ASHFIELD was once renowned for producing textiles and the industry was a major employer in the area.
All that changed when it became more economical to make clothing abroad, particularly in the far east. The industry declined and the once-thriving factories were closed for good.
But Annesley firm Poppet has been producing clothes for more than 50 years from its premises at the Co-op building on Newstead Road and has made garments for brands which have been sold in John Lewis, Selfridges, and Harrods.
Poppet, which is certified by the Soil Association, also supplies clothing to Oxford company Organics for Kids, which last year was the winner of the Best Organic Textile Product at the Natural and Organic Awards 2011.
Now the company, which employs 30 people, has launched its own line of clothes for babies.
Maria Barnes, who is a designer at family-run Poppet, said: “We have wanted to do it for quite a while now. I’ve only recently joined the company but we thought, ‘we’ll have a go and try and do it.’
“I have got a passion for it. I did a degree at Nottingham Trent University in fashion.”
The skills Maria learnt at university, along with her experience in the fashion industry, has given her a good grounding in the trade.
“I did Fashion Technology and it was designing through to making the garments.”
Maria says that the company is proud to produce garments in the UK.
“We are a UK-based business and we source all of our fabrics from the UK. We like to support UK businesses like ours.
“Everybody who sees the garments says how high quality they are. We make sure everything goes out perfect.”
Now Maria and the team are looking forward to 2012 when they hope to increase online sales and see clothes stocked in high street shops.
“It’s difficult for a new business trying to get it out there.
“A lot of business is done online and when someone doesn’t know your range, they don’t want to buy online.
“We are going to a trade show in London at the end of the month and we’ll hopefully be supplying to boutiques and hopefully getting garments in shops up and down the country.”
We have teamed up with Poppet to offer one lucky reader the chance to win a full set of baby clothes, which includes a babygrow, a blanket, a hat and scratch mittens worth £47.50.
To be in with a chance of winning, get your copy of this week’s Ashfield Chad.