Business

Ulster Weavers in pledge to 'onshore more manufacturing back to Northern Ireland'

Ulster Weavers managing director Gillian McLean, with Rupert Daniels, director at the Department for International Trade (DIT)
Gary McDonald Business Editor

HOME textiles company Ulster Weavers says it plans to onshore more manufacturing, with the goal of making approximately three quarters of all new retail products in Northern Ireland within the next three years.

The move is part of a wider vision to double sales by 2025 through innovation, diversifying its product-range, and entering new market sectors.

And it will also lead to an increase in its local workforce (it currently employs around 40 people in Northern Ireland).

The plans were outlined at a high-level meeting yesterday between the company and the UK government’s Department for International Trade (DIT).

Ulster Weavers' managing director Gillian McLean met with DIT director Rupert Daniels, who is responsible for helping UK organisations grow globally by developing their exports, at the firm's Northern Ireland headquarters at Lissue Industrial Estate in Lisburn.

Central to its three-year strategy is sustainability, so that the firm can ensure it is minimising, eliminating, or offsetting its environmental impact as it grows, and it has therefore aligned its strategy with UN Sustainable Development Goals.

A key component of the plan to grow sustainably is ‘onshoring’ more manufacturing, and Ulster Weavers also intends to become a mainstream home textile business, adding a wide range of home furnishing items to its product offering.

Ms McLean added: “Ulster Weavers is one of Northern Ireland’s longest established businesses and a global brand with customers on six continents.

“Our goal is to ensure that every household in the world has at least one Ulster Weavers product, and we are repositioning the company to achieve that objective in a sustainable way.

“This means a new strategy, new products, new customers, and a commitment to ongoing innovation. It also means that we will increase our team here in Northern Ireland.”

Established in 1880, the company (www.ulsterweavers.com) produces an extensive range of giftware, homeware and textiles for international markets and works with brands including Harrods, John Lewis, Fortnum & Mason and Lakeland.

Last year it launched a new range of Irish linen face coverings as it adapted its manufacturing to capitalise on market opportunities for high-quality sustainable alternatives.

 

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