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02 February 2018

Red Dragon Flagmakers is not your average micro manufacturing business...

Red Dragon FlagmakersHeadquartered in Swansea, the lead brand of the Red Dragon Manufacturing Ltd (RDM) business offers custom design, manufacture and delivery of world class quality traditional sewn flags as well as a maintenance service for flagpoles UK wide. Red Dragon Flagmakers are preferred suppliers to the European Space Agency, Pembrokeshire Castle and Welsh Government, and their back catalogue includes winning the contract and delivering on short notice, all the flags for the NATO Summit at Celtic Manor in 2014 and making the huge Welsh Dragon for the great Aston Martin reveal by Welsh Government last year.

RDM is a social enterprise; committed to using its skills, product and niche place in a crowded market in support of Welsh and UK communities, delivering their own brand of innovative business practice to battling some of society’s most difficult and deep-rooted problems. It is the only social enterprise flagmaker in the world and was borne out of a family company manufacturing traditional flags, first established in 1969 and the result of the merger of several enterprises into one social mission business in 2014.

The business is an accredited Living Wage Employer, a Disability Confident employer and an Equal Opportunities employer training all staff in an established set of skills competencies to ensure that the business is future proof. All staff are trained to work in all areas of cut make and trim (CMT) production processes in the business and this is just one example of a return to old school team work and the close knit workforce which on first entering their workshop seems more of a family than a conventional workforce.

Jo Ashburner Farr and her team run this very unique business in an active spirit of collaboration and actively ‘puts her money where her mouth is, she says’ as part of the community social enterprises in Wales.  ‘Do one thing well’.

The biggest of Red Dragon’s add-on initiatives to date, however, is ROOF.  ROOF is the affordable and intelligent ‘coat for life’ with a lifetime guarantee and multiple applications.  It is a water-resistant, insulated, all in one padded coat with an integrated sleeping bag, hood, hidden pockets and breathable interlining - designed to pack-away into a cross over lightweight and portable shoulder bag. 

The ROOF business mission gives people the platform on which to build a better life for themselves, to be the safe zone for those who are trapped in the cycle of homelessness and to help those break free from the revolving door that sees people return to living on our streets due to a lack of opportunities. 

In Jo’s own words, ROOF ‘is an opportunity, a mission and a product’ and it demonstrates how a small business can be rooted in society and discretely work away at changing things for the better within local, regional and – she hopes – national and international communities.

Red Dragon currently sustains seven jobs, with big expansion plans for the coming year. A core ambition of the business is bring textile manufacturing jobs back to the South Wales valleys - where Jo was born and where she says there is a wealth of untapped talent just waiting to be given a platform.

As an financially independent and sustainable business, Red Dragon is a proud member of the Wales Cooperative Centre and the WCVA, as well as the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the FSB, Make it British and Social Enterprise UK. Jo sits on the Advisory Board at Social Business Wales, is a Big Ideas Role Model for the Welsh Government and was awarded Manufacturing Entrepreneur of the Year in 2015.

And to sum up Red Dragon? A small, humble and determined business with family values, a hard working loyal team and a commitment to making a lasting and positive difference to the world we live in.


01792 466732