Textile manufacturer Rapanui to open £100k facility

Clothing brand Rapanui is set to open a new £100,000 production facility on the Isle of Wight, bringing a large proportion of its manufacturing back from India.

The company, founded in 2008 by brothers Rob and Martin Drake-Knight, plans to open a new screen printing facility in Cowes with plans to increase the workforce to 22 within three years.

It specialises in making fashion clothing for men and women from organic, natural fabrics in ethically accredited factories powered by wind and solar energy.

Co-founder Rob Drake-Knight said: “Reshoring some of our production makes good business sense.  Our raw material, cotton will still be sourced in India but we plan to cut and make here and do as much printing, embroidery and finishing of the garments in the UK.  This will improve availability of product from 80% currently to nearer 100%.

“We’re passionate about investing in the Island and this move is going to mean more new jobs, especially for young Islanders.”

He added: “In addition to this, we are a social enterprise that is passionate about creating more local jobs and providing opportunities for young people.  Over the next three years we plan to grow from 10 staff to 22; at least half of the new jobs will be in production.

“Another job creating opportunity is in our start-up incubation area. Rapanui donates 5% of our floor space free to start-up businesses – they get an office, heating, light, electricity, wifi, phone, rent, rates advice and contacts.  Three successful start-ups have spun out of our incubation area in the last 18 months. One of them, Wight Computers, now supplies all our server equipment.”

The news was welcomed by Reshore UK, a new service backed by UK Trade and Industry and the Manufacturing Advisory Service, which described the Island firm as a shining example of a manufacturer bringing back production and creating new jobs in the UK.