Samuel Staniforth Ltd of Sheffield manufacture The Smithfield range of knives and have been doing so since 1864. They have been producing quality forged cutlery for the professional user for over 100 years. We visited their factory and spoke with MD Chris Hopkinson who shared his thoughts on British manufacturing and of course The Great British Exchange.
What are the main challenges you face as a British manufacturer?
Our challenges are also our strong points… heritage, craftsmanship and using the “made in Sheffield” name and image. The challenge is getting this across especially as a small manufacturer where marketing budgets are limited and it is hard to get our products in front of buyers at the big retailers; we’re really pleased The Great British Exchange is addressing this and we’re looking forward to what they can do for us.
What do you feel are the advantages for a retailer buying British made products?
The advantages “should” be a quality product, sourced locally, we can’t compete with the mass produced imports but can offer a high end product at a fair price. This is why we are seeing a lot of interest in our bespoke wooden handle, handmade knife ranges. We are accredited with the “Bull” mark which stands for high quality and reliability and it is the mark of a progressive English company who consider service as one of its foremost obligations; this is something we always look to share with retailers.
What are your thoughts on the concept of The Great British Exchange?
I think it’s a great idea to get like-minded British producers in touch with each other, helping producers source materials and retailers find great British products. It will help us open up new areas of business that we failed to break into in the past.