Looking back over the past twelve months it’s been a year of stunning highs and – well; let’s just call them dips.
It seems likely 2014 will be remembered as the warmest year on record, a mild winter followed by a blistering summer. Fabulous weather for shorts and BBQ’s on Halloween – not so great for selling tweed!
We were grateful though for the mild conditions back in January when we did the re-fit for our original shop in The Square, Kelso. This slice of Kelso’s handsome 18th century square has been our home since 1929 without much in the way of modification and it had been feeling snug and a little careworn for a while. So we gave it a loving lick of paint and make over that gives a respectful nod to the past but looks firmly to the future.
On the subject of the past, 2014 marked our 85th Anniversary. No one is quite sure of the exact date that trading began so we decided to celebrate all year. And what better way for a tweed obsessed country-clothing retailer to celebrate than to design a commemorative tweed. I had a whale of a time working with Lovat Mill on the designs for our Exclusive Limited Edition Bladen Anniversary Tweed range that went on sale earlier this year.
When we threw our 85th anniversary bash in October many of our friends, customers and associates turned up wearing the commemorative tweed and I couldn’t help feeling a bit sentimental.
I can’t tell you how proud this moment would have made my Dad, Jock, and my Granddad, Arch. They were both men who lived and breathed for the business and their families, and knowing that a tweed baring their name, created in celebration of their gentlemen’s outfitters was being worn by so many, not just at a party to celebrate their business but all over the globe, would mean a huge amount to them.
Throughout the world tweed has found a wider following and it would seem our most esteemed Scottish textile is in vogue almost everywhere. Quite rightly so, even if this fact would surprise Jock and Arch.
Though their surprise at the global popularity of a woven textile that began life as a hard-wearing yarn for ghillies on the Estates of the Highlands is nothing compared to my surprise at the Drapers Awards.
In September on the eve of the Scottish referendum A Hume became Independent – that is, A Hume became the Drapers Independent Retailer of the Year.
Karen and I travelled to London for the glamorous ceremony, feeling quite the country mice in the presence of the glitterati of the fashion world, having been shortlisted in the Best Independent Multichannel Retailer and Best Independent Lifestyle Retailer categories. We were completely over-whelmed to win the Best Independent Multichannel Retailer award and were still sitting staring at our trophy in disbelieve as the winner of winners prize for Independent Retailer of the Year was announced.
It took us both a goodly while to catch on to the presenter’s drift as they described the winning company and the penny didn’t drop until our name was declared. I’m afraid I was caught so unawares that I can’t recall a word of what I said in my unrehearsed acceptance speech – though my wife assures me I gushed in an embarrassing manner befitting an Oscar winning starlet- thanks Karen.
Just as well then that I have this space to say thank you properly to all those who have contributed to our success – our appreciation could not be deeper. Quite honestly we’d be nothing without our team here in Kelso, the many external professionals who work with us, the brands and agents, the guys who transformed the shop at The Square, Zsofi and the team at The Studio Agency, the delivery guys – every link in the chain. Thank you.
We wish you a prosperous 2015 and a happy one too.
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