Aerospace is the beginning of space and the ending of the air. It’s pretty cool and was the inspiration for the first ever collection at Alice Made This. That same team is inspiring us even more today.
Aerospace, as an industry, is the human effort in science and engineering to fly in the atmosphere of Earth (aeronautics) and surrounding space (astronautics). Further to this, Aerospace manufacturing is a high-technology industry that produces aircraft, guided missiles, space vehicles, aircraft engines, propulsion units, and any other related parts. It’s all about thinking big and pushing boundaries to where other people usually wouldn’t dare.
Not surprisingly then, there are many ‘spinoffs of Aerospace development work. Spinoffs refer to any technology that is a direct result of coding or products created by NASA and redesigned for an alternate purpose. These technological advances, known as spinoffs, have applications in a variety of different fields including medicine, transportation, energy, consumer goods, public safety and more. Their original thinking informs a whole host of developments to help improve our lives.
For example, in the most recent “spinoffs” publication edition, "spinoff, endoscopes are featured as one of the medical derivations of aerospace achievement. This device enables more precise, and subsequently cost-effective, neurosurgery by reducing complications through a minimally invasive procedure that abbreviates hospitalisation. How cool is that! The reason I talk of spinoffs is because I feel our factory is ‘spinning off’ right now. Let me explain a little more.
We use a team of engineers and specialists to create our precision engineered pieces. This team usually creates products for the Aerospace industry but also for the medical, transportation, performance sports and engineering industries. Right now they are in overdrive, turning their hand to the desperately needed, precision made medical parts required for ventilators and the survival of this country in the wake of Covid-19. They are turning their production capacity to produce as many of these parts as they possibly can. In addition, and without hesitation, they have invested in new machinery immediately to give them even more capacity and speed with this challenge. Nick (the MD) powerfully states that “I don’t see it as a gamble when I know these parts made will save lives.” As key-workers right now, I am proud to work with these amazing humans and that we have been working with this wonderful team since the start of Alice Made This.
Before Alice Made This even launched, back in 2011, I was searching for a team of engineers who would be able to make our first collection (of cufflinks at the time). We had spotted a gap in the market for paired back, design led cufflinks that celebrated the materials they were made of - and the hands that made them. I reached out to five different specialists and, within the first hour of conversations, I was certain that Nick and Steve were the right people for us to work with.
Their business is a second-generation family run private company founded in 1974. In their own words, “when it comes to work of the highest quality standards and the utmost precision, size counts. Like the products we create with consummate care and attention to detail, we're small but perfectly formed. We care about all our customer, and will help to help them grow… we resolutely hold on to the genuinely personal approach that embodies our total integrity and commitment to delivering on our promises.” I can vouch for this whole-heartedly. They made our first collection and still work with us on over half of our jewellery today.
Nick (the owner and MD) is in sync with our stage of life, juggling business with little ones, and Steve is the wise owl that, runs the production and team, and chuckles at us as we share stories of no sleep and school runs. He’s been there and done that!
They are a company that is a firm believer that a business is only as good as the employees. They train their team in-house, producing a workforce that has in-depth knowledge of the company's machines and working practices. The floor team are responsible for setting and operating the machines as well as for the quality control. This end-to-end role results in high morale and a longevity that is rare today. We feel very fortunate that this is the case. Nine years on and we have built relationships and friendships with this team. They go out of their way to facilitate my crazy asks or ideas, and even present me with anything they think I might find interesting. I am overwhelmed with pride right now thinking of them working tirelessly to support every individual in this country. I imagine like all of us, the experience they are going through right now will change them forever.