The Great British Exchange gets more great British products into John Lewis as the Made Locally initiative grows.


John Lewis is the country’s favourite shop, a “Never knowingly undersold” icon of Britishness. However, until The Great British Exchange started working with them in October 2016 for the launch of their Made Locally range, they had never had a dedicated area for locally sourced British products in their stores.

The GBE was asked to curate a selection of brands to showcase in the new five-storey, 24,200 square metre John Lewis store in Leeds under the Made Locally banner. It’s proved so popular with customers and the media, locally and nationally, that John Lewis have asked The GBE to expand the project across the country. John Lewis stores in Cardiff, Nottingham, Norwich, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh now have their own Made Locally ranges with more to follow.

So what goes into the launch of a new retail initiative at this beloved British department store? For nearly twelve months The GBE worked tirelessly finding the best local producers and managing the process from selection right through to delivering the products to stores. For some brands, this was their first large retailer experience, and for others, it was achieving a target they had set at the very start of their business. Regardless of experience, The GBE supported each brand and their launch into store, providing support with pricing, barcoding and point of sale – a one stop shop for getting everyone ready and delivered on time.

The launch of the ‘Made Locally’ range has proved a huge hit with consumers. Many lines sold out quickly and the range, also available online, is continually in high demand. The GBE continues to liaise with John Lewis, processing repeat orders and making sure producers can supply their products in time.

“We know that our customers are interested in the provenance of products and as a British retailer, we’re proud to support British design and quality by sourcing locally,” said Anna Rigby, Head of Buying for Home Accessories and Gifts at John Lewis.

One of the producers involved was Norfolk homeware company, Izzi Rainey. Lara Mullis, their Sales and Marketing Director said: “The GBE has enabled us to take that next step in our business; from supplying small independent retailers to high street shops. It is a huge jump for us as a small textile company, based on a farm in rural Norfolk, but GBE’s constant support has made the process less daunting. This next chapter is extremely exciting for us being in a store as prestigious as John Lewis; we hope to raise our company’s profile and increase our brand awareness.”

To date over 500 SKUs and over 20 brands have been delivered to stores and Exeter, Cambridge, Oxfordshire and Liverpool are set to follow throughout autumn and winter 2017.

Sara Albright, Gifts and Candle Shop Buyer at John Lewis said: “Working with The Great British Exchange is helping us source the best products from British producers. Our aim is to give our customers a ‘go to’ destination where they can find exciting products from their local area and learn about who makes them and how. The Great British Exchange provides a fantastic source of products and the team works with us and the producers to make sure the logistics and commercial operation runs smoothly and efficiently.”

Matthew Hopkins, managing director at The Great British Exchange, added: “I’m very proud of our partnership with John Lewis, which creates fantastic ongoing opportunities for more locally sourced products to be sold in one of the UK’s most prestigious retailers.”

©Andrew McCaren, Leeds UK. Picture shows the new John Lewis shop at Victoria Gate in Leeds

We’re always on the lookout for exciting,  new British products,  if you or someone you know has something that might be of interest to us or any of our network of 2000+ trade buyers, send us a brief summary of your product along with a few images. – If you want to be the first to know about new products and opportunities at The Great British Exchange, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @TheGBExchange


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