The Albion Knitting Co. Ltd
The Albion Knitting Co. (external link) is an industrial scale fully fashioned flat knitter, knitting for Chanel, Alexander McQueen, Givenchy, See by Chloe, Nicole Fahri amongst many others.
They used the OIF loan to purchase four flat bed knitting machines. This enabled production capacity to increase by 20% and created a number of skilled manufacturing positions and apprenticeships. Since then business is booming and they now have 48 members of staff.
We met with Chris Murphy, MD, The Albion Knitting Co. Ltd to discuss how the OIF has helped the business.
The Tottenham area is one of the better choices because there is some manufacturing space left and many of the design talents in the luxury fashion industry are also living in this area. We are happy here and have no desire to leave. I would certainly recommend that other businesses move here.
How have you found working with Haringey Council?
Haringey Council has been helpful to us. We received money from the Opportunity Investment Fund and we are now working with the community and training up young apprentices.
The council provided good business support. There is very little money available for investment in manufacturing in London. We had the choice to go up north – put this business in, say, Bradford or the East Midlands and then qualify for money from the Regional Growth Fund – but we wanted to stay in London. Because London is not perceived as being ‘regional’ we couldn’t apply for that particular fund so the Opportunity Investment Fund money was vital really. A big ‘thank you’ to Haringey for that.
How did you find the OIF application process?
The application process was quite straightforward. The burden of paperwork was not unreasonable and it was quite clear what we needed to demonstrate while the decision-making process was quite swift.
How have you used the OIF loan fund?
The money we received has been put into the latest computer knitting machinery and we’ve created a number of new jobs. Since then business has been going really well. We’ve doubled our output and we’re now producing up to 5,000 garments a month. Our latest news is that we’ve made a deal with Chanel to become their first UK-based manufacturer. They have a factory in Scotland but they’ve run out of capacity so they’ve decided to sub-contract work to Albion. Apart from Albion they struggled to find anyone else in the UK who can produce knitwear to the quality that Chanel requires so we’re well chuffed!
Would you recommend the OIF?
I have been recommending the fund to other businesses. It’s a good opportunity for young businesses to get financing. The traditional channels for borrowing money when you’re a young business tend to be few and banks might not want to lend to new businesses. So the fact that Haringey Council is able to support younger companies with the OIF funding is very important to help those new businesses make a good start.