Tinsel, referring to thin twinkling bands, is often seen as an indispensable item to bring some sparkle to Christmas trees, doors, walls, stairs, or fireplaces. This gleaming and cheery product possesses an incredible history punctuated by an intensive quest for lower production costs and safety imperatives.
Tinsel as we know it today was invented in Nuremberg, Germany around 1610. The glimmering must-have was first introduced to reflect the candle lights ornamenting Christmas trees. Tinsel was mostly created from silver cut into thin strands, making the sparkly product very expensive to produce and to buy. Only the wealthy fringe of society could proudly get tinsel to enchant their Christmas with exceptional glow. Silver, which also tended to tarnish when in contact with hot lights, started being replaced by cheaper metals, such as copper and tin. Metallic tinsel survived until the 20th century.
When World War I started, the demand for copper dramatically rose, creating a shortage for the tinsel industry. Manufacturers had to change their strategy to keep production costs low. As a result, tinsel, which was predominantly made in Lyon (France) at the time, became aluminium-based. However, aluminium generated more fire scares than cheerful moments. Faced with life threatening issues, manufacturers tried to make tinsel from tin and lead. But the tinsel produced was too heavy and of poor quality due to the strips disgracefully falling apart.
In 1950s, lead was used by most of the tinsel industry to make gleeful and shining layers. A decade later, this cheap material was suspected of causing poisoning, especially amongst children. Lead completely disappeared from the tinsel production in 1972.
Modern tinsel is typically made from PVC or Polyvinyl Chloride film coated with a metallic finish and then sliced into thin strips. These strips are then spun in a drum with galvanised wire and the centrifugal force holds the tinsel and wire together to form the tinsel we all know, think tinsel candy floss machine. This technique, mastered by Festive, is key to create high quality tinsel.
Festive is the largest tinsel manufacturer in the UK. Every year, from January to November, Festive produces 14 million metres of tinsel, enough to go around the world every two years! The variety we offer in tinsel is huge; a customer can have any of 9 thickness of tinsel from 25mm to 250mm, with one to nine colours making up the design. We can offer virtually any colour tinsel using a pantone to match the PVC that forms the base of tinsel.
Not only do we offer standard tinsel in a wide array of styles and colours but we have machines that can cut shapes out of tinsel PVC before it is spun together, this allows to us to create virtually anything from holly, snowflakes and Christmas trees to kangaroos and even the Liverpool FC Liver Bird.
Tinsel does not only come in standard garlands as many may think, we produce Tinsel Wreaths in many styles and colours and Tinsel Trees from 30cm to 240cm. Pre-lit options widen our range further and allows us to offer the widest selection of UK Made Tinsel in the Country.
Festive Productions sell decorations and tinsel so some of the UK’s Biggest Supermarkets such as Tesco, Asda & Sainsbury’s, and High Street Retailers like House of Fraser and Wilko’s and even Popular Football Clubs like Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur. In fact 80% of tinsel sales come from Bespoke Tinsel ranges like the ones we supply to the above customers.
From 2013 to 2015, Festive held Licences to create Tinsel under the Hello Kitty and Kirstie Allsopp Brands. Hello Kitty had a range of Tinsel Products with a Die Cut Hello Kitty Head Shape and Kirstie Allsopp Tinsel was truly Luxurious and Vibrant.
“I don’t think there is a questions in the universe to which tinsel is not the answer” –
Kirstie Allsopp | Good Housekeeping – Dec 2014
We are now producing twinkling and colourful tinsel for our Disney princess, Mickey, and Frozen collections.
Festive employs 65 staff from the local area to create its range of tinsel. They start making Tinsel in January and from May to November tinsel is made 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to meet the growing demand.
We are now producing almost £3 million worth of Tinsel every year, which equates to around 23% of our total sales. Festive began tinsel manufacturing in Wales over 25 years ago, out of a small 10,000 sq. ft factory in Cwmbran.
Two state of the art tinsel machines were imported from Germany and production began in earnest. It was not long before the order book began to fill following successful marketing strategies and trade shows.
The capacity of £25k was soon achieved and both the tinsel business and Festive have developed and expanded since those early days.
We now have 35 Tinsel machines and 3 Dye Cutting Machines, meaning our finishing capacity has dramatically increased since Festive started making tinsel all those years ago. Festive now produces around 148,750m of Tinsel Per Month which equates to 75,000 2m Garlands per Month.
“All of this tinsel is made in Wales – As a huge fan of tinsel I’m thrilled www.festive.co.uk” – Kirstie Allsopp | Twitter @KirstieMAllsopp – Feb – 2013
But you may be asking Why Buy British? One container full of raw materials weighing 16,000kgs is enough to make 400,000 piece of tinsel in the UK. To ship that amount of Finished Tinsel from China, you would need approximately 14 containers, each holding 28,000 pieces of tinsel and by making it in the UK you end up with a far greater product at the end as the tinsel has not been flat packed and shipped in hot containers from Months. This gives us an edge on our competitors and means Festive Eco Footprint is less, so Why Not Buy British?
Festive’ tinsel sales are continuing to grow from strength to strength. More top retailers recognise the poor quality tinsel from China and have identified our product to be superior with the certain knowledge that the best tinsel in the world is made in Wales.
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