Mary's Bottom Line
About the Show
Mary Portas wants to energise the UK clothing industry by starting her own production line to manufacture a staple in any woman's wardrobe - 100% British knickers
Series 1 Summary
Britain used to be a manufacturing colossus, renowned for its world-class clothing industry. But today, most fashion is made cheaply abroad. Mary Portas wants to reignite the UK clothing industry by starting her own production line to manufacture a key staple in any woman's wardrobe: 100% British knickers.
In the middle of the worst recession since the war, retail guru Mary Portas believes a a window of opportunity has opened to restore some life back to British manufacturing.
Transport costs and foreign labour costs are rising, so Mary's heading to Middleton, Greater Manchester, to set up a new production line for British-made knickers.
Mary wants consumers to understand the value of buying British: skills, UK jobs, pride in our manufacturing heritage.
It will be a challenge for Mary, who normally frequents an altogether different shop-floor. She not only needs to breathe life back into a mothballed factory, she has to persuade the old seamstresses to teach the new recruits, and track down some of the last fabric suppliers in the country.
Will she pull it off, or will her first ever foray into manufacturing be simply a brief encounter?
Mary must settle on a name for her knickers. and the branding, and also find the right models to show them off - meaning curvy, beautiful bums.
Mary lays down the rules she expects all the trainees to stick to before embarking on making her knickers.
She is determined they should be priced at £10 a pair. But with competitor's knickers retailing for over double that, will she get her way?
Lastly, Mary has to get the knickers stocked by retailers.
Mary gears up for the launch of Kinky Knickers in time for Valentine's Day, with the three 'perfect' bottoms to model the knickers being photographed in London.
Mary meets David Cameron in a bid to make him understand the importance of bringing back clothing manufacturing to the UK.
But as the launch date nears, there's a bitter blow when the lace trim supplier goes out of business, throwing future orders into doubt.
As Mary and the factory work flat out to design and deliver orders for the all-important Christmas market, Mary sees how other parts of the British textile industry can be transformed with the help of British-based manufacturing.
The once faltering stretch lace industry has been given a huge boost by the Kinky Knickers brand, and a lace loom that was destined for foreign production is instead delivered to Nottingham.
Back at the factory with supervisors Lynne, Myra and Jackie overseeing training and quality control, the trainees tell Mary how the benefits of a steady job and regular pay packet have changed their lives.
With the initial nine month funding coming to an end and the trainees about to graduate, has the factory done enough to stand on its own two feet? Can Mary really sustain a successful business for future generations?
Mary's Bottom Line synopsis
Mary Portas wants to energise the UK clothing industry by starting her own production line to manufacture a staple in any woman's wardrobe - 100% British knickersEpisode Guide >