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9th May 2019, Mansfield, England

Corah Textiles expands knitwear finishing and commission knitting services

Corah offers all kinds of services, including hand-sewing operations. © Corah Textiles

Corah offers all kinds of services, including hand-sewing operations. © Corah Textiles

Corah Textiles is a small knitwear making-up (sewing/finishing) business which also has started commission knitting, based in Mansfield in Nottinghamshire, an area renowned for its quality knitwear manufacturing legacy. The company currently employs seven people (four full-time and three part-time) and is looking to expand its operations.

“We employ four people full time and three part time for finishing, and this is an area we are looking to expand in. We also have a part time knitter and Shima Seiki flat knitting machine programmer that we use on a freelance basis. We finish or part-finish garments and accessories and make small production runs of accessories, lambswool and cashmere garments,” explains owner-manager John Corah.

Hand and machine finishing

Corah offers all kinds of services, including hand-sewing operations such as pulling and tying-in of ends, stitching V-necks and crew necks. Machine operations include overlocking, cup seaming, lock-stitching, buttonhole/button-sew, sewing back neck labels and care labels, inspection to bagging, and point to point body and collar linking.

Corah employs four women full time and three part time for finishing. © Corah Textiles

Corah employs four women full time and three part time for finishing. © Corah Textiles

“We offer linking in gauges of 4,5,6,8,10,12,14,16 and 20. From body linking to collar linking we are comfortable in linking all products from various style shoulders and garments, pockets and trims and linking accessories. We link for the middle market right up to high-end French fashion house products,” John Corah clarifies.

Corah Textiles also has a few Shima Seiki flat knitting machines in 8 and 12 gauge along with a warp scarf knitting machines and pom-pom machine, were it makes small orders. “We are in the process of installing washing/drying and pressing facilities, which hopefully we can do in the next few months,” Corah adds.

Corah knitwear heritage

John Corah has a strong knitwear manufacturing heritage entering the industry in the 1980s. His father, the late Alec Corah, started working for Samuel Arthur Monk of S.A. Monk, at the age of 15, at Monk’s workshop in Mansfield repairing fully-fashioned hosiery knitting machines. When Monk moved into making fully-fashioned machines for knitwear, Alec Corah worked as a technician and worked his way up through the ranks becoming managing director. The company was eventually absorbed into the Monk-Cotton group along with Bentley, Woodcocks of Hawick and Dubied of Switzerland. Alec Corah retired from the company in the mid 1990s and set up Alco Knitting Machine Services Ltd, now run by his son John, which still supplies used and new textile machinery and spare parts to the UK and export markets.

Corah Textiles has a few Shima Seiki flat knitting machines in 8 and 12 gauge. © Corah Textiles

Corah Textiles has a few Shima Seiki flat knitting machines in 8 and 12 gauge. © Corah Textiles

Today’s Corah Textiles business was born out of an idea which came from working with clients in the Alco Knitting Machines business. John Corah relates the story: “From my father before me who started in textiles in the 1950s and myself in the 1980s, we have amassed many clients. “A couple of high-end clients in the UK contacted me a couple of years ago asking if I knew of any companies in Italy, which was our biggest export market where over the years we have dealt with many clients and associates to help them with finishing as they knew this would be the place to go to get the skills required.”

“We introduced them to a few people and that was it really - until last year when two important clients of ours asked me again to bring people over to the UK to meet them and if again I knew of others in the UK to look to become working partners with them.”

John Corah has a strong knitwear manufacturing heritage entering the industry in the 1980s. © Corah Textiles

John Corah has a strong knitwear manufacturing heritage entering the industry in the 1980s. © Corah Textiles

After realising that both companies were serious, John Corah started to ask them and other companies if they would support him, if he was to set up a business of this nature.

They both said yes along with others, but on the condition that he could meet their quality and service requirements.

Corah continues: “This was about February last year. I then made it my mission to start to look for skilled people both home and abroad who wanted to be part of this project - not easy in UK textile trade, but slowly we are getting there.”

“Once I found half a dozen workers, we started visiting clients to make trials and be assessed. Once we got the green light, I bit the bullet and started to get the wheels in motion looking for and investing in machinery and premises, which is where we are today in Mansfield, one the heart and soul areas of the textile trade 20-30 years ago.  We began trading in May 2018 from my Alco knitting machine site and in October we moved to Corah Textiles current location in Mansfield.”

Corah is based in Mansfield in Nottinghamshire, an area renowned for its quality knitwear manufacturing legacy. © Corah Textiles

Corah is based in Mansfield in Nottinghamshire, an area renowned for its quality knitwear manufacturing legacy. © Corah Textiles

“We are far from where we want it to be - as we still have machinery, we would like to buy to help us grow - but when you self-fund it takes time and no matter what the banks or lenders say, their help isn’t as forthcoming as you would like it to be. I would also like to grow staff numbers to around 10-15 people in time and I am now starting doing our own knitwear manufacturing for clients,” John Corah explains.

“For the moment though I want to consolidate the garment finishing, which is why I set the business up - but I’m sure with the hard work and dedication from both the staff, who are truly fantastic, and myself, I hope we will get there.”

Corah Textiles’ clients range from all over the UK and Ireland, from small university designer graduates forging their way into textiles with their own ranges right through to major companies at the heart and forefront of British knitwear.

Further information

John Corah, Managing Director,

Corah Textiles

[email protected]

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