Red Dragon Flagmakers news and reviews - read all about it!

In the news

Here we list some of the publications and media posts which refer to work we have delivered or collaborated on with others. For day to day posts, please connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and/or LinkedIn (links in the footer panel at the bottom of the website).

Oh.... and we don't pay to enter awards, so any that we've been lucky enough to have won and are listed have been awarded on merit not on budgetary ability to participate.... 

Everything is listed in reverse chronological order, the most recent first. 

Social Entrepreneur Index 2020

UMI social entrepreneur index 2020 Red Dragon Flagmakers Jo Ashburner


2020 Global Business Awards

September 2020 brought the fantastic news that Red Dragon Flagmakers has been awarded the title of BEST FULL SERVICE FLAG MAKING (Wales) in 2020 by the 2020 Global Business Awards, sponsored by www.corp-today.com.

In 2019, Red Dragon Flagmakers were awarded BEST FULL SERVICE FLAG MAKING (Wales) in 2019 by the AI Business Excellence Awards.

Three More Welsh Businesses To Produce Scrubs For Health Workers

A Clydach firm which specialises in the production of flags for films, TV, festivals, and castles among other uses, and two independent seamstresses, from Swansea and Carmarthen, will all be making vital supplies to support the NHS in Wales.

Work is under way at Red Dragon Flagmakers, which has already received fabric, while seamstresses Tesni Owen and Bethan Jones Boutique are set to start producing scrubs this week.

The Welsh Government linked them with Alexandra, a UK-based company that supplies the NHS with scrubs but is heavily reliant on overseas markets for both material and production, after securing a large amount of fabric from within the UK market when it was notified the Far East and sub-continent would be partially closing down production due to coronavirus.

It also managed the logistics of delivering fabric from Alexandra to the three companies to speed up the production process and support the supply chain.

Together the three businesses will produce 1,000 scrubs per week.

Bethan Jones, of Bethan Jones Boutique, said: “As the owner of boutiques in South Wales it is an honour for myself and my team of skilled staff to work in association with the NHS at this difficult time. In the fight against the COVID 19 virus it is vital that all front line workers are protected. In the production of the necessary PPE, assurance is given that all the possible safety will be given to the wonderful people who risk their lives in the fight against the virus.”

Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport Lee Waters said: “The response to the First Minister’s call for help in making PPE from Welsh companies has been fantastic.

“As a result we are currently self-sufficient in manufacturing scrubs in Wales for the first time, and the efforts of these three businesses will bolster that further.

“There are few positive stories as a result of this pandemic but bringing back overseas jobs producing critical medical equipment and anchoring them into our Welsh economy is most certainly one.

“Our healthcare heroes are doing an incredible job saving lives by providing high-quality care for people with coronavirus, and we will continue to do all we can to support and protect them.”

Three more manufacturing businesses to produce scrubs for Wales’ healthcare heroes: Red Dragon Flagmakers scrubs pic

 

29 APR 2020

Three more manufacturing businesses to produce scrubs for Wales’ healthcare heroes

Tri busnes gweithgynhyrchu arall yn dechrau gwneud sgrybs ar gyfer arwyr gofal iechyd Cymru

Three small Welsh manufacturing businesses are joining the fight against coronavirus by producing scrubs for Wales’ healthcare heroes, Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport Lee Waters has announced.

A Clydach firm which specialises in the production of flags for films, TV, festivals, and castles among other uses, and two independent seamstresses, from Swansea and Carmarthen, will all be making vital supplies to support the NHS in Wales.

Work is under way at Red Dragon Flagmakers, which has already received fabric, while seamstresses Tesni Owen and Bethan Jones Boutique are set to start producing scrubs this week.

The Welsh Government linked them with Alexandra, a UK-based company that supplies the NHS with scrubs but is heavily reliant on overseas markets for both material and production, after securing a large amount of fabric from within the UK market when it was notified the Far East and sub-continent would be partially closing down production due to coronavirus.

It also managed the logistics of delivering fabric from Alexandra to the three companies to speed up the production process and support the supply chain.

Together the three businesses will produce 1,000 scrubs per week.

Bethan Jones, of Bethan Jones Boutique, said: “As the owner of boutiques in South Wales it is an honour for myself and my team of skilled staff to work in association with the NHS at this difficult time. In the fight against the COVID 19 virus it is vital that all front line workers are protected. In the production of the necessary PPE, assurance is given that all the possible safety will be given to the wonderful people who risk their lives in the fight against the virus.”

Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport Lee Waters said: “The response to the First Minister’s call for help in making PPE from Welsh companies has been fantastic.

“As a result we are currently self-sufficient in manufacturing scrubs in Wales for the first time, and the efforts of these three businesses will bolster that further.

“There are few positive stories as a result of this pandemic but bringing back overseas jobs producing critical medical equipment and anchoring them into our Welsh economy is most certainly one.

“Our healthcare heroes are doing an incredible job saving lives by providing high-quality care for people with coronavirus, and we will continue to do all we can to support and protect them.”

*Source: https://media.service.gov.wales/news/three-more-manufacturing-businesses-to-produce-scrubs-for-wales-healthcare-heroes

Swansea-based flag makers refocus manufacturing to supply medical clothing for frontline staff 

*source:  https://wales.coop/caernarfon-based-flag-makers-refocus-manufacturing-to-supply-medical-clothing-for-frontline-staff/

Red Dragon Flagmakers have made an extraordinary effort in diversifying to supply the UK NHS as well as frontline workers in care homes, pharmacies, individual agency carers and surgeries with the ‘Scrubs for All’ initiative.

By Ben Bostock · May 14, 2020

See this page in: Cymraeg

Where did the business and idea originate?

The original Red Dragon Flagmakers business started in 1969 under the name of Mott and Jones, when my father was asked to make the flags and banners for the investiture of Prince Charles at Caernarfon Castle – something we recently remade (50 years on) for the TV series the Crown. After his retirement the business closed and we restarted it together as a social mission business formally launching in 2014. Since then we have focussed on the production of custom one off traditional stitched and quality printed coat of arms, flags, banners and bunting for private, public sector and corporate clients. We have clients worldwide. We make flags for the European Space Agency, the North Pacific Fisheries Commission in Japan, film and TV (Vanity Fair, The Crown, Endeavour, Les Mis, Anthropoid, Sex Education to name a few), castles, councils, The Royal Yacht Squadron and other sailing clubs, churches, cathedrals, the Palace of Westminster and many private individuals who want a unique flag to fly in their garden or grab attention outside their business premises. As a social mission business we spend our profits on the development of people introduced to us by strategic partner charities and agencies who support individuals with mental health, behavioural and education issues. We make all work ready and employ a small percentage.

Tell us how you have adapted to contribute to supporting the NHS frontline staff?

We are a sewing business and have many industrial lockstitch and overlocking machines with large cutting tables and a willing team. We continue to make flags as its important to maintain our core business revenue stream for long term survival but with the arrival of the pandemic our order book to supply festivals and events vanished overnight so we connected with the Welsh Gov supply chain. We now make navy scrubs for Alexandra who have the contract to make scrubs for the NHS UK wide and in addition to this we have our own GOFUNDME fundraiser SCRUBS FOR ALL, the funds from which pay forward on our ability to make red scrubs sets to donate out to front line workers in care homes, pharmacies, individual agency carers and surgeries. Its been a steep learning curve but the skills we have developed over many years have proven to be flexible and transferable.

 

How has your delivery model been affected by the Covid-19 lockdown situation?

Bar four members of staff on furlough we have kept the business open and busy. We have ensured staff safety by collecting and returning some home every day with private transport and all have committed to respecting the national lockdown by not exposing themselves to any danger by only being at home or at work – no mean feat for some of our team who are working hungry and on minimal sleep through Ramadan!

"The social business sector is unliterally becoming the go to standard business model and we should all be extremely proud of what we have achieved. Onwards and upwards!"

Jo Ashburner, Red Dragon Flagmakers

How has being part of the existing supply chain helped you deliver outside it?

It wasn’t easy to hook into the Welsh Government supply chain but with persistence we have done so and once we had the Gerber patterns required for the official fabric and style of patterns, we used this knowledge to source the fundraiser fabrics and make for the fundraiser. We originally set out to make masks as our contribution but felt that without certified fabrics we couldn’t hand on heart make anything not fit for purpose which is why we reverted to making scrubs.

Has Covid-19 resulted in any permanent changes for the better?

Its early days and no-one can predict what the future holds but those who know me will agree I have always been vocal (and pushy) about how important it is to support manufacturing in Wales and the UK. If nothing else this pandemic has shown the World how important it is to have things made and manufactured close to home – we have made ourselves vulnerable as a country outsourcing everything – manufacturing, farming and more and Covid19 could be a timely turning point back to self-sufficiency. Wales was a hotbed of manufacturing 30 years ago, manufacturing clothing for top brands and for the World market. Back in the day my father helped Welsh Gov with the re-training and re-deployment of staff from the xxx factories in the valleys at the same time that other factories were closing down to manufacture first in Morocco and then further afield in South East Asia. Its not a new story to those of us brought up in Wales and we remember too well how the closure of factories like Burberry in Porth decimated local villages and the livelihoods of the local workers. Burberry went to Hong Kong, a move which failed and they came back to the UK to set up again in Leeds, supported by the UK Gov but not for some reason back to where they had started. We have an ageing population and veritable army of skilled machinists from the textile goods production industry which are underutilised and capable of working – we need to engage and reemploy as well as nurture the next generation to join those industries. I hope that our efforts and the efforts of the other micro, small and larger companies who have survived thus far will be called upon as examples to follow when future plans are made.

Can you give us a summary of what has been achieved?

Quite simply we are determined to survive and with the exception of a £10K grant from the Government via the council we are surviving on sales on flags and the production of scrubs for the supply chain (payment for which only comes through 30 days after we’ve delivered the 000s required. We’re not a charity so there we have no access to grant pots; our social mission business doesn’t fit into any predetermined funding parameters so there’s no route there so the only way to get through this is to work harder and smarter. I believe that the businesses that survive this will thrive after this pandemic – its what pushes us through.

Did you have to overcome any major obstacles / challenges?

It was an uphill struggle hooking into the Welsh Gov supply chain but over time I have built a strong network of contacts and by hook and by crook we made it happen.

Any there any members of staff / community you would like to give special mention to?

I have an incredible team, staff and community volunteers alike. All have put their backs to the wheel and none have made a drama out of the situation, none have taken time off and all without exception have worked hard and longer hours with music on in the background and lots of happy chatter to keep things going. I am very blessed to be surrounded by them.

I would like to thank Welsh Gov for including us in the supply chain and a big thank you to everyone at Life Science hub, the Covid SWARM team and everyone pulling together to make things happen so quickly and efficiently.

Importantly and by no means last, we would all like to give a big shout out to Ewan Tozer at Orangebox for cutting hundreds of metres of red fabric for the fundraiser free of charge and to thank Dr David Woolf of St Lazararus Church in Cardiff for the support and generous donations of time and money he and his colleagues have made to the SCRUBS FOR ALL fundraiser.

If you had one message for the social business sector right now, what would it be?

The social business sector is unliterally becoming the go to standard business model and we should all be extremely proud of what we have achieved. Onwards and upwards!

Red Dragon Flagmakers has received business consultancy support and advice from Social Business Wales, funded by the European Regional Development Fund and delivered by the Wales Co-operative Centre. 

SME View: Flying the flag for British manufacturing

In our second article featuring SMEs in the defence arena, we speak to Jo Ashburner, CEO and Operations Director of Red Dragon Flagmakers in Swansea.

*source: https://www.contracts.mod.uk/do-features-and-articles/sme-view-flying-the-flag-for-british-manufacturing/

With an interesting career spanning the design, manufacture, retail and wholesale of her own brand of eco baby products through to flag making via business development in leadership and management for academia and achieving a first class honours in design as a mature student as a single mum, Jo is now an elected member of the Social Business Wales advisory group, a Role Model for Welsh Government, a small business mentor and a passionate supporter of the social enterprise and BCORP movements.

Her life has taken her worldwide and most recently brought her back to Wales to work on what was originally the business set up by her father in 1969 when he was asked to make the flags for the investiture of the Prince of Wales at Caernarfon Castle.

In our second article featuring SME s in the defence arena, we speak to Jo Ashburner Farr, CEO and Operations Director of Red Dragon Flagmakers in Swansea.

Jo reinvented the 45 year old flag manufacturing business in 2011 when she scored the contract to supply traditional sewn quality flags for retail to the John Lewis Partnership for the Olympics and Jubilee year. In 2014, Red Dragon Flagmakers was launched officially as an incorporated social profit enterprise and the same year appointed as Official Supplier of flags to the NATO Summit. Two years and numerous client projects later, the company won the contract to supply flags to the European Space Agency in 2016.

Although Red Dragon Flagmakers produces 100% UK made traditional sewn and quality printed flags and banners for the Welsh Government, the Vatican, the BBC and Hollywood film-makers, it is perhaps surprising to note that the thriving business does not supply their world class products to the MOD.

We asked Jo why this is the case and for her thoughts on how the MOD could increase its SME spend.

You have a varied and successful career – winning UK National Businesswoman of the Year in 2006 and running an award-winning company – why flags?

Seeing first hand how manufacturing in South Wales has fallen on its knees has been a key motivator for me as a Neath and Valley girl. When my Father retired in 2008 I saw opportunity in what he had built up – manufacturing quality products and supporting skills and jobs for life – and although the business experienced a glitch between when he retired and when I reinvented what he’d started – I made a conscious decision to try and turn the tide.

I see flags as a bit like velcro, they’re not a super sexy or overly mainstream object …. but where would we be without them? I didn’t set out to make flags, in fact I avoided joining the family business so much so that I went abroad, but I suppose it was inevitable really and now I wouldn’t do anything else.

Life experience and a degree from UWTSD in design has enabled me to see beyond the obvious and no two days are the same in the workshop for me and my team.

In our second article featuring SME s in the defence arena, we speak to Jo Ashburner Farr, CEO and Operations Director of Red Dragon Flagmakers in Swansea.

Flags are everywhere. Seems obvious but now that I’ve said it, and no doubt you’ll start noticing that they’re everywhere. Every day flags are shown on the TV or used for historical purposes, they are flown at festivals, over castles or schools, by councils and businesses, by someone somewhere wanting to shout out about what they do, who they are and what they stand for. And that goes for our armed forces too.

We make a lot of fully sewn regimental flags and banners, either for barracks, ceremonial use or for funerals. I personally helped redesign the flag for the Royal Marines in Cardiff and am currently working on the revised Welsh Government Fisheries flag. I’ve recently responded to a direct request from the Canadian navy to quote for the supply of flags to their fleet – they say they want ‘the real thing’, not flags made digitally and for two years running we have made multiple sets of fully sewn traditional signal and code flags (41x 2 yarders per set) for an Icelandic fishing fleet. We make flags for merchant shipping, ceremonial flags for UK charities and a university in Saudi Arabia. But …. Here’s the thing, we have been unable to get direct contact or contracts from the British Ministry of Defence.

What problems have you experienced in tendering for MOD contracts?

The problem we see is that flags are generally bundled up in huge tenders with clothing, which are then contracted out to bigger firms with more experience perhaps in the clothing side of things than the flag element of the tender and so the flag element gets sub contracted out to other suppliers with a price increment at every stage.

Flags are an important part of the military tradition and should ideally be allocated a standalone section. As it stands at the moment, the MOD and therefore public money is being spent on too many middle men when all that needs to happen is for the specialists to be contacted and contracted directly. Pretty straight forward really.

One of the main reasons this isn’t happening, in my view, is that when a tender is written, the person writing the spec gives too many non-specifics – based perhaps on historical requirements rather than current best practice (fabrics, certifications etc) – these generalised specifications mean that the person filling in the purchase form doesn’t really know what they are asking for and so much is lost in translation. By the time the tender goes live and flags as a requirement are bundled together as we’ve said with clothing, the actual MOD requirement and best case scenario is lost.

Granted there are codes and regulations in place to help ensure that public money isn’t being wasted, but the procurement side needs to understand what it is asking for and when asking for flags it would be a good idea to ask the experts who make them every day. In the UK. And have done for years.

My father has the most incredible library of military, civilian and heraldic books – probably one of the finest and most comprehensive in private hands and we are able to deliver with precision and authority when consulted on vexillogical matters on a regular basis. We have all the information, we have the experience, the credibility, the authority, but we don’t have the access to the purchasing decision makers.

In our second article featuring SME s in the defence arena, we speak to Jo Ashburner Farr, CEO and Operations Director of Red Dragon Flagmakers in Swansea.

Made in the UK – the new black….?. The manufacturing and textile goods manufacturing industries in the UK specifically have been decimated in the last 30 years as buyers have looked to the Far East for cheaper goods. So often if you’re prepared to pay less then you should be prepared to buy more often and get less long term value.

This was happening so much in the US that the Senate passed a law a few years back declaring that all flags flown over public and military buildings in the USA and on US soil must now, by law, be made in the US.

There were 25,000 jobs in Wales alone making textile goods for the likes of M&S, Dewhurst and Gossard back in the day but now there are no more than 1,200 sewing jobs battling to survive against a backdrop of cheaper prices from India, the Far East and Eastern Europe. Did you know for example that our British Army uniforms are made in India….? We should be doing the same in the UK and consider having our forces uniforms made here too – if not all then at least a fair proportion.

How do you think this will change, bearing in mind the drive for public spend to engage and do more business with SMEs?

Firstly, it is fundamentally important to consider social outcomes as well as pricing when spending public money on anything including in this instance, public defence.

Enter the new breed of businesses, the social enterprise. Red Dragon Flagmakers is the first and only registered bona fide social enterprise Flagmaker in the UK and worldwide.

Secondly from a procurement perspective, Red Dragon Flagmakers falls into the SME category which I feel somewhat unfairly includes businesses with anything up to 250 employees. I don’t think that categorisation is relevant to the majority of actual small medium enterprises in the UK. Independent businesses don’t generally have those numbers of employees –and if they do they’re more likely to be part of a large multinational or bigger supply chain. Employing more than than 25 people in a business, let alone a manufacturing business, indicates you are a substantial business.

In our second article featuring SME s in the defence arena, we speak to Jo Ashburner Farr, CEO and Operations Director of Red Dragon Flagmakers in Swansea.

Thirdly and from the perspective of buying flags for our defence forces at least, there should be more emphasis on buying British first, a concerted effort to keep public money in the circular UK economy. We must nurture and keep skills alive – it can’t all be about IT and digital, it can’t be all about technology – you can’t wear technology, you can’t eat technology – let’s focus on manual productive skills before they die out and take what little is left of our industrial heritage with them. It’s nothing to do with politics or Brexit, its everything to do with retaining skills and industry to build a stronger country and community – and by the way isn’t that what the defence ministry is there to protect?

What is the social enterprise element of your business?

Making use of the traditional skills, almost reverently, that my father had developed with his own team over many many years of trial and error gave me the platform to launch the business in a social enterprise format.

The Public Services (Social Value) Act came into force on 31 January 2013 requiring that people who commission public services are obliged to think about how they can also secure wider social, economic and environmental benefits via their spend. Before starting the procurement process, commissioners are advised to think about whether the services they are going to buy, or the way they are going to buy them, could secure these benefits for their area or stakeholders. The Act is a tool to help commissioners get more value for money out of procurement. It also encourages commissioners to talk to their local provider market or community to design better services, often finding new and innovative solutions to difficult problems.

We’ve trained and rehabilitated 84 people in the past three years, we employ eight staff and we work closely with charities, agencies and business bodies to give access and the opportunities available to as many people previously marginalised from mainstream employment as possible. We train, rehabilitate and employ ex-forces personnel, people who have done time, those who due to personal circumstances have no education, no home, no safety, no future….. and we do all this while we manufacture, diversify, market and sell our products and continually meet our embedded social mission and expectations. We are 100% reliant on sales of our products and are not grant dependent. We are in fact a proper grown up viable and thriving business.

In our second article featuring SME s in the defence arena, we speak to Jo Ashburner Farr, CEO and Operations Director of Red Dragon Flagmakers in Swansea.

What do you see as the issues with getting access to the MOD and their procurement spend?

I’ve highlighted the need for a breakdown of actual product and expertise per tender but that will inevitably take a long time to analyse, engineer or react to as is the way with public sector lead times, so meanwhile, this business will make world class products and the public sector and MOD will continue to spend more public money than is needed on a product that in the end, will have less value and worth to the people it is serving.

What would you suggest?

As I’ve said, splitting bids would make it more accessible to SMEs around the UK.

The principle of publishing and making tenders online is very good, but more thought needs to be given to what is being asked for.

Smaller tranches will mean that more businesses will be able to get involved. We wouldn’t bid for a million pound plus contract as it currently stands purely because we’re too busy with our other clients who pay up front on a short turnaround, but we would team up with other businesses as a cooperative and collaborate on delivering a high spec, excellent quality product with ‘can do’ local and accessible customer service if the opportunity was given to us.

We don’t rely on MOD contracts to survive as a business – it would be fool hardy to put all your chances in one pot, not just from the MOD but from any one source of revenue. Just as well I hear you say, but wouldn’t it be a great boost to our UK business and to small UK businesses in general if we were given a look in on the opportunities available?

In our second article featuring SME s in the defence arena, we speak to Jo Ashburner Farr, CEO and Operations Director of Red Dragon Flagmakers in Swansea.

The alternative would be a real social outcome focus on the spend.

I would challenge the MOD to consider this business when tendering for their next multi-million pound contract for flags specifically. In return we would guarantee fair and considered terms and do what we’re already doing to a larger scale, training up and employing more people with the skills needed to make the traditional sewn flags required.

You couldn’t buy that kind of goodwill.

 

Special report - Sky News - How Brexit changed Britain, 25th September 2019

 

The B word and Red Dragon's approach as a social enterprise and the Brexit fiasco.

Brexit, B word

Click the image to read the Pioneers Post Article by Lee Mannion published May 2019.

** AWARD ALERT ** 

AI Business Excellence awards

May 2019 saw the arrival of the amazing news that Red Dragon Flagmakers is awarded the 'Best Full-Service Flag Making Company 2019 - Wales' in the AI Business Excellence awards.

"Acquisition International prides itself on the validity of its awards and winners. The awards are given solely on merit and are awarded to commend those most deserving for their ingenuity and hard work, distinguishing them from their competitors and proving them worthy of recognition."

Acquisition International Business Excellence Awards 2019 Best Full-Service Flag Making Company 2019 - Wales

Click to access industry winner's booklet (we're under 'R'!!)

Pioneers Post

 

Make it British - podcast, November 2018

Make It British Podcast Jo Ashburner Farr manufacturing in South Wales and the valleys with Katie Hill

Click image to listen.

Jo Ashburner Farr of Red Dragon wins a place in the Wise100 Natwest awards 2018

The NatWest WISE100 (Women in Social Enterprise 100), produced annually by Pioneers Post in partnership with NatWest bank, recognises the most inspiring and influential women in social enterprise, impact investment and mission-driven business.  Jo Ashburner Farr, Red Dragon Flagmakers' boss wins place on 2018 list.

Wales Online

A short article on our visit to London - read it HERE 26th September 2019

Guests of the US Ambassador to London, 24th September 2018

Guests of the US Ambassador London Red Dragon Flagmakers

Click image to read all about our memorable day at the US Embassy in London and taking tea with the Ambassador in his private quarters.

Six months to go and BREXIT, 22nd September 2018

Jo Ashburner Farr Red Dragon Flagmakers talks BREXIT with six months to go

Click image above to show our boss Jo Ashburner Farr talking to the BBC about how she feels about her business with six months to go until Brexit.

BBC Radio 5 live - 19/09/2018

BBC Radio 5 Live (click the link below from 1:26) Our boss prepared to risk putting her head above the trenches and admit to wanting to leave Europe.

 

Sunday Supplement 26th August 2018

Sunday Supplement 26th August 2018 Jo Ashburner Farr on Brexit BBC Radio Wales

Click image above to listen (start at 06:02).

Saturday Telegraph, Review, 11th August 2018

Article discussing Vanity Fair and showing the fully sewn battle flags we made for the production.

Saturday Telegraph review Vanity Fair drama showing battle flags by Red Dragon Flagmakers

South Wales Business Review, published by University of Wales Trinity St David, August 2018 (pages 6 and 7)

 

SEMrush June 2018

Second largest market internet share flagmaker rating this week. Not bad for a relatively young .  Red Dragon Flagmakers internet rating SEMrush

 

Grant Thornton - an instinct for success - Welsh success stories 

"The Welsh economy is characterised by inspirational people and brilliant organisations that create a real vibrancy in our region. Our aim for the campaign in Wales is to showcase these and set the seed for relationships to build and collaborations to occur which otherwise might never happen." (click image below to view external listing).

Grant Thornton Welsh Success Stories Red Dragon Flagmakers

100 FSB Women, 2018

 

FSB, business of the month, February 2018

Federation of small businesses, business of the month Feb 2018, Red Dragon Flagmakers

(click the image to read all about it!)

BBC Radio 5 Live - Brexit Cities

Jo Ashburner Farr speaks to Mark Hutchings live on air with Vice President of Swansea University, Professor Marc Clements 31st January 2018. Click image to listen - slot starts at 2:37.

BBC Radio 5 live Jo Ashburner Farr Professor Marc Clements Mark Hutchings live on air BREXIT

Jo Ashburner Farr and Professor Marc Clements of School of Management Swansea University with Mark Hutchings of BBC Radio 5 Live talking Brexit cities 31st Jan 2018

Ministry of Fisheries

Lesley Griffiths, Welsh Government officially launched the new Ministry of Fisheries Welsh ensign, designed and exclusively made for the Welsh Government by Red Dragon Flagmakers and authorised by HM the Queen. Lesley Griffiths and Jo Ashburner Farr launch new official Ministry of Fisheries ensign January 2018

Fisheries patrol boat and ensign Red Dragon Flagmakers in dock 2019

Swansea Social Enterprise Flagmakers welcome Peter Holbrook, CEO of Social Enterprise UK, to its Board

Peter Holbrook CEO Social Enterprise UK

Swansea based Red Dragon Flagmakers™ continue to punch above their weight as they today confirmed that Peter Holbrook CBE, CEO of Social Enterprise UK has joined the Board as Trustee Director.

Re-launched from a family business established in 1969 as a not for profit social enterprise in January 2014, Red Dragon Flagmakers continues to go from strength to strength.  The business which rehabilitates through skills training and the production of high end traditional sewn and quality printed flags – all 100% made in the company’s workshop - is bucking the trend and this latest appointment follows the appointment of other eminent Trustee Directors including Sian James, MP for Swansea East (Rtd) and Andrew Evans, Partner at Geldards Law firm in Cardiff as they build an enviable Board of strong leaders.

Jo Ashburner Farr, CEO and Ops Director of Red Dragon Manufacturing Ltd, the company behind the Red Dragon Flagmakers eponymous brand says ‘….this really is another huge achievement for our micro business.  We make World class products in the UK which stand out in quality and workmanship on their own merits... and if driving the success of the business forward in 2017 wasn’t enough of a challenge, we also rehabilitate people in the Welsh community through training in practical skills for sustainable and long term employment. We are one of the few companies remaining who make traditional sewn flags and we’re thrilled that the business community and our customers have embraced what we do with belief in our mission and our products.  Having industry respected leaders on our Board supports the strength of our business and market position and shows that even though we re-branded and started the business in its current format just over three years ago, we have made great headway in gaining the market share and establishing ourselves as a ‘go to and ‘can do’ business model with a great future.

Peter Holbrook CBE says ‘it is important to note that in times of austerity, Red Dragon has been able to quickly adapt to changing client requirements. It is rare to find a social enterprise in the manufacturing sector and on a personal as well as professional level I am keen to be part of the growth of this game changing enterprise.’

Look out for the custom flags Red Dragon Flagmakers made for the new Dr Who and Endeavour series recently, and if you watched SSGB, you will have seen their work in almost every minute of the series.  All flags were harmed in the making of the series.

Our thoughts on public spend and keeping it British

Aged 16 to 25? Looking for a life changing FUNDED experience?
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@ChallengeWales has just the thing! GO FOR IT!

Please share with your friends, families, students and local youth clubs etc - lets get the word out there and change some lives! 

Challenge Wales partners with red Dragon Flagmakers

 BBC Wales and BBC Radio Wales

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08k1wdl#play

(Click and listen from 1:14:30m)

Red Dragon Flagmakers and Brexit discussion

 

BBC Wales Today Brexit Swansea Red Dragon Flagmakers

BBC Wales today, interview on Brexit and the triggering of Article 50 at Red Dragon Flagmakers

BBC Radio Wales Sunday Supplement Jo Ashburner Red Dragon Flagmakers talking Brexit with the CBI

(Click and listen from 29:50m)

Good Evening Wales BBC Radio Wales Jo Ashburner Red Dragon Flagmakers

 (Click and listen from 01:17:21)

FSB Regional Voice, South Wales November / December 2016

Insider magazine Red Dragon Flagmakers European Space Agency contract

BBC Radio Wales Brexit, Jo Ashburner, Red Dragon Flagmakers

Click HERE to listen to commentary (17:00)

World Intellectual Property Day 2016, Red Dragon Flagmakers, Jo Ashburner, Welsh Government and UWTSD

World IP (Intellectual Property) Day, Jo Ashburner, Welsh Government and UWTSD

Click HERE for press link (page 11)

Flying the flag for Wales on St David's Day

First Minister Carwyn Jones lifts the Red Dragon Flagmakers Welsh Flag from the new Aston Martin at the Welsh Assembly February 2016

This press release was published under the 2011 - 2016 Welsh government

Red Dragon Flagmakers literally ‘fly the flag’ for Wales - their hand finished traditional sewn flags are never more evident than on St David’s Day as Welsh flags adorn buildings around the globe. Monday 29 February 2016.
But last week the Swansea based social enterprise landed one of their largest and most unusual order to date – a 10 metre by 8 metre Welsh Dragon flag for a car.

It was a very special car – and a very special occasion. The huge flag was used to wrap and conceal Aston Martin’s new DBX prototype vehicle outside the Welsh Government’s Cathays Park headquarters in Cardiff.

First Minister Carwyn Jones and Aston Martin CEO Dr Andrew Palmer unveiled the vehicle following the announcement that the iconic British car maker is to open a manufacturing facility in St Athan creating more than 750 highly-skilled jobs.

Jo Ashburner Farr, boss at Red Dragon Flagmakers said it was a hugely proud moment for her and the team – and also one of their most challenging.

She said:

We were asked by the Welsh Government if we could make a huge flag to cover something - but weren’t told what it was because it was top secret. It also had to be a sewn flag rather than printed as the highest quality possible was required. When we saw the images of the unveiling we were really excited and delighted to have been a part of something so special for Wales.

“It has to have been one of the largest flags we have been asked to make – it took four people three days and two nights working flat out to complete. The weight of the material meant three people had to work together to get it through the sewing machines – it was definitely a challenge – but we pride ourselves on our ‘can do’ attitude.”

“We're so pleased to have been a (small) part of this great event. Bringing manufacturing back to Wales is a subject very close to our hearts here at Red Dragon Flagmakers and as a social enterprise we do everything we can to nurture the skills for sustainable long term employment in our local community.”

First Minister Carwyn Jones said:

I’d like to thank Red Dragon Flagmakers as they were given a very tight deadline and came up with the goods on time and made a great job.

“It was a memorable moment when the announcement was made and the car, which was wrapped in a distinctive Welsh Red Dragon flag, was unveiled.”

Click HERE to see the press link1 and HERE for press link2.

The Wave and Red Dragon Flagmakers celebrate!

Red Dragon Flagmakers literally ‘fly the flag’ for Wales - their hand finished traditional sewn flags are never more evident than on St David’s Day as Welsh flags adorn buildings around the globe.

But last week the Swansea based social enterprise landed one of their largest and most unusual order to date – a 10 metre by 8 metre Welsh Dragon flag for a car.  It was a very special car – and a very special occasion. The huge flag was used to wrap and conceal Aston Martin’s new DBX prototype vehicle outside the Welsh Government’s Cathays Park headquarters in Cardiff.

First Minister Carwyn Jones and Aston Martin CEO Dr Andrew Palmer unveiled the vehicle following the announcement that the iconic British car maker is to open a manufacturing facility in St Athan creating more than 750 highly-skilled jobs.

Jo Ashburner Farr, boss at Red Dragon Flagmakers said it was a hugely proud moment for her and the team – and also one of their most challenging.

She said: “We were asked by the Welsh Government if we could make a huge flag to cover something - but weren’t told what it was because it was top secret. It also had to be a sewn flag rather than printed as the highest quality possible was required. When we saw the images of the unveiling we were really excited and delighted to have been a part of something so special for Wales.

“It has to have been one of the largest flags we have been asked to make – it took four people three days and two nights working flat out to complete. The weight of the material meant three people had to work together to get it through the sewing machines – it was definitely a challenge – but we pride ourselves on our ‘can do’ attitude.”

“We're so pleased to have been a (small) part of this great event. Bringing manufacturing back to Wales is a subject very close to our hearts here at Red Dragon Flagmakers and as a social enterprise we do everything we can to nurture the skills for sustainable long term employment in our local community.”

First Minister Carwyn Jones said: “I’d like to thank Red Dragon Flagmakers as they were given a very tight deadline and came up with the goods on time and made a great job.  It was a memorable moment when the announcement was made and the car, which was wrapped in a distinctive Welsh Red Dragon flag, was unveiled.”

Click HERE to view the press link.

Devolution 'rush' warning on growth from CBI leader. CEO of Red Dragon Flagmakers comments

BBC Radio Wales Devolution 'rush' warning on growth from CBI leader

Jo Ashburner, chief executive of Red Dragon Flagmakers in Swansea, said she was "cautious" about deadlines on devolution, such as Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb's call for the parties to agree a common plan by St David's Day.

"A national identity is one thing, business is another and for a business to succeed we have to work cross-border."

Click HERE to view the press link. 

Manufacturing Entrepreneur of the Year, 2015

Manufacturing Entrepreneur of the year 2015, Jo Ashburner, Red Dragon Flagmakers

Produced by the organisers of the Great British Entrepreneur Awards and the publishers of Fresh Business Thinking, the Entrepreneur Wales Awards acknowledges the hard work and inspiring stories of Welsh entrepreneurs and businesses in Wales.

Click HERE to see the press link

Natwest SE100 - social impact health check

Natwest SE100 and Red Dragon Manufacturing (Flagmakers) Social mission

Click HERE to see the press link.

Red Dragon Flagmakers invests in print technology from Roland DG

Red Dragon Flagmakers is a traditional sewn flag maker based in South Wales supplying flags to all market sectors. In 2014 it was the Official Supplier of ceremonial flags to the NATO Wales Summit 2014 in Newport. Red Dragon Flagmakers is run by CEO and 2006 UK Businesswoman of the Year, Jo Ashburner, and a team of trustees. The company prints and sews a wide range of the highest quality flags and textile goods and is the only flagmaker in the UK incorporated and run as a social enterprise.

South Wales-based social enterprise, Red Dragon Flagmakers, has recently invested in a Roland Texart RT-640 dye sublimation printer for its new soft signage and flag making production facility in HMP Parc prison in Bridgend, South Wales. The new machine, will sit at the heart of a new textile production facility, which was officially opened in May 2015, and aims to provide inmates with the necessary ‘real-world skills’ to help them secure stable employment once they are released.

Says Jo Ashburner, CEO of Red Dragon Flagmakers: “Red Dragon is a well-established and nationally recognised business, founded by my father in the 1960s and run as a not-for-profit social enterprise, focused on working with those recently released from prison as part of their rehabilitation process. Late last year, we approached local prison, HMP Parc Prison - run by security giant G4S, to propose establishing a print production plant inside the prison itself, a social enterprise scheme to help reduce recidivism rates."

“The aim of the prison-based printing facility is to offer a degree of continuity from ‘inside to outside’. As part of this, those who work in the prison facility are offered a job, at our flag-making plant in Swansea, upon release, providing them with a chance to immediately use all the skills they have acquired.”

The Texart RT-640, which will sit at the heart of the prison’s production facility, has been developed specifically for the dye sublimation market, delivering superb quality, vivid colour and highly stable performance, enabling users to add real value through the production of a wide range of profitable applications including apparel, soft signage, flags, interior décor, fashion and original goods.

With a choice of dual CMYK or 8-colour configuration, including Orange and Violet, Roland’s new Texart ink offers an extremely wide colour gamut to enable bold and vibrant printing with high contrast, subtle gradations and remarkable fine detail. The new strong Black ink has depth and density to produce accurate and rich output.

Jo, who was awarded UK National Business Woman of the Year in 2006, is entrepreneurial to the core and she has applied her unique approach to business to Red Dragon Flagmakers as well. “We have equality, motivation and personal responsibility at the heart of our rehabilitation philosophy. Everyone involved in the business earns the same salary – from the CEO down, and in return, we expect all staff to turn up motivated each day, ready for work and to take responsibility for their work and their actions during the day.”

Mathew Drake, Business Manager - Textiles, Roland DG UK: “Red Dragon Flagmakers is a great example of a company that has the perfect marriage of innovation, entrepreneurism and social enterprise. I’m very pleased they are now a Roland customer and that our technology will be playing a small part in helping them to give people the skills and opportunities they need to get back on their feet and rebuild their lives."

“Employees will each receive two months’ training on flag, textile, apparel and soft signage production; from graphic design and artwork software management to print production, sewing, cutting and trimming, which will give them a great grounding in flag and wide format print production.

Click HERE to see the press link.

Red Dragon Flagmakers invests in digital print technology from Roland DG

Red Dragon Flagmakers chosen as the Official Supplier of flags to the NATO Summit 2014

Soundcloud interview with Jo Ashburner of Red Dragon Flagmakers about being chosen as Official Supplier of flags to the NATO Summit 2012.

It started with a tweet.....!

Click HERE to listen to the soundcloud interview

The Voice South Wales, Federation of Small Businesses

Jo Ashburner The Voice FSB Red Dragon Flagmakers

A social enterprise founded by an FSB member has made the shortlist for a Wales-wide awards. Swansea-based Red Dragon Manufacturing has been shortlisted among the finalists in the Social Enterprise Awards Wales 2015. Organised by the Wales Co-operative Centre, the awards are mainly funded by the ERDF and Welsh Government.

The One to Watch category recognises outstanding social businesses that have been established less than two years. Red Dragon was incorporated as a registered social profit company in January 2014. It came out of a family flag manufacturing business started in the late 1960s by the current CEO’s father, Robin Ashburner.

Jo Ashburner, CEO and co-founder, said: “This is a huge achievement for our micro-business. We set out to rehabilitate people in the Welsh community through training in practical skills and the medium of traditional sewn flag making. We are one of the few companies remaining in the UK who make this quality product and we’re thrilled that the business community and our customers have embraced what we do with belief in our mission and soul of our products.

Being shortlisted for this award over many very worthy nominations supports our ambition for positive outcomes and sustainable long-term employment for our staff. With this recognition we will strive to set an example and expand the business through diversification and collaboration with other businesses who proactively want to make a real difference on a social basis.”

Click HERE to view the article (page 11).

Insider:  A stitch in time as textile businesses combine

Insider, Red Dragon Flagmakers, Jo Ashburner, Textile businesses combine

A trio of businesses have joined forces in Swansea with the stated intention of revitalising textile manufacturing in Wales.

Flag maker Flags and Bunting Galore, children's organic clothing and soft toy brand NooNoo, and flag pole and heraldic services provider Specialist Flag Services are the businesses involved.

They have teamed up to create the new social enterprise Red Dragon Manufacturing based at the Swansea Sewing Room in the centre of the city. This organisation has a new board of directors, new equipment, new facilities and new resources.

Jo Ashburner, chief executive of Red Dragon Manufacturing and an Insider Rising Star, said: "We've come together so we can cross-pollinate skills.

"We're run as a business but we're putting the money back into the business rather than just taking dividends. We want to develop life skills and bring textile manufacturing back to Wales."

Click HERE to see press link.

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