family member or close friend. We have no automated call directing service. When our customers call they get us directly and they speak with someone that can help them and answer their questions fully. If there is a technical point that we cannot answer on the spot then we quickly check with the supplier and then call back – usually within 15 minutes.
Which service are you most proud of and why?
I am most proud of our diverse and unique product range. Through buying from us, the customers benefit from great value products that will last them well. At the same time they get a guarantee so should they have any issues down the line then they can always feel secure that it will be resolved for them.
What product range are you most happy with?
We have put a great deal of effort into our lighting range and believe that we have a very strong offering of high quality products at great prices.
There are 10 manufacturers selling their lights in our pendant light range all with very diverse styles. There is a great mix of traditional, industrial and modern styles. The same can be said of the wall lights where we have 6 different manufacturers currently selling their products. Although the quality is very high prices start as low as £30 which proves that you do not have to pay the earth for great quality.
What does the future hold for Made to Last?
Our furniture range will see some big developments in the coming months with a lot of new products in the pipeline. Long term we would like to open a showroom that displays a range of the products that we sell as customers often want to see and touch a product prior to purchasing. I cannot think of any retailers with an offering like ours so it will be exciting to see how things take off.
I would also like to introduce a repair and recycle service where people that have good quality products that are just a bit worn can get them refurbished by skilled craftspeople. That is also a great way to help us achieve our vision of reduced environmental impact.
What’s the best thing a customer can say about Made to Last?
That we are great value for money.
Made to Last would like to offer readers of Dear Designer’s blog 10% off the full lighting range until September 30th.