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Hereford Apparel up for business award

Clothing manufacturer Hereford Apparel has been shortlisted as a finalist in a local business competition fronted by Dragons’ Den entrepreneur Deborah Meaden.

The business, based in Eardisley, Herefordshire, has reached the final of the Newspaper Society’s Local Business Accelerator awards, in which local papers nominate firms in their area they believe should receive free advertising. The winner will be announced later this year and will get business mentoring from Meaden.

Hereford Apparel was set up by Gaynor Lewin after she found it difficult to find a UK manufacturer that would produce short runs. She initially launched it to support her womenswear label Jumping Ships, but has expanded it to others that want to manufacture in the UK.

“I want to be able to help other entrepreneurs,” she said. “These new brands need help and that’s what we are trying to give them. When I was looking to start Jumping Ships, I just couldn’t get the right help because I was only just starting out. Now I can help other people that are in the same situation.”

Hereford Apparel employs seven full-time machinists and is looking to move to bigger premises. “We had to retrain people to make sure we got the right skills, but I was prepared to invest in doing this,” said Lewin. “My view is that there are machinists in this country, but they aren’t used to looking for jobs in this area of work anymore, so it takes a proactive, positive attitude to find them.”

Jumping Ships launched for spring 11 and will show its short-order range at trade show Moda for the first time this season. The mainstream brand is sold at and from a Hereford factory outlet, as well as via a few indies including Phoenix Clothing in Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire.

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