DRAPERS M Makower & Co has occupied the same premises off Greys Road since 1945 and
DRAPERS M Makower & Co has occupied the same premises off Greys Road since 1945 and was the first British firm to import Japanese silk.
Jane Makower, the current managing director, is the fifth generation of her family and the first woman to run the business.
The company was founded by her great, great grandfather Moritz Makower in 1862. He decided he wanted to become involved in the textile industry as it was very fashionable at the time.
He began working in London but when he was 21 he responded to a newspaper advertisement for a silk agent in Lyons. He not only got the job but went on to marry his boss’s daughter before setting up his own company.
During the Second World War, Ms Makower’s aunt Rachel was not thought to be capable of working in the textile business because she was a woman so she helped to decode the Germans’ secret messages.
Ms Makower has fond memories of growing up with her father Oliver running the business and she was popular with her teacher as she could provide her with lots of material.
Her brother, William, is a non-executive director after deciding he didn’t want to be actively involved in the business. He runs an internet business in London called Panlogic.
Although Ms Makower has no children, she has plenty of family members willing to take over when she retires.
She says: “When you are running a family business it is all about survival and that means you stick it out and do what you have to do when times are tough.”