The bunting has been hung and Birmingham’s Bullring bull has had a Union Flag make-over as the city gears up to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee and Olympics. Consumer Correspondent Emma McKinney investigates how this summer’s major British events could prove a boost for the city’s economy
A little patriotism and a few simple signs with the magic words ‘Made in Britain’ could be just what businesses in the Midlands need to get themselves back on a sure footing in 2012, according to new research.
In the year that will see both the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic celebrations, it should feel like a natural move for businesses to cash in on some of the feel-good factor in the air, claims marketing firm UK Point of Sale.
Its new research suggests that 55 per cent of shoppers would be more likely to enter a shop if it displayed a slogan saying it sold products ‘Made in Britain’ in the window.
Businesses across the Midlands are already producing all kinds of merchandise to cash in on both major events, with many seeing them as an opportunity to provide a vital shot in the arm for their balance sheets.
While the Bullring shopping centre has draped its famous bull in a Union Flag, a small pen maker in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, Yard-O-Led, is producing a special edition pen that features the commemorative Diamond Jubilee Hallmark after it won permission from the city’s Assay Office.
The firm, which dates back to 1822, is already winning orders for the finely crafted sationery from around the world, including Russia and the United States.
The solid silver pens, each costing £425, are made by a team of just six craftsmen at a small workshop at the firm’s factory in Spencer Street, Hockley.
“The pens are made using techniques that were in use over 100 years ago,” said director Tim Tufnell, whose grandfather bought the firm in 1946. “A lot of it is done by hand, rather than machine, and it takes a lot of skill. It’s a shame as these skills are slowly dying out in British manufacturing.”
Mr Tufnell said the pens, which are on sale in stores including Harrod’s, Selfridges and John Lewis, were in demand because their fine quality meant they were sure to last a lifetime.
“They cost a lot of money but they appeal to people who want to buy something that will last and something that marks a moment in history,” he added. “Also, we find that people like the fact that it has been made in Britain, rather than mass produced in a far-flung country.