Burnley, UK

Handmade in Burnley is part of a broad initiative that reflects the interest and commitment of The Prince’s Charitable Foundation to social, cultural, environmental and economic regeneration.

To meet the Charities common objectives of encouraging manufacture and industry in Burnley and provide economic opportunities for the community, the Prince’s School conceived of the idea of re-defining manufacture and industry by harking back to their original meaning – handmade and resourcefulness.

The project aimed to support a group of local women, enabling them to set up a new small business venture and produce fine, handmade items sold under the label ‘Handmade in Burnley’.

It involved two major phases: product development and, subsequently, business development. The first phase produced a line of items such as laptop covers, purses and iPad covers, lovingly crafted in handmade felt. These were decorated with hues and hand-stitched patterns inspired by the collection of local and international textiles, ceramics and paintings at Towneley Hall Museum, where Burnley’s long, rich, cultural heritage is showcased.

A broader range of products, such as scarves and decorative brooches, emerged in response to market research. Products were sold at a number of arts fairs and shops in Lancashire and further afield.

The second phase, business development, was delivered jointly with another Prince’s Charity - Business In The Community - and was hosted at the University of Central Lancashire as part of its Business Incubation programme for alumni.

Two major local partners hosted the project: The University of Central Lancashire Easter Fashion Department, who integrated the project in its curriculum of studies, offered facilities, equipment and teachers’ knowledge; and Towneley Hall Museum, which opened its collection for study, hosted the project for one year and mounted its final exhibition.