The year has flown by and we are so pleased with the gradual expansion of Manyatta. With over 300 belts on the website, it would take hours to write this blog if I was to name all of them (even just the recent additions) but there are certain key elements of the business I would like to mention:
A large order of belts from Glenalmond College at the beginning of the year (to celebrate their 175th anniversary) was gratefully received and it gave me a useful excuse to do a little tour of Perthshire, Edinburgh and Fife!
Talking of schools, we are not only grateful for the continued support of old favourites such as Eton, Radley, Sherborne, Winchester and Stowe but also for some newcomers this year such as The Oratory, Sedbergh, Worth and Merchiston Castle.
Regimental belts continue to sell well and we have expanded our range of members' clubs to include the likes of Cavalry & Guards and New Club.
April saw Theo and I travel to Kenya to try to upscale the production side of the business. It was a success as we found a very suitable house from which Rose can manage better her increasingly large team of beaders.
One particular challenge of the business is how to keep its authenticity (we want these belts to be made using traditional techniques in deprived and/or Maasai areas) while still producing high-quality products.
We may still have to look for workshops to keep pace but so far we have found an excellent compromise and our supplier has skilfully managed to efficiently allocate orders to members of her team while ensuring the quality and speed required.
In fact, we have increased the speed of production - the biggest issue has been the UK postal and courier system. Which is the First World country??
Towards the end of the year, we were commissioned to produce for the Corps Franconia Jena zu Regensburg, one of the most distinguished of German university fraternities. The belts bought sold well and we are keen to explore not only continuing that particular relationship but hopefully developing new ones with other corps.
We left 2022 with some exciting projects in mid-flight - we were honoured to create for one of the most prestigious of American yacht clubs - The Key Largo Anglers and we welcome both orders from them and any other yacht club which wishes to commission.
I don't want to jinx certain other projects but hopefully they will come to fruition and we can continue to build on the success of 2022.