Put The Kettle On. But do this first.
Before you fill the kettle, take a look at the bottom. If it's an electric kettle, there’s likely a little sticker here to indicate its electrical compliance. It should also tell you where it’s made.
Unless at home you use, for example, an iconic Simplex copper kettle from Newey & Bloomer, or a kettle made by Dualit, it's likely made "Overseas".
Indulge me for a second. Look ‘round your home. What else is made overseas? Perhaps the blouse or shirt you're wearing. The ceramic fruit bowl on your kitchen table. Any other electrical appliance. Your dog’s collar?
If we ask Alexa to tune into, say, Radio 4, it could happen before long we hear the chatter of how reliant we’ve become on goods that are made overseas. Often by countries that are openly hostile to our freedom-loving western democracies and don’t give a fig for human rights. Never mind the environmental impact of shipping by the container load across thousands of miles.
What can we, as individual consumers who like to make informed decisions consistent with our values, do? And what if we plain just like the idea of British Manufacturing and British Artisanship, instead of cynically shifting all this enterprise to faraway lands?
Sure, I’m tapping this out on a computer that’s made overseas. In a moment I’ll check my smartphone because a few minutes ago it pinged, so there’s a WhatsApp message waiting to be read.
My smartphone, you won’t be shocked to learn, was not made here in the UK.
It’s not a good look if I urge you to support British-made when my own consumer choices appear otherwise.
But let me try.
At Dogs & Horses, we’re a boutique artisan workshop, based in London. We rely on British and European tanneries, metal fabricators and suppliers. We don’t outsource our manufacturing abroad, or to third parties with their opaque working conditions or lack of regulation around environmental controls.
I hope you’ll agree that we are at least providing you an option to ‘buy British instead’. To purchase a tangible item that is lovingly handmade by artisans. Those artisans could one day include a neighbour, a friend from Church or School, maybe a niece or nephew eager to learn a hands-on trade. Sure, it might just be your dog’s collar. But it represents more than that. It stands for authentic craftsmanship. Creativity. Sustainability. Integrity. Community.*
* Of course, if you’re not resident in the UK, and you’re reading this, then I’ll just have to suggest handmade artisanship, wherever that community exists. The point is about stepping away from high volume mass-manufacturing as/when we can, choosing products for our lives that are made by hand, with learned expertise and experience, integrity, soul.
So, let’s give a hand to handmade,
Dogs & Horses, London