Rowlinson is now owned by its employees

Some of Rowlinson's employees
Some of Rowlinson’s employees

In its 80th year, Rowlinson has become an employee owned business.

The company was formed in 1935 by Wilfred Rowlinson and apart from a brief cessation during the war years, it has produced knitwear garments ever since. In the beginning Rowlinson manufactured only 240 garments a week, whereas today it now produces come 40,000, nearly half of which are embroidered in-house. Today it is not just knitwear that Rowlinson manufactures; it now also makes polo shirts and sweatshirts.

And now in 2015 Rowlinson has become employee owned via an Employee Ownership Trust.

This means that the trust now has the controlling interest in the business. The model adopted is very similar to the one used by John Lewis, where the shares are held in trust and the trust acts in the best interests of the business and the employees. This model should not be confused with a management buyout.

There are many benefits for the business but probably the main one is that it can never be sold, and the employees have a real say in how the business is run. The Employee Trust has the power to make important decisions and as a result will be able to engage with, and help make, the decisions to help move the business forward.

For customers, this means Rowlinson will have focus on achieving better service, higher stock levels and of course long term stability. Rowlinson aims to improve in everything it does, for its customers, suppliers and employees.

Also in its 80th year, Rowlinson achieved the Investors in People Gold award and the Workplace Wellbeing Charter National Award for England.

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