On october 13, Henbury celebrated its 20th anniversary. The brand started with the launch of just five polo shirts and now it is ranked as one of the key players in the corporate and workwear market today. Here Katie Stewart, managing director and founder, takes a whistle stop tour of the last 20 years.
The story began back in October 1997 when I started the brand from a small cupboard in my flat in Edinburgh – very humble beginnings.
At the time that Henbury was created there was a very limited product offer in the market. We wanted to create an aspirational brand that had a retail feel but would appeal to our market in both product offer and price.
We launched initially with just five polo shirts, one of which is still in the range today, the H100, and is still made in the same factory as it was on day one. These products were extremely well received and from there we incorporated co-ordinating ladieswear styles as well as the core 65/35 polo. The introduction of woven shirts and trousers put Henbury into the main corporatewear market and the lambswool and cotton acrylic knitwear has enhanced the offer further.
Another key milestone for us involved the launch of the Permanent Wicking Polo Shirt H475 Men’s and H476 Ladies. The introduction of these polo shirts had a really had a huge impact on the market. They are exceptionally high quality using the very finest yarns which ensure permanent wicking properties, easy care and durability.
Two years after the launch of Henbury we created the SF (Skinnifit) brand. Believe it or not there was not a single ladieswear product in the market at the time, hard to believe when ladies wear features so highly now in all of our brands. The SF Men’s and Skinni Minni ranges were added a few years later.
We also introduced Bespokebury a couple of years ago. This unique service offers customers the opportunity to have special sizes, colours and styles created either using current Henbury styles and fabrics or creating something unique for themselves. This can give totally flexibility when quoting for a tender or contract order.
Over the years, we have been fortunate enough to add a number of complementing brands to the Henbury portfolio which has allowed us to offer a wide spectrum of products from waterproof jackets to teddy bear T shirts.
Quality and excellence
Henbury always strives to bring innovative designs with excellent quality, along with reliability, consistency and continuity. We work with the very highest level of manufacturers, developing strong partnerships throughout the world. As a brand we fully recognise the importance of the people and the countries where we manufacture and require that any manufacturer or supplier associated with us share our commitment to fair and safe working practices. We value our relationship with our partners and in many cases we are still working with the same suppliers we had 20 years ago ensuring continuity which is one of the key strengths of the brand.
By trading through specialist distributors the brand has evolved, making the business one of the key players in today’s supply clothing market.
Today, the Henbury brand offers a versatile range of corporate, promotional and workwear clothing, with fashionable design and contemporary styling. With state-of-the-art fabric advancement such as the moisture management technology, Henbury has evolved and adapted to meet the needs of its clients.
I have been fortunate enough to work with some very inspiring people who I can now call friends and I look forward to what the future holds for Henbury.