Mulberry proudly showcases British craft expertise
Mulberry continues to work on the repositioning instrumental to its relaunch, by emphasising its British identity and expertise. On Wednesday 3rd May, the luxury leather goods label has vividly illustrated these concepts through an interesting communication effort targeting VIP clients, as part of its initiatives for the third edition of the London Craft Week, an event designed to showcase lesser-known British craftsmanship talents to the general public.
Mulberry invited clients to a breakfast served at its London headquarters' showroom, at 30 Kensington Church Street. The event was attended by the label's Creative Director Johnny Coca, by the entire senior management team and by some of the 600 artisans working at Mulberry's two workshops in the county of Somerset, in England's South-West, where 55% of the label's handbags are produced, the rest being manufactured in Italy.
One of the workshops, The Rookery, is located in Chilcompton, not far from the historic town of Bath, where Mulberry was founded in 1971. The other, called The Willows, was opened in 2014 in Bridgwater, home to footwear brand Clarks. "Since our local craftsmen were on average quite advanced in age, in 2006 Mulberry established a training programme developed in partnership with local schools, through which young students can learn our trade at the Mulberry workshops, by taking part in the Mulberry Apprenticeship Programme," said Johnny Coca, who is in charge of style at Mulberry since July 2015.
Each year, 12 apprentices, well-versed in all the skills of the leather trade, are employed in the two Mulberry workshops, which run a total of 12 production lines with an output of 2,500 handbags per week.
One of the apprentices showed the handbag he manufactured following the label's design blueprints. He is specifically in charge of prototypes, and his brother also works at Mulberry: this is a frequent occurrence, as the metier is passed on to younger family members across generations.
"I joined the training scheme six years ago, starting out as an apprentice at the same time when my class-mates went to university. Now they have a degree, but they cannot find a job," said the young man of 22, who was rather more coy about his salary.
"The workshop is equipped with state-of-the-art technology. But no fewer than 36 people and nearly seven hours of manual labour are needed to produce one single handbag," said the director of The Willows workshop, Sarah Clark, proudly, adding that "the leather we use is sourced from Italy."
Throughout the London Craft Week, from 3rd to 7th May, Mulberry's artisans will demonstrate their virtuoso skills at the label's New Bond Street store in the British capital.
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