All Empire frame parts are designed, manufactured, and assembled in the UK: no exceptions. This supports local industry, keeps business simpler, allows for consistent high quality components, and reduces environmental impacts.
"During my working life, I have come across some extremely talented people and I’ve always wanted to work with them to make products and sell to a global market”, says Chris Williams. The hunt for a suitable foundry was extremely difficult: Empire needed to find a facility that had sand and gravity die, heat treatment, non-destructive testing (die-penetration, crack detection and real-time x-ray) along with blasting and CNC machining. The first foundry let Empire down because they couldn’t provide the quality and consistency required. They were learning on the job with Empire but the challenge was too great.
Chris always wanted to make in Britain and never wanted to import: "wherever possible, we will source British products over imports as a matter of course”. The more local, the better. This allows Empire to develop strategic alliances and it also feels good to be supporting local infrastructure. Empire currently works with the following British companies: Renthal, Hope, Merlin Engineering, Spiral Graphics, NM design, Bureau Veritas, WNT, WH Rowe. This network has taken a great deal of time and effort to build up but it pays off: "they are all great people” says Chris enthusiastically.
The communication benefits of staying local are hugely important. Empire is a small dedicated high-end manufacturer of relatively low volume: the personal touch is a large part of what we sell. Chris has worked in China a lot over the years and has found the endless misunderstandings frustrating. Staying in Britain, if a customer wants something specific like their graphics in green, Empire can easily accommodate this. There is also something straightforward about the British: ‘a spade is a spade’.
Chris is also on a mission to disprove the belief that since World War II, the ‘Brits’ don’t make anything and import everything. "We make some of the most advanced, technologically challenging products that are made in the world but we don’t shout about it”, proclaims Chris.