ABOUT URBAN COTTAGE INDUSTRIES
We are the UK's leading manufacturer and supplier of vintage lighting and print products. We do not supply retailers and most of our products are exclusively available from our website.
We are a large, experienced team of 25 people, based at a production and distribution HQ in an old trouser factory in Yorkshire. Our extraordinary client list is here. Architects, interior designers, contractors, directors, artists and creatives from the UK and around the world rely on our unique products and outstanding service. We hold a huge amount of stock available for next day UK delivery as standard.
Our business started life in 2007 on a kitchen table in east London selling light fittings salvaged from textile mills and factories. As we've grown we've been able to track down the people and factories in the UK and Europe who are still able to make products using the skills and materials of the originals. We have become experts at the tiny details of authenticity.
Vintage Linotype print, letterpress and typography is our second love. In 2011 we secured a future for the UK's largest collection of Linotype or hot metal typesetting machinery and the people who make it work. We moved both parts of the business - light and print - to the old trouser factory. The marriage of print and light - and printers and lighters - has been more successful than we could have hoped.
The rapid growth of Urban Cottage Industries Ltd has been made possible by the extraordinary demand for our products, our outstanding customer service and the imagination and commitment of our employees.
Most orders (including bespoke or lighting or print products) received before 11am each working day are made, packed and shipped the same day for next day UK delivery. We've integrated ancient machinery, techniques and people with state-of-the-art e-commerce and cloud-based customer support platforms. Our technology enables us to move quickly and with great momentum - we launch a new product more often than every week and create a completely new full time position every 3 weeks.
Our growth has been entirely organic - we have no external investment or investors to satisfy. The way we have grown has allowed us to run our business in adherence to certain principles. These standards are really important to us and we’d like to share them with you.
Almost all our products are made by us in the UK or sourced by us from the UK or EU. We only import products or components from outside the EU where we cannot find them within the EU. If we have to source a product from outside the EU, the country of origin is made clear on our website. We make the products ourselves or source from the EU because it means we can be sure:
- We are providing safe, reliable and durable products. Our products are designed and built to offer many years of reliable service, some of our product designs have seen a century or more of service and have the potential to last for ever.
- We are minimising the environmental costs of production. Manufacturing in the EU is subject to rigorous rules on the protection of air and water quality, conservation of resources, protection of biodiversity, waste management and control of activities which have an adverse environmental impact. We think it is wrong to take the benefit of cheaper production overseas where the cost is environmental degradation for those living there.
- We are ensuring the people who make the products are paid and treated fairly. Workers in the EU have rights to minimum pay and maximum hours, to holiday and parental leave, and to redundancy and collective bargaining. We think it is wrong to shift production overseas where the cost is the exploitation of workers.
- The continued prosperity of the UK and EU depend on diverse economies. We could reduce costs by exporting or outsourcing production, but economic diversity and future prosperity can only be maintained if we commit to using and developing our manufacturing knowledge, skills and tooling.
All our products are shipped from our base in Yorkshire using packaging made from recycled and 100% recyclable paper and card. We don’t use any plastic or polystyrene packing.
We agree with - and are members of - the Living Wage Foundation. Paying the Living Wage is good for business, good for the individual and good for society. None of our employees are paid below the living wage. We have no staff on zero-hours contracts, no agency staff and no temporary staff. We follow ACAS guidance on improving working life through better employment relations. Our standard employment contract provides employees with more rights than the statutory minimum. We are members of the Employee Ownership Association and our employees have a 10% stake in the business through a Government approved Enterprise Management Incentive scheme. In addition to their stake in the capital value of the business, employees have a share in the profits through a bonus scheme which pays out 10% of dividends.
We've learned that almost anything is achievable when you’ve got the right people involved and motivated: our approach to employment relations gives us these people.
Our tax affairs
Our business relies on a stable and successful society. Our directors, our employees and their families rely on publicly funded health, education, social services and transport. For sure, we do not agree with every item of public spending, but that does not justify tax avoidance. Urban Cottage Industries Ltd is incorporated and domiciled in the UK. All our shareholders, directors and employees are domiciled in the UK. There are no holding companies or subsidiaries. All profits and income are subject to UK taxation.