Reviving Leather Button Making in the UK
In between lock-downs in the summer of 2020, we came to hear about another ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ and wanted to tell you about it.
DKS Trimmings Ltd based in the Rhondda Valley in South Wales was established in 1950 by Mr Frank Blowers. He was approached to make leather buttons for Marks & Spencer in ‘unlimited’ numbers and took up the challenge, growing the business at its peak to employ almost 40 full-time people. Upon his retirement in the 1980’s his son, Dennis, took over the reins.
Nearly 40 years later and approaching 80 years of age, Dennis was gripped in the depth of the Covid pandemic. He was still making buttons in small runs into 2020, but with lock-down and various other issues, he found he had no choice but to ‘call it a day’. With no successor in line, things looked bleak.
The similarities between our interest in James Grove & Sons Ltd back in 2013 and DKS could not have been more striking. For once again we were facing the potential extinction of a specialist button making branch in the UK and so we agreed on the spot to do something. How could we not get involved?
It has taken quite a while, all things said and done, for Dennis to unwind 70 years of production and ready the machines for delivery to us in Bourton-on-the-Water. But on Wednesday, 10th March it happened.
It may take us a while, but we have taken the first steps on this new journey. Please don’t expect any leather buttons to be delivered any time soon, though. Setting up and learning this craft will take time – months, we expect. But we’ll drop you a line from time-to-time telling you how we are getting on. Exciting times.