A company which helped change what we wear is being propelled towards “exciting times” as it celebrates its 10th birthday.
Before The All-in-One Company launched in October 2008, the wearing of onesies was strictly limited to babies and toddlers.
But that all changed – thanks to an idea from its founder Kate Dawson – and customers from more than 200 countries have now, through the company’s innovative website, designed and ordered tens of thousands of onesies which have all been handmade in Ashington in Northumberland.
The All-in-One Company’s onesie wearers have included celebrities Peter Andre and Holly Willoughby, Olympians Tom Daley, Jade Jones, and Laura Kenny, participants in The X Factor, Big Brother and Dancing on Ice, the casts of Hollyoaks and TOWIE, and pop stars such as Steps and Union J.
Kate and her team have teamed up with The National Autistic Society to help children, who are sensitive to materials and fastenings, design their own onesies. They have also worked closely with Comic Relief, Macmillan Cancer Support and Oxfam, and supplied local schools and crafters with hundreds of bags of offcuts.
The All-in-One Company started an apprenticeship programme with Northumberland College and the quality of work of its machinists and cutters has been recognised through membership of the prestigious Guild of Master Craftsmen and success in numerous business awards.
“It all began because I needed to keep my daughter warm at night and I couldn’t buy sleepsuits on the High Street for children over 18-months-old,” said Kate. “They all had a hood and feet attached, which I didn’t want, so I came up with the idea of creating custom-made onesies where you could create something which exactly suited your needs.”
The business was launched with a pioneering website which allowed customers to build and order their own bespoke onesie in stages – by selecting the exact size, material, colour or pattern and choice of pockets, as well as accessories such as hoods, feet and even tails and ears.
“There was some scepticism at first, but also a lot of backing from people who understood what we were trying to do. We didn’t set out to manufacture specifically for adults, but there was obviously a latent market there,” said Kate.
Support for the venture came initially from Go Wansbeck – which helped start-ups in South East Northumberland – and currently via Scaleup North East which works with businesses who can demonstrate the ambition and potential to grow even further.
“By combining digital technology with traditional manufacturing skills to create a unique product which is hand made in the UK and delivered to more than 200 countries world-wide, the business has some very exciting times ahead. I look forward to seeing them scale and have every confidence they will do so successfully,” said Scaleup North East partner Craig Huntingdon.
The All-in-One Company has survived the worst recession in 80 years, fierce competition from High Street giants and – most recently – a record-breaking heatwave.
“Turning 10 is a major milestone and through the support of both customers and staff alike we are still here to tell the tale. We are looking forward to a bright future working with Craig and his team as we scale up our worldwide sales and our technology,” said Kate, who is about to announce big news about the future of the business.
“Our customers love our products and we have messages and reviews sent to us each day from all over the world. These mean so much to us. They love that their onesie can be made to measure, they love the quality of the workmanship and the fabrics that we hand pick and – above all – the fact that they can create their own unique onesie that will last a lifetime.”
The onesies being worn by rowers from Team Tyne Innovation just need to survive the 3000 mile Atlantic crossing in December. The team has been created to showcase the work of North East universities and businesses, such as The All-in-One Company, as it takes part in one of the world’s toughest events – The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.
During a break from rowing the team members will be wearing special bespoke bamboo towelling onesies, handmade in Ashington.