The company of an award-winning businesswoman – who made it fashionable for adults to wear onesies – is helping new manufacturers across the UK to flourish.
Kate Dawson and her team at The All-in-One Company have developed prototypes for three start-up businesses, advised on their costs, production and marketing and helped successfully launch their products. As a result – and for its own achievements – The All-in-One Company, based in Ashington in Northumberland, has been admitted to the prestigious Guild of Master Craftsmen.
“I told my story at the Meet the Manufacturer show in London two years ago,” said Kate, “about how I came up with my business. I was a mum sitting at the kitchen table with an idea and two children who were cold at night.”
That idea, which evolved into adults designing their own onesies through the company’s website, has resulted in 60,000 orders from across the world in eight years and a new service – The All-in-One Manufacturer – which is supporting start-ups such as Born Ready, based in Upminster in Essex.
Its founder Jenn Philpott said she had a product – Flaparaps, which helps potty train babies – but was having difficulty making it commercially viable.
“Before hearing Kate’s speech I had asked all the factories at the show if they could manufacture for me, and not a single one was able to do it,” she said. “My nappies look simple, but to make them properly, requires equipment and skills that even Kate’s team didn’t initially have. But she took my project on, sourced the right equipment, and invited me to visit the factory to chat to her expert machinists. Together we set about tweaking my design to make manufacturing easier and more efficient.”
Flaparaps have now been sold in more than 20 countries. Jenn said: “I was making the leap from home-sewn product to scalable factory production and it proved a steep learning curve. Everything from sourcing fabric to international postage to pricing was new to me – but Kate has been there through it all, with patience, advice and encouragement, mentoring me on the business side while her team get on with the sewing.”
The All-in-One Manufacturer has also worked with The Wool Room in Empingham in Rutland to develop its product, The Woolsie – a onesie with a wool-filled lining. Rob Shaw, The Wool Room’s buyer, said: “The team at The All-in-One Company saw our project through from beginning to end. From design, to sampling to production their input was invaluable and they were an absolute pleasure to deal with.”
Hollie Wilson, director of Hunt and Wilson – based in Dunchurch in Essex – said Kate and her team always go the extra mile. “It makes my job much easier having a manufacturer we can rely on,” she said. The All-in-One Company helped develop – and now make – Hunt and Wilson’s luxury dog beds.
The three new businesses, as well as The All-in-One Company’s customers, supported its admission to the centuries-old Guild of Master Craftsmen which has commended Kate and her team for “maintaining high standards of customer care, product quality and presentation” and a dedication to quality and service.
One of the keys to their success has been the ability to mass customise: manufacturing bespoke versions of its product in large numbers.
“My team is fantastic,” said Kate. “Every single suit is different and the skill that goes into making them is incredible. I wanted something for them because they’re like the invisible elves. Nobody can see them at work but our customers get a perfect product.”
Last year she was appointed to the advisory board of Meet the Manufacturer which next month is holding its third and biggest exhibition of the best of British clothing, textiles and leather goods. Around 150 design and fashion companies are taking part.
Other members of the 10-strong advisory board include Kate Stacey, the head of group sourcing for the Arcadia Group – which owns high street giants and brands Topshop and Topman, Burton Menswear, Miss Selfridge, Wallis and Evans – Jane Wach, the head of supply chain at Oasis, and Bruce Montgomery, professor in design craftsmanship at Northumbria University.