Despite much being written about the decline of British manufacturing, the UK is currently the ninth largest manufacturing nation in the world*. Being part of the British manufacturing sector is very important to us, and has been one of the fundamental principles on which we have built the business.
As a family oriented British manufacturer we are focused on delivering innovative, quality products. Our first, and best-known product, the LimbO waterproof protector, was invented after our founders put their technical expertise together to design a product that would solve the problem of keeping a leg plaster cast dry. The project required specialist tooling with appropriate electronics to create a strong and watertight seal between the two components – the neoprene seal and the PVC bag, which, together, comprised the cast protector. Although the original design and production was undertaken in a kitchen, the same method and equipment design are still used today, albeit in far larger quantities, in our West Sussex factory.
Keeping all of our manufacturing processes in Britain has allowed us to maintain our high quality standards. Buying a LimbO is a ‘distress’ purchase - our customers don’t choose to break a bone, or opt to have a PICC line installed. Ultimately, during what can be a difficult time, customers need a quality product that arrives quickly and does what is designed to do – helping them to maintain their personal hygiene. By developing relationships with a small group of trusted suppliers and handling all of our manufacturing in-house, we have been able to maintain a fair price for our product, whilst ensuring that delivery times are quick, both for retail and bulk customers in the UK and for our network of international distributors for customers overseas.
We have worked hard to break some barriers, common in the manufacturing sector. For example, hourly rates of pay for assembly line manufacturing such as ours are not typically high. So in 2015, we took the decision to become a Living Wage Employer. This felt like a bold move, especially because at the time only around 1,000 other companies in the UK had signed up, most of whom were significantly bigger than us. Not only does paying a real living wage to all our employees fit well with our ethos and family values, it also helps us uphold one of our founders’ original aims, namely to create and maintain a means of employment for their families and future generations. By maintaining our British based manufacturing policy we have been able to provide employment for local people, including families - roughly a third of our workforce are related to someone else in the business!
Over the years, manufacturing in Britain has also allowed us to retain the ability to be innovative. In 2008, when tasked with trying to find a waterproof cover for the chest area (sadly, unsuccessful), the result was re-purposing our neoprene seal to create a revolutionary stylist gown – the NeoCape. The cape’s unique seal stops hair and liquids from going down the neck, and has enabled us to move into a completely different sector with great success.
Over time the concept of ‘British’ has been redefined, but we are proud that keeping our manufacturing in Britain enables us to demonstrate our focus on producing quality, innovative and safe products which can be trusted and relied on by our customers.