Flag makers work into the night to keep up with demand

·3-min read

The owner of a Co Durham flag manufacturer said there has “definitely” been an increase in demand since England made it to the Euro 2020 final.

Mandy Forster, owner of AA Flags in Consett, said that staff worked late last night and were in on Friday at 6am – and had “just caught up” on orders by lunchtime.

Whilst another flagmaker, Jo Ashburner – who runs Red Dragon Flagmakers, said she has seen an uptick in orders for custom flags and hand-stitched versions for families as mementos for the tournament.

Ms Forster, who set up the family-run business in 1992, “welcomed” the extra work as it is linked closely with the hospitality industry and was closed for six months last year when its orders dried up during lockdown.

Ms Forster said: “We are making plain ones, some with people’s postcode on them, pub names.

“We have definitely made more than usual.

England flags hang across the street in Torrington Avenue, Knowe, Bristol (Ben Birchall/PA)
England flags hang across the street in Torrington Avenue, Knowe, Bristol (Ben Birchall/PA)

“Yesterday alone we made about 180 St George flags as opposed to three or four a day, it was ridiculous and we could not make them fast enough.

“We also do bunting and a lot of those have sold.”

She added: “With this particular Euro competition, even before they got through to the final, we have sold more flags that we usually would.

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“I think it is down to everybody needing something to celebrate at the minute.

“The outside of pubs need cheering up and they need to invite people in and to make the place look happy and celebratory.

“People in general just want to have a good time and celebrate.”

She said that eight of its 22 staff were brought back from furlough in recent months in time for the Euro 2020 rush.

Chris Dowse (left) and Alan Putman, secure a flag on the Kirby Estate in Bermondsey, south London (Luciana Guerra/AP)
Chris Dowse and Alan Putman secure a flag on the Kirby Estate in Bermondsey, south London (Luciana Guerra/AP)

Ms Ashburner said she too has seen a spike in sales during the competition.

She said: “We are a Wales-based flag making company, making everything from scratch in our Swansea workshop.

“During the past few weeks have been stretched to capacity making flags for Wales, England and Italy in particular – as there’s a big Italian contingent in Wales.”

The founder added: “Historically fans ask for economy flags, a quick fix for a short-lived moment but in a surprising turn this year we’ve been asked for more of the custom quality printed flags.

“We’ve even seen an upsurge in calls for the more expensive fully stitched traditional quality flags in both customised and generic format.”

Red Dragon Flagmakers have seen a surge in hand stitched flags (Red Dragon Flagmakers/PA)
Red Dragon Flagmakers have seen a surge in hand stitched flags (Red Dragon Flagmakers/PA)

Flags at online giant Amazon fall under its garden and outdoor products category.

In the past 24 hours, since England won a place in the final, sales of a £7.99 St George’s flag have soared.

The 2.5ft x 1.6ft flag, which is billed as “perfect for English celebrations”, is up to ninth in Amazon’s “movers and shakers” rankings for items in its garden and outdoors products.

Amazon could not give details as to how many flags had been sold.

It is the ninth biggest gainer in sales when 24 hours ago it was the 568th.

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