Silk is still strong in Bolling­ton

Macclesfield Express - - MACCLESFIELD PEOPLE -

MAC­CLES­FIELD’S last stand­ing silk man­u­fac­turer has been suc­cess­fully flog­ging its wares in New York as part of its on­go­ing growth.

RA Smart Ltd has big plans for ex­pan­sion, which in­cludes in­vest­ing half a mil­lion pounds into the firm and mak­ing its state­side de­but in the hope that New York re­tail­ers will be­gin to stock the firm’s silk ties.

Ron Smart, owner of the busi­ness, said: “The New York show is part of our strat­egy for growth. The mes­sage we al­ways like to stress it that it is Mac­cles­field Silk, which is recog­nised across the world. Peo­ple like to see the Made in Eng­land tag, but they also like the as­so­ci­a­tion with Mac­cles­field, so we are do­ing as much as we can to en­cour­age that.”

He added: “It’s go­ing very well. The week of the show was the week they had all that snow so I wasn’t able to get out, but luck­ily three of my col­leagues did and were able to do the show.

“We’ve ar­ranged lots of ap­point­ments to fol­low up by our Amer­i­can agent which is very good news.”

He added: “We al­ready work with big­ger re­tail­ers like Ralph Lau­ren, but the point of this show was to de­velop with the smaller, in­de­pen­dent re­tailer.”

The busi­ness cur­rently has two brands; its “Robert Keyte” pre­mium band, which was in­her­ited af­ter Ron Smart be­came a share­holder in Robert Keyte Silks based in East Sus­sex, and the more bud­get “Barn­aby” range pro­duced in Bolling­ton.

The busi­ness em­ploys more than 80 peo­ple plus a num­ber of home sew­ers, but plans to take on an­other six mem­bers of full time staff and more home­work­ers. It also plans to in­crease its man­u­fac­tur­ing space and buy new ma­chin­ery.

Mac­cles­field MP David Rut­ley paid a visit to the fac­tory to talk about the plans for the busi­ness.

He said: “It is been great to fol­low the suc­cess of RA Smart’s busi­ness in re­cent years, and to see Mac­cles­field’s rich silk her­itage cel­e­brated in such an in­no­va­tive way.

“The busi­ness’ de­vel­op­ment and job cre­ation plans are great news for the lo­cal econ­omy, and I wish all the team well in their shows later this year.”

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